Thursday, August 25, 2011

Morocco to Sweden

We returned to Europe via a ferry from Ceuta (Spanish enclave in Africa) to Algeciras (Spain). We drove to the city of Cadiz. It is thought to be the oldest city in Europe. People have lived here for 3000+ years. And persistent rumours say that the lost city of Atlantis was in the Cadiz area.

Sevilla was next. Once a Roman port, it became the capital of the Muslim invaders in the 12th century. It then returned to Spanish rule and had a monopoly on trade with the colonies in America from 1503.

In Mérida we gaped at Roman ruins en masse. Then we wild-camped on a hill among beautiful olive trees.

We drove into France and relaxed a couple of days in Les Landes.

Dune de Pilats is Europe’s highest sand dune, about 100 metres high. We enjoyed it!

In Arcachon we found a lovely shack on the beach where they served fresh oysters.

In St Emilion we wild-camped in a vineyard and tasted the sour grapes (and the lovely wine).

We returned to Sweden via Lyon (wedding), Champagne and Legoland (Denmark).

All in all we had driven 12,000 km through 14 countries. It was a great trip indeed!

Morocco - July 2011

A two-hour ferry ride took us from Tarifa to Tangier. We continued south along the coast, direction Casablanca.

El-Jadida is an old Portuguese fort, with canons, underground water reservoirs and tourist bling-bling.

The town of Essaouira was a favourite. We got lost in the medina.

Marrakesh is probably the most well-known city in Morocco. We enjoyed the spectacles in the main square (look at Atlas with a snake around his neck), the market and the palaces.

We crossed the Atlas Mountains. Our son Atlas was very proud and possesive. He claimed that every mountain and every stone were his. We walked through the thousand-year-old mud-brick village of Ait Benhadou. It has featured as a backdrop in many films.

As we continued south, the road disappeared under the Sahara sand. We continued another 200 km into the desert, in search of an advenure! We found dead camels, a lot of sand, and bedouins who live in this world of immense heat.

At dusk, a sandstorm hit us. Our guide Omar helped us to find shelter in a bedouin camp. Lucky us! After a few hours, the storm abated and we could sleep in our tent. The temperature was 2 degrees cooler in the tent than outside thanks to the fact that our bodies cooled the air inside the tent, Bizarre!

In the morning it was only 37 degrees. We took the opportunity to explore the sand dunes and play in the sand.

Omar knew some bedouins who had camels which we could ride on.

We escaped the heat, crossed the Atlas mountains at an altitude of 3000 metres, and came via Azrou to the city of Fez. Disa turned 8 years, and we celebrated her birthday in the Fez medina.

In the city of Meknes we had a superb guide who helped us through the maze of narrow streets.

Volubilis was a Roman outpost 2000 years ago.

We visited the blue city of Chefchauen and the medina in Tetouan before we reached te Mediterranan coast.

We left Morocco via the Spanish enclave Ceuta, and looked back at the African continent as our ferry crossed the strait of Gibraltar.

The kids loved Morocco. It is a great travel destination!