Categories
China Turkey

Wild camping and holidaying in Cirali, Turkey

Cirali, right next to the ancient town of Olympos, is simply the best place to wild camp in Turkey. The beach is the nicest in the country and there are free toilets and a water supply. We were parked next to the sand, under huge trees, and it was great! Plenty of other wild campers also from all over Europe.

But if you don’t have a camper, there are heaps of ensions to choose from. We had a bad experience in one of them and shifted over to Şahin Pension which was great. Apo is the friendly owner. He speaks English, German and Turkish. They have wifi, restaurant, and even their own boat for cruises. Good prices also. If you don’t mind a little walk into the main part of town, check out Şahin Pension down the end of the road.

 

Categories
Travel

Campgrounds, or not, in Europe… and beyond

When the blog carnival theme came up this month for “RV Parks and Kids” my mind came up with a bit of a blank because we just don’t go to them very much any more. A couple of reasons come to mind. They are too dang expensive. With our amount of people we have paid €65 for just one night at a campground. Also, many of the higher end campgrounds can tend to smell, look, feel and act way too much like suburbia for our tastes. These ones also tend to cater to older clientele with visiting grandkids or small families.  We end up getting lots of photos taken of us but not much conversation.

However, sometimes we need a break from our wild camping ways. We look for a small treat when we are especially tired.  So, I will start off with some of these jewels and end up with alternatives to campgrounds in Europe and beyond. As you read our recommendations please be aware that we are a bit of a …. ferrell family and a great place for camping for us might not be your choice. We prefer to dive into local culture rather than find the perfect pool or shower temperature.

Here are some places we have camped.

First, some ground rules.

Look for places that are more down to earth, where you see lots of local license plates and away from touristy cities. The best places you find will be the ones that you discover on your own that fulfill your own specific needs.

In all of Europe an R.V., motorhome, camping car is the way to go. Do not think a caravan gives you the same privledges. A caravan reminds people of gypsies and you will be limited to camping grounds or your friends driveways.

Germany. Our favourite campground was one that we found when our car broke down. We took a taxi with our tent to a campground (their website) outside the village of Grunberg while our vehicle got repaired. In a great display of the German precision they have 7 stainless steel pools each age appropriate from infant to olympic swimmer. It is a set of community pools with campground attached. We go every year for a bit of a break. We also love camping at Edersee. Lots of campgrounds to choose from. We went to Teichmann (their website). It is a family paradise. Lake, daily family activities including BBQ and pancakes. Book ahead because they are crowded.

Spain. Campgrounds are expensive. Wild camping is dangerous. If we hear about anyone being robbed at night while they are sleeping in their RV it is always in Spain.  You can get a good deal on a campground here if you stay in the same campground for 2 months or more. That is not for us though. We rarely spend a great deal of time here, unless we are staying with friends. We did find a campground (TJs post) that was perfect for our needs north of Barcelona once.  Expensive, but it was only for a couple of days and we loved it.

Portugal. Our favourite camping experience is at Conscious Earth (their website) (our post). Great people. Great place. Say hi for us if you go.

Italy.  A couple of our favourite campgrounds are here. Asissi had a great campground (their website) and hostel in an olive grove with a giant, open air, family-style restaurant under a grape arbour. The type of things dreams are made of. You know how sometimes a place seems so perfect in your memory you wonder if it was real. Halfway down the country we found a huge, simple campground on the coast, next to a fishing village.

Croatia. Stay away from places with big, flash signs. Take the smaller road and look for small signs. Hope you find that farmer who was fortunate to have a bit of land on the coast and welcomes you to his family style campground. These special gems have no website just a friendly host and reasonable prices.

Macedonia. Our favourite campground here is outside of Lake Ohrid. Ask the locals in the town – they will all point you to the same place. It is called Autokamp Gradiste. No website. We went just before the main season and had the place mostly to ourselves. It is very popular during the main summer season. If you walk along the rocks on the small bridges you will find many cafes, clubs and even a cave church from the 1400s.

Albania. First of all, a bit of warning on the roads here. Only drive during the day and stay alert. People steel the huge manhole covers and leave huge holes in the middle of the road. Also, seems EU gave money for divided freeways but nothing for onramps. So, you will find a divided freeway coming off a dirt road with people going both ways on both sides of the road. Road signs are also frequently missing. Your GPS will be of little or no use as the information is not kept up to date. Beware also of speed traps. The speed limit will drop to 20 km for no reason except to give the police a chance to get money from the unknowing tourists. In reference, to camping, we only saw 2 campgrounds in the entire country. The route to Campground Praemer (their website) takes you through 10km of a road that is sinking back into the swamp from whence it came. 4X4 only. Nice campground and nice people, if you can get there. It is the heart project of a great couple. Strange, doesn’t mention the difficult route on the website.

