17 May
2016
Fes, Morocco 0

Posted by Julian Cohen

This is turning into a walking tour of Morocco. We wandered all over the medina today, probably down every one of its 9000 alleyways. We visited the old synagogues, the metal workers areas, the tanneries, and had a magnificent lunch of lamb tagine. Finished off with a visit to the pottery factory and the obligatory purchase of a bowl and a tagine, we are now ready for a hamam and a damn good scrubbing.

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16 May
2016
Chefchaouen, Morocco 0

Posted by Julian Cohen

We drove from Tangiers to Fes today, about five to six hours all together, with a stop at Chefchaouen for a wander around the medina and a lunch of burnt cows feet stew. The Rif Mountains are in the full bloom of spring. Every inch is agricultural fields and it could almost be the rolling hills of the South Downs of England in places. The wheat is high, canola fields are bright yellow and the spring flowers are everywhere. It’s a lovely time to drive across the country.

Chefchaouen is known as the “Blue Village” for good reason. It is very picturesque, nestled between two mountains, the houses clinging to the hillside as the town spills down the valley. The sun was out today but the streets of the medina were cool in the shade as we wandered around after our guide, a little old man who ran up and down the steps a lot faster than I did, pointing out all the good vantage points for photos.

We stopped in a small restaurant as we wanted to try a local delicacy, cows feet that have been burnt in the fire, scraped, and then melted down into a sticky stew which is eaten with bread and chick peas. Ildi loved it, I was ambivalent. Our guide was astonished that we wanted to try it, but then he is used to ‘different’ kinds of tourists who would rather have a hamburger or a hot dog. He’s going to enjoy this week!

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15 May
2016
Tangiers, Morocco 0

Posted by Julian Cohen

We moved to Tangiers today and went for a long walk around the medina and the souk. It is a much bigger city than Tetuoan and much busier, with people everywhere and cars and bikes vying for space on the roads with people and market sellers. The weather has finally improved, the sun is out and the skies are clear and blue. We are staying in the same hotel that Matisse stayed when he visited Tangiers in 1912 and painted Window at Tangiers, The Grande Hotel Villa De France. The room he stayed in is directly above us and as I sit here and write this I am looking out at the same view, listening to the same sounds of humanity and animals, although I can hear a lot more car horns than Matisse.

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13 May
2016
Tetouan, Morocco 0

Posted by Julian Cohen

We took a long slow stroll through the markets and the new town of Tetouan today accompanied by Ahmed. He just stayed in the background, guiding us when we needed directions but otherwise let us wander, all the time with a big smile on his face. He took us up to the old Kasbah with a great view across the city to the Rift Mountains beyond.

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12 May
2016
Tetouan, Morocco 0

Posted by Julian Cohen

We crossed from Gibraltar to Morocco, Europe to Africa, yesterday morning and arrived at Smir Marina around two in the afternoon. Clearing customs and irritations was very simple; a couple of customs men ran out in the rain to come aboard, poke their heads into a few cupboards and pronounce us cleared into Morocco.

Today we took a tour around the medina in the town of Tatouan. The streets were empty of tourists, we only saw two other non-Moroccans the whole day. Everyone was friendly and left us in peace to wander after our guide, Rashid, as he rushed about showing us the local artisans hard at work. They were very happy for us to come into their workshops as they made furniture, clothing and shoes. Everything is hand made and there was a real sense of industry about the streets. We ate couscous in a beautiful old riad, the plates piled high with food.

Ahmed, our second guide and all around lovely chap, followed along carrying all the shopping and chatting with his friends as we wandered about.

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11 May
2016
Gibraltar 0

Posted by Julian Cohen

The clouds were firmly over the famous rock as we approached from the east. It was an easy trip and we tied up and then wandered into town. Anyone that has any knowledge of English naval history has to have a soft spot in their heart for Gibraltar; it feels like an old pirate town that has been dragged into the modern day, but anytime you look down the little alleyways you can easily imagine the press-gangs rounding up the drunken sailors as they staggered from the pubs.

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11 May
2016
Gibraltar 0

Posted by Julian Cohen

The clouds were firmly over the famous rock as we approached from the east. It was an easy trip and we tied up and then wandered into town. Anyone that has any knowledge of English naval history has to have a soft spot in their heart for Gibraltar; it feels like an old pirate town that has been dragged into the modern day, but anytime you look down the little alleyways you can easily imagine the press-gangs rounding up the drunken sailors as they staggered from the pubs.

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10 May
2016
Puerto Banus, Spain 0

Posted by Julian Cohen

This morning I took the Phantom for an early flight over the sea, as is my want. Everything is calm and quiet, no one around and just the annoying buzz of the drone to disturb the peace: but it does give you some amazing perspectives of places that you would never really have the opportunity to see like this otherwise.

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09 May
2016
Puerto Banus, Spain 0

Posted by Julian Cohen

The original plan was to keep going to Gibraltar today, but the weather got the better of us. A squall came through with 60 knot winds and afterwards the sea was lumpy and we decided not to bother bashing against it for the next five hours, but to stop off for a beer instead at a lovely marina. We are, after all, fair weather sailors.

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09 May
2016
Marina del Estes, Spain 0

Posted by Julian Cohen

We are making our way down the coast towards Gibraltar. The weather was a little inclement a couple of nights ago so we stopped for a rest at Garrucha, a small town with a safe marina and a Lebanese restaurant. The next morning we set off again full of kofta and reeking of garlic.

Last night we stopped at a tiny little marina for the night, Marina del Estes, very nice and very quiet. It seemed like they were all waiting for the summer to begin, a few restauranteurs along the quay looked very keen as Willo and I walked past to visit the marina office to check in. They all jumped up one at a time and said hola with an expectant look on their faces. Sadly for them Alexis had a fantastic chicken waiting for us when we got back.

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I’m doing a lot of traveling and diving this year and enjoying every minute of it.

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