Penny and I got up and headed back to the Brophy’s via the hypermarket and had breakfast with them and Dan. I picked up a few things up that Penny was going to take back to the UK. Penny was very sad and tearful. I was feeling sad too. I had been missing her a lot.
We, then, drove back to La Linea where I parked the car and walked over the border with Penny to the airport in Gibraltar. Dan was waiting outside the airport with a bag of things for Penny to take back too, having cycled from the Brophy’s.
Penny checked in and then went towards ‘Departures’. We said goodbye amid hugs, kisses and tears. I was full of mixed feelings. I was sad to say goodbye to Penny and I was keen to get going into Africa. Penny left through the departure gate at which point Dan and I then hurried back across the border.
Steve and Simon had tickets for the 1pm ferry and we thought we might be able to catch it with them. But, in reality, we did not have a hope in hell of catching the same ferry to Morocco. I sped down to Algeciras to drop off the car and managed to see Steve and Simon on the ferry before it left. We arranged to meet in Tetouan the next morning. I bought ferry tickets for us and cycled back to Brian and Sally’s place (I had left my bike there).
We packed up after lunch, said our goodbyes, thank you’s to Brian, Sally, their children Jess and Anna, and, after nearly two weeks of rest, left at 2-45pm for Algeciras. My bike felt sluggish and heavy after so much time cycling without panniers. We made the ferry on time and left Europe and Algeciras at about 4pm.
We had decided to get the ferry from Algeciras to the Spanish enclave in North Africa of Ceuta instead of landing in Morocco in Tangier. Firstly, coming ashore in Ceuta would give us a chance to check our stuff through before going into Morocco and to buy some last minute supplies. Secondly, Tangier, from Dan’s previous experience of it is a ‘sales war zone’ with hawkers and peddlers hassling from the moment you land. Ceuta would give us time to get through the border and on the road without all of the hassle. Finally, coming ashore in Ceuta means for a shorter ride to Tetouan where we going to meet Simon and Steve, who were also cycling.
It was sunny and windy on the crossing. Feeling excited about the next stage of our journey. We got off the ferry after almost suffocating from exhaust fumes on the car deck and went to a supermarket to buy supplies.
We looked for a room in Ceuta but they were far too expensive for us, so we ended up in a camp site. I was in a bad mood. Penny was gone, the man in charge of the camp site would not give us our passports back and, for some reason, my big toe was a little septic and painful (I can’t remember how I had injured it).
We cooked supper and went to bed early but not before spending some time removing any potentially offensive material about the politics in Morocco from the guide books we had bought with us (which seems a little too cautious in retrospect!). We also split up the Moroccan dirhams we had exchanged earlier and hid them around our bags. The sunset was amazing and we finally got into our sleeping bags, anticipating the first full day in non-European occupied Africa.
Will Hawkins lives in Lincolnshire with his family, works in a technology company in London and does as many micro-adventures as he can.
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