Well we are now on the cusp of Africa having driven the 2,000 km through France and Spain in four days. France was easy as we cruised through, pushing 110km/h and stopping for nothing other than “gazoile” to fill our incredibly thirsty steed! After spending our first night in Rouen at an over-priced hotel we met Neil in Bordeaux on Friday evening. The next day we pushed on through the Pyrenees Mountains and into Spain. As we drove through the range we were engulfed in snow and so we decided it was as good a time as any to stop for a Spanish meal. Not long afterwards however, Grant started feeling particularly unwell and soon went on to win the prize for first chunder of the journey! And that was only the start… what followed in the next 12 hours was a sickness that would put and Duzi-Gut or Dheli Belly to absolute shame! We spent the night in a “town” that felt like it was situated in a desolate spot somewhere between Reno and the Mexican border, a town where the Tache is sacred, a town where cats toy with the tumbleweed and the Coke comes in old scratched bottles.
Of course every cloud has its silver lining. Unfortunately our silver lining came in the form of a sheared bolt… That explained why our fan belt had been squealing for the last 1,000km. By now it was Domingo which meant that no mechanics were available. We thus used our Phone-a-Friend life-line and called Julian (see our Preparations page for an explanation on the huge help Julian has been to us)! He quickly diagnosed the problem and gave instructions which Mikaela and Neil enacted with pit-lane efficiency. Before we knew it we were on the road again, heading towards Cordoba via Madrid.
Monday the 1st of February (Grant’s birthday, although it felt more like calamity-day) brought on a new set of problems and challenges:
- 5:30 Paula wins a silver medal in the “first to chunder competition”
- 8:20 Leave Cordoba, no time for breakfast – we have a ferry to catch at 13:00 and we’re already late
- 12:00 Reunite with Andrew and Danielle at Algeciras – an hour later than expected but hopefully in time for our ferry
- 13:00 No ferry
- 13:30 Still no ferry – apparently the King of Morocco is in Tanger and all ferry’s are delayed.
- 13:35 We are advised to rather take the 14:00 ferry to Ceuta
- 13:45 We discover that, whilst Andrew and Danielle make it onto the ferry our vehicle’s ticket has been cancelled because we were “late” for the 13:00 ferry which has been delayed to 17:00. This is Africa?
- 14:00 We miss the 14:00 ferry
- 14:05 Pay another EUR160 for a new ferry ticket
- 15:00 Board ferry, buy a bottle of Moet and celebrate our crossing into Africa
- 16:10 Arrive in Ceuta, drive 5 minutes into town, feel the car start shaking in traffic as one of our jerry-cans is cunningly loosed by an opportunist kid. Welcome to Africa!
- 16:30 Mikaela, now also overcome by “the plague”, wins bronze in the First-to-Chunder competition.
- 17:00 Cross border from Ceuta (Spanish territory) to Morocco
- 19:00 Finally arrive in Tanger and meet up with Mik’s folks.
- 20:00 Neil wins a magenta award for coming last in the First to Chunder competition as the plague strikes once again!