Tag Archives: tour

Back on track!

So we are leaving Europe again! Just couldn’t wait!
The last few months have been hard, but after rain comes sunshine – and me likes the sun 🙂
I’m getting used to the Big Fast Ship – me likes that too. Not many buddies there but a couple of really nice oldies to share the trip with. Then straight to the South, with the usual happy stop over in Tarfaya.
Ehm… not without any bumps, though. All of a sudden I’ve got a gloppita gloppita liquidish noise from the gearbox. Mum and Dad got instantly worried and we stopped for a quick check in Guelmin. Good to have friends here and there around the globe – they said I’d just take it easy and come down in fourth gear. That’s not bad, when you’ve got a thousand km ahead of you at max speed 80 Km/h, but we’re never in a hurry!
It was a great journey, all long the way carpeted with blooms from the winter heavy rains. And then home. Dakhla, here we are (again). A puppy is waiting for us, but I need the doctor first. So here he is – I’m a bit scared… will it hurt?


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Once upon a time…

…. in a land far, far away I happened to put my wheels on the hardest rocks I ever experienced. They ran like waves across my path, and it was so dark in the night. I really didn’t know where to go but the car before me led the way with no hesitation and I kept running and running. Bump after bump. Stone after stone. Right in the desert with no way back home.

And finally we stopped. Seemed the middle of nowhere but there was a light. And a warm fire. And a haima. And friendly voices, and salutations, and tea.

So we sat down, drank tea, had food and spent the night talking under the starts.
Oh gosh – how many starts can the sky hold? How many that I could never see before? And they call them different, but they shine alike. So it’s not Pleyads – it’s Thuraya (and so you get where the satellite phone comes from). And it’s not the Milky Way – it’s Road to Santiago (if you’re speaking Spanish) ot Hay Merchants Way (if you’re speaking Arabic).

While we talk, shadows move in the darkness around us but you shall not fear: slowly and gently, these ghosts take the shapes of camels coming back for the night and a bit of food. Mom and Dad are offered fresh camel milk. It’s warm… it’s foamy… it’s good! And then the bread is made. Time to remove much of the hot hashes, put some cold sand on the fireplace, lower the temperature. A flat mass of dough comes out of nowhere and is dropped on the sand, in the fireplace.


All you’ve got to do is cover with other sand, then warm ashes and let it stay. You’ll see ashes rise, the bread is being cooked. And then you take it out, pat it and it’s ready to eat (and no – there’s no sand attached!). Warm, soft, tasty.

Belly is full. Mind is cleared.
What a perfect time to fall asleep…


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Sand bath

Your’re right – I’ve been silent for too long 🙂 It’s just that we get lazy between trips..

We spent two great days, hard to describe everything but three moments will always stay in our memory.

Day 1. Following an old Paris-Dakar pist on an endless and stony hamada we get to a dry wadi. There’s a soft sand patch to cross to the other side. To be honest… better than the awful water in Foum Zguid 🙂 🙂
We stop and walk to see pre-Islamic tombs. It is nice and pleasant, and there are old acacia trees. They are incredible, twisted and shaped by the wind they are still there after years of hard life. They offer rest to birds, butterflies and any other animal looking for a bit of shade. And we meet two camels, mother and “pup” (approximately one year old). They are free, no marks, no ear-clip, nothing… They must have got lost before being marked and live in their natural habitat. With patience and wispering, our guide approaches the female and fondles her nose. We have seen camels in the desert before but these, all alone on such a backdrop, really impress me.
We keep going and finally stop for the camp. A few hours of deserved rest.

