Russ Pearce

rrruss

Russ Pearce

Russ and Trish are still in Spain 4 years on and loving it!
Take a look at www.anythingbutpaella.com to see more about what we have been doing there.

😊


Wow, it's this long since we left the UK to change our lives!
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For those who want to see all about what we did before May 2006, follow these links:

Sept 2005 - April 2006 Peru, Bolivia and Argentina
June - Sept 2004 Bolivia
Our previous Travels






Africa » Morocco » Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate April 18th 2019

Al Houceima is well off the beaten tourist track but coming here gives you first hand insight into Riffian life, as this is the beating heart of the Rif region of Morocco. The bus from Tétouan was supposed to take 8 hours but in the end it was closer to 9. That may sound like a bit of a nightmare but it was reasonably comfortable, not too full, and the driver stopped at appropriate times for toilet breaks! What more could you ask for? The route took us back up to Chefchaouen, but it only skirted the town, then through the dramatic mountains until finally dropping down to the coast. Seeing the sign saying there were only a mere 32km left to go was quite a relief. At Al Houceima the bus station is quite a ... read more
El Houceima
El Houceima
El Houceima

Africa » Morocco » Tangier-Tétouan » Tétouan April 15th 2019

The journey on a local bus from Chefchaouen back down the hill to Tétouan was uneventful save for the kids needing sick bags after just the first couple of twists and turns! Luckily it didn't become an epidemic and we were soon jumping into a taxi and on our way to the Hotel Al Mandari.Perched on the edge of a cliff, it occupies a spectacular location in itself, but we were not prepared for the spectacle of the city of Tétouan. How this gets left off tourist itineraries is beyond belief. Our first stop was the impressive Place Feddane, an enormous square, gleaming white at the foot of the hill over which spreads the most magnificent display of white houses topped by a crumbling old barracks and kasbah. Where Chefchaouen was a blaze of beautiful blue, ... read more
Tétouan
Tétouan
Tétouan

Africa » Morocco » Tangier-Tétouan » Chefchaouen April 13th 2019

Leaving Spain at the Ceuta border you are greeted by a mass of taxis, but they are not all vying for your business. They seem to have a co-ordinator who takes all the hassle out getting a ride, and there’s no haggling for prices – they are fixed no matter how hard you try! It takes about two hours to travel along the pretty coastline, past Tétouan, and up into the beautiful hills to the blue city of Chefchaouen, all for €50. Not cheap, but we couldn’t be doing with getting a taxi to nearby Fnideq, changing on a bus to Tétouan, and then changing onto another bus to our final destination, all to save a few Euros. We were deposited at the base of the medina where an old man led us up through the ... read more
Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen

Europe » Spain » Ceuta & Melilla » Ceuta April 10th 2019

A taxi from Tangier to the border with Ceuta cost us €40 and saved all the hassle of getting ourselves to the bus station then waiting around. We were happy that it represented good value and gave us the chance to ride for an hour or so in a clapped out old Merc along gorgeous coastal roads. Ceuta itself is something of a curiosity. The taxi dropped us off at the border where we somehow managed to walk straight past the Moroccan immigration officials and were turned back before the Spanish ones as our passports hadn't been stamped. That meant a walk back along a long corridor to rectify the situation. It was a Sunday so the border was mercifully quiet. We had expected to see crowds of people, and little old ladies shuttling goods back ... read more
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Africa » Morocco » Tangier-Tétouan » Tangier April 7th 2019

It’s 23 years since we visited Tangier on a long weekend from Gibraltar. Since then we’ve been on so many adventures and travelled so many miles. We wondered if, in the intervening years, this intriguing city had stayed the same. The truth is, neither of us could recognise it from our memories! We drove up to Valencia and stayed in the Travelodge near the airport ready for an early morning Ryanair flight to Morocco. Everything went smoothly and before we knew it our taxi was dropping us off at the foot of the medina and Google Maps was guiding us through the maze of streets to Riad Tingis. Fending off guides, official or not, was tiresome. We were relived to get to the door of the riad and led up to the rooftop terrace while we ... read more
Mosque by the port
Where the ocean meets the sea
Tea on the terrace

