A Bit More Devon and Dartmoor

Time to move on again, end of housesitting duties so we say goodbye for now to the Devon coastline and the hills of Dartmoor. The weather hasn’t been quite so kind the last few days, but we’ve taken the opportunities to get out.

Back now to Somerset for a few days, and then probably a week or so on the south coast assuming the weather permits. Mid March will see us back to Watchet for the summer, except for short breaks.

I do want to spend more time walking this year, so there is a small plan afoot. Last year it became apparent how little exercise you can get living in such a small space. But first I need to sort out my waking boots. A new pair just before Christmas, but at the moment are causing problems with heel rub. A trip back to the store for a refitting is going to be required. Hopefully they can sort it out.



Views over The Devon Coastline and Dartmoor

A bit behind with the photos, so a quick update. The sun has been shining on and off, allowing us to get out and explore the coastline, and a cracking day on south Dartmoor.

Really enjoying this bit of Devon at the moment, just a few days remaining. Still undecided about where to go next!



House Sitting in Newton Ferrers

Well, something of a change from last week, but at least the sun is still shining. We’ve come to Newton Ferrers for a spot of house sitting for a couple of weeks. It’s a lovely place, overlooking the estuary, and with great coastal walks very close by. We headed over to Mothecombe beach for a Sunday morning stroll, then back for roasties, something we can’t rustle up with the vans limited cooking arrangements! Yum.

Must try and do plenty of walking over the coming weeks, despite doing a fair amount of walking in Morocco we also did an unfair amount of eating which is taking its toll on the waistline – particularly the waistline of the trousers. Plus the splendid Ship Inn beckons!

The Bahia Palace, Marrakech

Our last day in Morocco, and time to tick off a couple of sights that we missed at the start of the trip.

The palace is a grand house and gardens, each room decorated lavishly with hand carved plaster and tiles.

A bit more schlepping through the souks, this time taking more time to ponder what there was to buy, and eventually I found a pair of shoes in style is been eyeing for a while, and at a much reduced price. First offered to me at £30, these were on the shelf for £10, and I got them for £8 after a bit of haggling. Same quality, so happy there. They should do for wearing round the van, and replace the last pair which are now holed in the soles!

If You Think You Had A Shit Day, Try This

Now here’s a job with prospects. The prospect of not standing in shit and urine, going home, and having a shower. Except that’s probably not going to do it is it?

These are the leather tanneries in Marrakech, still operated in the age old fashion of soaking the skins in piss and pigeon shit for a month to soften the leather.

If you look closely you might be able to see people standing in the vats. Even if they are the rinsing tanks, that’s still got to be one of the worst jobs you can do.

We also got the most persistent of ‘guides’ who only mentioned that we might like to make a contribution after we had declined to purchase anything from the shop (at no point was a visitor fee mentioned of advertised, we didn’t even ask for a guide, he just talked at us). He started by asking for the equivalent of £30, for a 15 minute, broken English description of how people stand in pigeon poo all day. I was prepared to offer a couple of quid (after all, surely the opportunity is to sell me something real).

He whinged and moaned as we walked away and followed us down the street, tugging on my arm all the way. Didn’t want to take no for an answer. His price kept coming down, and at £5 Mel buckled, but he still kept trying to argue it back up. I told him to take it or leave it, so he begrudgingly took it and left. I’d have been happier with zilch given his attitude.

Shit jobs all round. C’est la vie.

Back to Marrakech

Now back in Marrakech, and we have a ‘suite’ in a charming hotel that can only be described as ‘up a back alley’. But the room is lovely, even with the sounds of Abba coming from the lane outside. We might not find our way back to it, it’s like a rabbit warren round here.

One thing you notice about the Moroccans – they seem to have a thing about toilet doors. This is the third place place where the door is optional, not even a curtain for modesty. Good job that Mel and I are used to living in close proximity!

Now, out to find some new house shoes. Something with a curly toe perhaps?