Day 2. We go for a large detour and find ourselves on the southern edge of yesterday’s wadi. We’ve got to cross. Dad reviews sand procedures. We’ve already tested my ability in solo-driving on sand: first low gear, diff-lock on, clutch gently released and I start going without speeding up on fresh tracks. I keep moving, time for my crew to get off and make me lighter. Dad walks on my side and occasionally steers from the window (just to make me feel safe). I do the rest. There’s a bit of going up. I can’t make it. Stop. Have to reverse and find another way. We’ve got to try the sandy patch of yesterday. We stop before it and check the sand, those tracks that are like a railroad. Once in, I will have to follow them until the end. Inhale… one, two, three… diff-lock… I speed up and start running on the railroad. More soft sand, I slow down, can’t go on. Stop again 🙁 Dad goes on first low gear, tries again but it’s too soft…
To cut it short: I had a sand bath 🙁
My gentlemen wisely decide to take a break and have lunch under one of those beautiful and friendly acacia trees, resting before digging me out 🙂 After lunch we ponder the situation. They lift me one wheel at a time, deflate my tires… I’m standing again! We give it another try but we can’t proceed. Finally we ask our guide for help and he manages it 🙂 We can’t help an Al-ḥamdu lillāh whisper (Thanks God Thanks)! Lesson learnt, lots of new skills and – most important – we got out of the sand! 🙂

I’ll never forget his eyes. An old shepherd, his skin burned by the sun, his Salaam-Alaikum greeting (“May the Peace be on You”). His wrinkles seen only when he unfolds the turban. He asks for water, and water he is given. His eyes shining – he can’t believe it: Not only two Europeans (and a dog), on a Land Rover, give him water at 2:30 pm in the middle of the desert… The water is cold! You can see a light in his eyes, he can’t tell but you can swear it is intense, nearly mystic. I just can imagine he gets back to the camp, tells his friends and they can’t believe it – and the water is now warm again 🙂
This is the best moment of the day for all of us. Maybe of the year! Such a grateful look, such an inner peace in giving water… These are the things that make me want to stay here (in the desert) ever more….


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Heading south

Great night on the shore, the sea as a lullaby, and even cookies for breakfast. Dad and Mum are spoiling me. Still… morning moisture is covering me. Will I ever get clean and dry? They must read my mind: a good shower at the gas station is all I need and here we go, before heading south!
We take the road along the coast, nearly empty and wilder. And guess what? We even manage to meet buddies locked in Foum Zguid with us! It’s a small world…
Sand on the tarmac: me LOVES it. The the road cuts across wadis and cracks on the sea: brackish waters, cliffs and birds. Hope “development” wont find them, too… And then Naila – the immense lagoon system. You just can’t believe there’s a desert behind your shoulders. Fishermen offer for a lift but we have to go. Tarfaya is our next destination. Now it’s time to spoil Mum and Dad with a carbonara and nice chats in the best camping so far.
Tomorrow: DAKHLA. Feels like home!


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Bits of home even here in Morocco!

Bits of home even here in Morocco!

Naila left behind, and always ready to catch views of what’s around us, we arrive soon in Tarfaya – Camping Villa Bens. Actually it’s quite early before lunch but it’s always good timing for food
Dad and I have already been here, so it feels like home: nice smiles from the hosts welcome us in. Gianpiero and his wife live here with their new puppy Biondo – a peaceful afternoon, I take a good rest while Mum and Dad chat and then go for a looong walk on the beach across the road. Guess what? The infamous “10 minutes with a biologist” – poooooor Dad!!! Ok…. they are taking lots of pics (at any-single-thing-they-see!!!).
Once back we’re all going for a serious carbonara – stereotyped Italians, with red wine and all Yep yep me LIKES this! And Mum!!! Oh dear – She’s got in love with the camping toilets! But congrats go to Giampiero and his wife who created everything from scratches (really – built themselves!) and even more important keep everything clean and neat – better than a hotel (Foum Zguid – are you hearing us?) 😛
Finally they all go to sleep  – the last stretch is ahead of us… just can’t wait… the lagoon opening up in front of us as we drive downhill at PK27 and, even before, the island appearing on the horizon, all shining silver around it.
Oh, yes! Let’s go!


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