The first days in Africagepostet am 1. Oktober 2014, 15:45 von Ralf
On Saturday morning we took the 11 o’clock ferry from Almeria to Nador. I was worrying a little bit about the fact that I did not bring my own life jacket when seeing the ship. However the “Sherbatsky”, obviously a 40 year old former channel ferry, brought us without serious incidents to the other side of the Mediterranean and roughly 5 hours later the African coast came insight. Immigration to Morocco was quite easy. After a police officer had interviewed us about our profession and our plans for Morocco we already got the immigration stamps to our passports shortly after departure in Almeria and so the only thing to do after leaving the ferry was to pass 5 other officers and answering “yes” to the question whether we already have a stamp in our passport. However, it’s worth to mention that after more than 3000 kilometres this was the first “serious” border we had to cross.
The quarter next to Nador’s harbour were surprisingly unspectacular. We got some Moroccian Dirham from an ATM and then cycled the 7 km to the city centre. We checked in to the park hotel. The standard was lower than one would expect being used to hotels in Europe but the price also was. We only paid 100 MAD for a double, a not too bad value for money. Since it was still quite early in the evening we started to explore the city. It was very lifely with plenty of sm all shops where one could buy really everything. Also there was a lot of business on the streets. We walked through kind of a flee market and here and there people were selling fresh fruits directly from the donkey chart. We had an awesome dinner at a restaurant in the city centre and before going to bed we scouted for the central bus station to organize our bus transfer for the next day.
On Sunday we loaded our bikes to the lugagge room of the bus to Al Hoceima. It was a second class bus, so it was a bit older and a bit shabby, but it could have been worse. Before the trip could begin several people went through the bus to sell food and drinks for the trip. Then we headed westward on the N2. The first 2 hours we went through several smaller cities, passing some “Souks”, markets where people from around come to sell their stuff. Then it got more rural and the country road was winding through mountain region, which seemed quite challenging for our old bus and our speed got quite slow. Therefore the bus ride took more than four hours even though it was only roughly 150 km from Nador to Al Hoceima after arriving in the middle of the afternoon and having a snack at a fast food place we did 40 km to Rouane. In the village 15 km before they had told us that we could find a hotel there, unfortunately in Rouane nobody knew about this. However, the owner of a tea house where we had asked for accommodation offered us to stay for free in a house he owned but which was still under construction. It was a bit dusty but more comfy than setting up the tents in the wilderness late in the evening and the funny thing was that we had some goats as flat mates one level above. We spent the evening in our hosts tea house having some glasses of the yummy moroccian tea. It’s made from mint leaves and contains a lot of sugar, so in other words it’s kind of a hot virgin Mojito.
The next day we continued on the N16. Contrary to our map said that we had to expect a gravel road for several kilometres the road was upgraded meanwhile and in good condition. However there was only little traffic and the traffic was somewhat different to traffic in Europe. I was surprised how many people where just walking along the country road. Also we regularly met people riding on horses or donkeys. Roughly half of the cars where so-called “grand taxis”, 30-years old Mercedes-Benz cars with usually shared by up to 6 people. A nice thing were the plenty of small stands along the road selling tasty cactus fruits for very little money. However, considering the very little traffic on the road and the low prices I wondered a little bit how their bussiness pays out. The road did quite a lot of up and down, we nearly had any passage that was not climbing up to a pass or descending to cross a dry river bed and immediately continuing with the next climb. The last pass was quite serious and brought us up to roughly 800 metres aktitude. We had not expected this, so we where about to run a little short in food and water when a kiosk close to the peak saved us. Even though we had some language problems we had some nice conversation with the shop owner during our break. Then we had only few kilometres left to Jebha which included some great views in the Mediterranean, a descent from 800 metres down to sea level interrupted by a stop at a restaurant where we had grilled Dorade for lunch at the restaurants terrace with an awesome view in the sea. Since the 80 kilometres until here already included 1500 metres climb we decided to finish the stage in Jebha, a small fisherman’s village with several tea houses and a few small hotels. We got a really nice room for as little as 100 MAD. Surprisingly main stream tourism obviously has not found this place yet, hopefully this lasts like this for a while. (posted with roughly a week delay)
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