Fish Stalls at Agadir Harbour

At the North end of the bay of Agadir, there is the commercial harbour and the swanky marina. Lots of well dressed throng to the marina and its shops and restaurants. Our friend Isabelle suggested we find the sardine restaurant at the harbour, but we weren’t sure if they meant one of the marina restaurants, or the commercial harbour.

The harbour is somewhat cut off from the marina, but we wandered around the corner and a tout pestered and led us into the Aladdin’s cave of fish restaurant stalls. They all sell the same thing, and for a set price, so hard to choose, but as you wander they all ply their wares and try to get you to sit at their tables. It’s a hustle, bustle kind of place, plastic table clothes, smoke wafting from the grills and fryers, but all very honest. Not that many people there at 8pm, not sure if the locals wag early or late. There seemed to be a big noisy crowd around the back either watching football or lobster racing. Fantastic fun, definitely recommended.

We eventually plumped for one and got a plateful of mixed fish and large bottle of water for £9. We emerged half an hour later stuffed and retired for the night to do the beached whale thing.

Agadir Souk

A full day to wander Agadir, we headed first to the Supratours bus ticket office to get our tickets to return to Marrakech. Supratours takes over where the railway leaves off, providing a service a bit like National Express at home. We paid the extra £2 for the Confort Plus service, as the standard service down from Essaouira smelt a little bit too much of goat and BO.

We then headed for the main souk, what we would think of as a market. Lovely, but less chaotic than the one in Marrakech, but still home to an alleged 3000 stalls. It certainly went on and on. A much wider range of goods too, as it serves the local community more than the one in Marrakech, which seems to only sell tat to tourists. At least in Agadir they’ve had the good sense to ban mopeds from cycling up and down between the stalls.

After developing souk fatigue, we headed back to the beach and spent a couple of lovely hours basking in the sunshine. That’s the first time we’ve managed to get down to swimwear, so alas the tan is rather uneven. There’s definitely something about the quality of the sun down this way though, my face is looking distinctly muddy!

Agadir

Arriving just as the sun was setting after about 3 hours on the bus, the beach stretched out before us. We are staying at the Al Moggar Club Beach hotel complex. I don’t think I’ve holidayed in one of these before, for whatever reason. This one is straight out of the sixties or early seventies. I think there was an earthquake here in the 60s that levelled much of the town, and so I suspect this was one of the first to rise from the ruins. Despite its apparent age, it seems to be holding up, although we a definitely in 3 star territory.

Can’t complain about access to the beach though, literally out of our room door, through the gate onto the promenade, and there it is.

We wandered around the swanky marina last night, and found ourselves somewhere more humble for supper. Both of us had reached the Tagine limit, so it was good to find a half decent Italian for pizza.

Today was ripe for a good walk along the beach, particularly after the excessive breakfast (but they’ve all been a bit like that). Not helped but the breakfast item that could be best described as deep fried donut (I know they are deep fried normally, but this was like a cross between thrice cooked chips and battered fish). Probably about 1000 calories a pop. Had to be done, but probably only the once.

So the walk was about 10 miles, including a shoes off in the sea opportunity. Just so you know you rally are on the beach. Waters surprisingly warm, but not too many people prepared to brave it.

Now just wondering, what to have for supper?

Essaouira

Thankfully, no sitting on a car yesterday. Time to wander around Essaouira. Leisurely lunch. Much more laid back than Marrakech.

A long walk along the beach heading south, wandering through the dunes in the return, and the villages of Daibet, once visited by Jimi Hendrix allegedly, although he seems to have left nothing of note behind.

In all, the wanderings added up to 14 miles, so much better than the last few days stuck in the car, although I’ve now proven that my walking shoes are not good for long distances. Blisters. Arse. Sorry, to clarify, that is not blisters on the arse, just the feet.

This afternoon we are on the bus to Agadir so that we can Agado before we are Agadone.

Travelling Through Life