Finally heading home

Published: June 13th 2020
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16th April to 4th May - We are going nowhere!

The daily normal becomes slow, not too stressful! The weather is mixed warm, still sometimes cooler over night! We have one peak over a weekend when it hits 40c a taste of what is to come, and for us and Poppy sake we need to get out before those temperatures become the norm!!

But that doesn’t sound or look hopeful, our booking has been changed to the 12th of May still with our destination as Barcelona, but we know that is an issue with Spain still in lockdown. As much as we try some 6 phone calls to GNV (The ferry company) to change the booking to the end destination of Sete in France they are unwilling to make that change! We hang on to the slim chance that as the sailing on the 12th appears to be confirmed that they might just change our booking. A bit naive really, we don’t get that phone call and In due course our ticket is cancelled. GNV is really now becoming the bad guy, in all of this, with false information and pie in the sky ferry dates, we know there are approximately 5000 Motorhomes, mainly French in Morocco and many of those have now bought tickets with GNV, the question is when or if we will ever be able to use it!?!

There is now an online registration form to be filled in if you are interested in a sailing for either the 12th or 19th, we complete it ,wait patiently for a phone call but it doesn’t come, we are back at square one.

8th May – Thank goodness for Facebook!

I follow a couple of motorhome groups and one called the Motoroamers, Ann posts that there will be a Ferry organised by the British Embassy to Spain, even though we have sent our details to the Embassy we have not been informed of this sailing. Thanks to Ann we are able to contact Ahad at the Embassy immediately, we are starting to see some light!

To travel anywhere other than your local shops in Morocco you need authorisation, and on the 12th of May we get an email from the Embassy that authorisation has come through and we need to go and collect the paper work and make our way to Tanger Med Port by 1pm on the 14th!?! We have 1 day to get it and a 480km drive – the pressure starts to mount!

The following morning we jump on the bikes, we are told we have to go to the Wilaya (town hall) in Marrakech it’s a 14km cycle in. The journey in is easy with no checks, it is of course quiet but there are plenty of road blocks and police on the street. Our main problem is we can’t find the Wilaya, we are sent from pillar to post by several people, eventually we ask a policemen who commandeers a motorbike to take us to the door, we've made it, after much conversation, a phone call to Houda at the Embassy, we are at the wrong office!*/#!?@! We can get our authorisation at our local village office!! The return cycle back to the campsite is exhausting, I reckon we have done nearly 35km and we've come back empty handed, we try again tomorrow.

14th May Here we go again!

Graeme heads off early to get to the office, only some 7kms away, thankfully we get the right information but we need a medical certificate! I get a phone call to meet Graeme at the local doctor's, after a speedy examination we have what we need to travel – the one thing missing is a ferry ticket!

With us knowing the boat is delayed due to bad weather and will go maybe Monday or Tuesday we have a day of rest and our last tea party with the Ourika Gang.

16th May – The wheels turn for the first time in two months!

We're of to Moulay Bousselham. We are waived off by Manuela, Sonja and Hans Peter they have been good friends for our time at Ourika and it seems strange to leave them behind! Some 482kms – 11 police checks – 2 photographs – 1 telephone call we arrive back at Moulay Bousselham, some 200km from the port, but still no ticket. We retire to bed exhausted but not before we say "Hi" to a few people from the “Motoroamers” FB page.

17th May – We have a T Party

It is nice to meet up with other Brits. We meet up again with Andy and Sheila and are invited to a T Party, a nice few hours are spent over tea and cake.

19th May - Will, it or won’t it!

We wait another day until we are informed that the authorisation from the Moroccan authority will be given by 1pm as to whether the boat sails or doesn't. We are having a drinks party at Alan and Marilyn’s van at 2pm, will we be celebrating or commiserating!?!?

It’s great news the ferry has all its permissions and as we sit at Alan’s the phone calls come through for us purchase our ticket, and a little cheer goes up each time another one of the group gets their call. We continue to help Alan with what seem to be an never-ending supply of alcohol, until it’s time to call it a night. We have one day to get supplies for our journey through Spain and the van needs a quick sort before we leave.

21st May – Engines Roll

Just as we wake we hear the noises of engines rolling towards Tanger Med Port and we join them on the road at 6.30am. One police check as we leave the campsite otherwise an unheeded journey. The port opens at 9am and we join the queue of Motorhomes waiting for that opening, this allows us to park up and join another queue to obtain your ticket. After a long wait Graeme returns ticket in hand, we are keen to get on board but fully aware that this now this not going to be sailing in time, once through the x-ray machine, not us but the motorhome! We are comfortably seated and some 2 hours late we finally leave Morocco.

The boat finally starts spilling it’s load around 7.30pm we have a slow crawl through the official channels, we join Alan and Marilyn in a car park at 11pm, join them for a cup of tea, tired but relieved.

22nd May - Time to go home!

We bid farewell to Alan and Marilyn and its time to get moving we have decided to get through Spain as quickly as we can, mainly as there lockdown requirements are stricter than France, and that is also the request of the Spanish Authority's after they allowed the ferry to dock, the first one after many weeks of blocked ports.

We make France in 2 days and then slow the pace down a) we can’t keep this pace up b) we really don't want to arrive completely exhausted. In France we find open aires, in fact the French our out in their Motorhomes so we go unnoticed and enjoy 5 evening in some lovely spots mainly near to a river so Poppy can have a swim.

We cross the channel early in the morning of the 28th of May incredibly only some 3 days earlier than our anticipated return date of our 9 month trip! There’s no drama, no checks and driving home is so easy, that we drift into Porlock High Street around 2.30pm not quite the ‘after darkness’ we had anticipated. As I finish writing this we have now completed our 14 days of self isolation and as I said to a friend last night “Tomorrow we leave the campsite, how will it be?” her response “Wonderful, Unbelievable, and very different than before your trip! Like an old world seen with new eyes!”

Thank you one and all for following our journey we hope that you have enjoyed my ramblings, as much as I have enjoyed writing them, till the next time – God bless xx

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