I left Tom, Fran, Dennis and Jackie in El Jardida. Dennis still had some problems with his 5th wheel trailer, but I had to move on. I had arranged to meet up with Rudi & Mirella, friends who live in El Jabha on the Mediterranean coast and knew it would take me a couple of days to get there. To save time I took the motorway from El Jadida along the Atlantic coast to Casablanca then Rabat where I turned east heading towards Fez, where the motorway stopped. I reached Fez at the end of my first day from El Jadida, parking up for the night outside the main walls of the Imperial city. It wasn't the quietest of nights with lots of youngsters milling around until late, but good enough for the night. The following morning I set off early on a perfectly sunny day to cross the mountains of the Riff. The drive was superb, the scenery stunning. Around lunchtime I had to turn off on a secondary road that would take me to Ej Jebha. The road was narrow, twisty and in places quite steep, but once again the scenery superb. Tired but happy I arrived in El Jabha and parked up in a parking area next to the small port. Rudi came to greet me. We wandered through the main town and took coffee in one of the many bars. Rudi lives up a steep, rocky track, not suitable for me to take the camper up, so we parted, Rudi to return home, and I to the motorhome, to spend the night. There were six Italian motorhomes parked up in the carpark, I spent an hour chatting away trying to practise my Italian, before cooking dinner and settling down for the night.
I spent two days with Rudi & Mirella, which passed quickly, and all to soon found myself on the road once again heading for Ceuta and the ferry back to mainland Spain.
The ferry crossed from Ceuta to Algeciras in an hour, but as Spain is an hour ahead of Morocco, it was getting late by the time I arrived in Los Barrios where I planned to spend the night. Calling Niki on the phone, she suggested I try to be back in Rome, for my birthday, on the 30th of March, just five days away. Having travelled through Spain many times I didn't need to hang around seeing the sights, so set off, keeping to the toll free motorways heading to France. I choose to head first towards Madrid, north of Algeciras, then turn east towards Zaragoza. It seemed to be a longer way round but in fact turned out to be a quicker way to go. Spain passed by quickly as did France and before I realised it I was back in Italy, almost five months since I had left. I arrived back in Rome late afternoon on the 29th. It had been a stressful, tiring few days, but I could at least celebrate my birthday with Niki and her family.
I enjoyed my birthday, I went with Niki, her daughter and husband and their two young children, to a lovely restaurant set in the countryside, we had a great meal. It feels strange now to officially be an old age pensioner, 65 years of age seems to be a landmark, although I really don't feel any where near that age, most people seem to think I look much younger, perhaps there just being kind.
It seems I've been travelling all my life. For the past eight years I've been following a simple, nomadic lifestyle full time touring in a camper van and meeting with other like minded travellers.
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