Africa » Malawi » Southern » Blantyre February 13th 2019

Driving back to Blantyre was a breeze as we took in most of Malawi's motorways in one journey! We travelled on the M10, the M5, the M8 and the M1. Motorways they are not though, and at times it was frustrating as we got stuck behind the occasional lorry. The M8 was a short diversion off the route to visit the Arthouse in Balaka. Way off the beaten track, it's a place we would wholeheartedly recommend if you have your own transport, but it would be a bit more difficult by bus. At the Arthouse we met Tamara who has been in Malawi for 17 years. After her peace corps work she just couldn't leave and she set up an art cafe in Balaka which has recently moved to new and improved premises. It's a beautiful ... read more
Amazing views from our Air B&B
Commonwealth War Graves are not being kept very well
An unexpected sight!

Africa » Malawi » Southern » Monkey Bay February 10th 2019

The drive to Monkey Bay was remarkably easy. We actually had a road most of the way! That was until we actually got there, and then it deteriorated badly. We were staying at the Monkey Bay Beach Lodge which is actually located through a Malawi Navy base checkpoint. The guys were only doing their job but they could have been a little friendlier. There was a stop sign and we stopped, but not right in front of the sign. It's not like we were blocking the traffic or anything. Later, when we walked through the gate we were told off for not using the pedestrian gate! That aside, what a great location. The lodge has nice, comfortable rooms with very friendly dogs and not-too-curious monkeys. The dogs often occupied the sofa outside our room, but the ... read more
The Ilala sails every Friday morning.
We had the room on the right.
A little companion

Africa » Malawi » Southern » Mangochi February 7th 2019

Mangochi was only a brief stop along the way but we felt the need to blog about it as it is a place that has so much wrong with it at the moment. There's a newly surfaced road running all the way from Liwonde to Mangochi. The first 20-odd kilometres were impressive. The final 20-odd kilometres are still under construction and we have to drive on dirt tracks at the side of the work in progress. Back on the road, you could tell we were getting closer as the potholes got bigger and bigger until at times there was pretty much no road left. Once we actually got to the town, incidentally in the pouring rain, there was indeed no road whatsoever for several sections. Our objectives in Mangochi were twofold. First, we wanted to pay ... read more
Mangochi
Mangochi
Mangochi

Africa » Malawi » Southern » Liwonde NP February 6th 2019

It was just a short drive from Zomba to the town of Liwonde. We had thought about staying there somewhere and just doing a river safari, but once we looked at the accommodation options there was no way that was going to happen. Instead we phoned Liwonde Safari Camp (as recommended by a woman we met at Zomba Plateau!) who told us where to park so they could come and pick us up. We felt a bit sorry for url=https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Tour-Agency/Shire-Camp-Safaris-Liwonde-Malawi-479017332179895/Shire Camp on the bank of the river as we left our car in their care for a couple of days. They are undergoing a bit of a face-lift at the moment and they will be well worth checking out once it's finished. Getting to the camp was no mean feat. It soon became apparent why our ... read more
Liwonde National Park
Liwonde National Park
Liwonde National Park

Africa » Malawi » Southern » Zomba February 4th 2019

The drive up to Zomba was pretty straight forward but we missed a turn that would have avoided the painful process of crawling through Limbe. On our way we stopped off at the rather out-of-place url=https://www.google.com/maps/place/Dong+Jing+Fo+Tang+-+Buddhist+Temple/@-15.7445001,35.1070298,15.71z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x18d84e15bdfec1f9:0xf9d9aa412d14c66e!8m2!3d-15.7468079!4d35.1062617Dong Jing Fo Tang Buddhist temple.This was a mere dot on Google Maps and it was certainly off the beaten track as even when we were a mere 200m away on the dirt road, nobody we asked knew of it! The temple was naturally very reminiscent of our Asia travels, and it would appear to be a home for orphaned and abandoned children, although they have not been converted into novice monks. There was not a saffron robe in sight. It did make for an intriguing side trip along the way though. In Zomba the backpa... read more
Dong Jing Fo Tang - Buddhist Temple
Zomba Plateau
Zomba Plateau




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