Thursday, 27 August 2009

She Says - Getting closer to Africa…

26-27 August
Last night, we enjoyed free wi-fi access in a café and worked out where we were heading next, thanks to online mapping! During the day, we had received an SMS from Alison, who we are due to meet tomorrow, with the GPS location of their house plus a note that she’d sent an email. We already had her address from posting our tyres, and took time to map our route, which was a good idea because they are much further from Malaga than we realised! After a trip to the supermarket for canned yummies and sangria, we chatted to Alison, and headed back to our rooftop balcony. We spent our evening relaxing and enjoying our rooftop view, watching the cathedral light up and bats emerging from parts of the Alcazar then flying around us, listening to swing and big band music on the computer as we unlimited power, having a dance, and drinking sangria. Bliss! It was wonderful to treat ourselves and relax. Seeing as the best view of the cathedral at night was from our balcony, and nothing else had really grabbed us for night photos, I played with the tripod on the balcony. Easiest night shooting so far on the trip! We also had a conveniently brilliant view of the bike, which was parked in a nearby square due to traffic restrictions in this part of town. Very comforting. We’ve been able to sit on our balcony and hardly hear any traffic, except the occasional scooter through the area or horse carts carrying loads of tourists around town. We’re very surprised at how low the tourist numbers have been in Seville, even the Alacazar was not that busy including all the tour groups. Again, like Portugal, are people avoiding the summer heat or holidaying elsewhere?

We took a slow morning, and had breakfast in another free wi-fi café. We decided it was best to travel as far as possible today, to give ourselves an easy trip to Alison’s tomorrow. We wanted to find a campground reasonably early as we have no idea what is around and don’t feel we can trust our GPS list of campgrounds. We picked a likely town and pair of GPS points to head for near Aldequera. After reaching Aldequera and stocking up on groceries and a bottle of wine for our hosts tomorrow (in an enormous supermarket populated mostly by Brits!), we set off to track down the campgrounds. After getting stuffed around by the waypoints – once again going nowhere and getting lost in yet another tiny town! - we came back to Aldequera as I had seen camping sign before town, though it was very old and rough looking. We decided the best option was to talk to the tourist office, which I had seen signs for on our first entry into town, then if that failed, head to Malaga as there would definitely be campgrounds near there. After stopping in the middle of town, trying to locate the tourist office (conveniently hidden behind a truck!), we chatted with a lovely Columbian-English man who lives half the year in Spain. He recognised the lost and confused look on our faces and pointed out the tourist office across the road and also told us where the campground was! We found out that we had stumbled into a lovely town full of history, Europe’s best ancient burial chambers, and a gorgeous natural park in the surrounding hills! It’s such a shame that we have to get moving tomorrow and can’t explore anything!!!! After watching sunset over the lovely rock formations this side of the El Torcal park, I’m now sitting in the dark listening to what I think are sheep bells as they move across the hill behind us, lovely tune. The campground is full of static caravans and various load people, but it’s not too bad, apart from the water shortage that we hit when we arrived!

Tomorrow we are off to make new friends. Alison and family have very kindly let us post a new rear tyre from the UK, as well as a new front tyre ordered just a week ago in Portugal. So far, they have been amazing in letting us post the tyres, offering a place to stay and to take us to get the tyres changed, and all we know abut each other is we like to travel by motorbike! I have to say a big thank you to the Horizons Unlimited forum for putting likeminded people in touch with each other.

I’m starting to feel anxious about getting to Morocco. It will be the first time we have to take the bike through a proper border, and the first time we’ve ever applied for border visas. I know it will all be fine, and I am glad it’s Morocco that we start our African adventure in, as they are very used to European bikes coming through overland. But I’m still worried we’ll get things wrong or it will all get confused or something. Our insurance cover runs out the day we go to Morocco, nicely timed but means we have to get insurance there, which used to be at border but apparently is now in a nearby town. I can just see things going wrong or maybe getting scammed. Unfortunately, there is no point trying to carry our insurance forward as they are unlikely to cover Morocco anyway. We’re thinking now about where to go in Morocco and what to do, and it’s great to think of the time that will be up our sleeves. We will have a definite month in Morocco, maybe longer if we think we can, or if other countries will need to be rushed through due to certain areas not being accessible or recommended right now (e.g. Mauritania). It’s exciting to know there are no timelines now, as our final have-to-be-somewhere and meet people takes place tomorrow. After that, if we want to stay somewhere for many days, we can!