Czech Republic. Did I ever say that we love the Czech Republic? Great campgrounds with pubs and cheap restaurants. The places we have stayed, on a lazy river, in the middle of the green countryside and the hopfields. Ahhhh.

U.K. Campgrounds generally charge by the vehicle and not the person. Much better prices than on the continent. Had some problems because we have a self-build motorhome and they are a bit scared of the Irish Travelers in England. Motorhome clubs are good to join if you stay around for a while because they offer “registered sites” and “farm sites”.

New Zealand. DOC campgrounds (our post) are great. These are government campgrounds. Off the beaten path. Some are quite standard, some are the idyllic, some are quite adventurous. We saw some great wildlife rooting around our campsites. Best to get your maps sent to you before you get to New Zealand as they can be difficult to find.  Our favourite “normal” campground (our post) was coming south from Rotorua and almost into Taupo. It was marked by a blue teapot and full of semi-wild chickens and peacocks. Heaven for us.

Now for the UN-CAMPGROUNDING.

Ground rules here.

If you park near some local businesses support them. Get coffee at the cafe. A beer at the pub and talk to the owners. Ask if it is ok to park for the night. One wild camping spot in Silves was emptied by the local police until the local complained that the police were putting them out of business. They petitioned to get the wild camping spot reopened.

Do not spend the night anywhere that is within 40 km of an international border. That is unless you want to get robbed, caught in an international dispute or accosted by prostitutes.

Camping ground

In France and Germany, remember this… In France, “Aire-de-campingcar”… In Germany “Stellplatz”. These beautiful places can be found in a magical book “ADAC Stellplatzfuhrer”.  It is possible to get on amazon.de or from any large bookstore once you get to Europe. DO NOT go motorhoming in Europe without this book. We bought our handy, dandy book in Germany and keep it in the front of the truck with a German dictionary. Good to have a GPS as well as many of these places are difficult to find. We have been to a beachfront parking lot in France with electricity, water and bread delivery in the morning for €3.00 a night. We have stayed in parking lots of camping grounds with use of all the facilities for a 10th of the price of those staying in the camping ground. We have stayed next to swimming pools for free. Horse riding clubs. lakes. rivers. pubs. etc. Facilities can be very limited but it keeps us flexible and creative. The book lists a few sites in other EU countries but none in Spain. A couple of our posts on Aires are here and here.

Would also like to mention that we have friends whose parking lots and fields they are generous enough to let us use. We are currently parked next to a castle. We have a key to the front door and use the facilities inside. Before this we were in a forest where other friends are renovating an old farmhouse and restaurant. We have stayed in hippie communities, squats, driveways, farms, fields and festivals. From here we will go to visit a friend who, with his invitation to come, told us where we can stay in our truck.

And beyond….

New Zealand. The ONLY way to see NZ is in a self-contained campervan. Many places to rent from . We thought the funniest ones were with a company called “Wicked”. The back of one said “They call it pms because mad cow disease was already taken”. OK, well, appeals to my sense of humour. Maybe not yours. So….where were we. If you have a self-contained motorhome you can go and park just about anywhere. We had tents and stayed at the DOC campgrounds. DOC campgrounds are cheap government campgrounds that can take you to some of the most idyllic places or on bizarre adventures.

OK, that is it. Have I wet your appetite? So, who is coming to Europe… or New Zealand?

This post is part of the FOTR Blog Carnival.

Categories
New Zealand

Camping in New Zealand

Forget hotels unless you want to go from city to city and New Zealand has way more to offer than its cities. Camping is the way to go.

If you are two people the best way to explore New Zealand is in one of the many varieties of campervan we see scouring the country. You can park up just about anywhere as long as you are “self-contained”. The coolest we saw were the wicked campervans and the escape campervans. These come decorated in graffiti and are everywhere.

The reality is we brought tents and we are 6 people. Because of this we are quite limited. Our salvation, however, were the DOC campgrounds. These are much cheaper than the private campgrounds and well, a lot more interesting. Normal, private campgrounds remind me way too much of suburbia and seem far too tame. Not to mention the fact that they price is rediculous for a family of 6. You can download the PDF of locations of DOC campground or get a brochure once you get here from any place that says “i-site”.

Many of the DOC campgrounds are in amazing places. Interesting little islands that you can only get to with a water taxi. We saw one that was in an old mining town and had 53 river crossings.

We went to one that had 20+ miles of a thin gravel road with sheer cliffs and no railing.

If you like hiking then New Zealand has a special treat for you. They call it tramping (hiking) here. They have dotted the whole country with “backcountry huts”. You see, when you are tramping they would prefer you not to tent on the trail so they provide these huts. I have even heard there are “firebaths” on some of the trails.


Categories
New Zealand

Hot Water, Free Range Chickens and Blackberries

On our way down south.

Stopped off in Rotorua on the way. Rotorua has become a bit touristy. Lots of hotels and expensive games for spending your money. There are helicopter rides and transparent balls to crawl inside of and roll down the hill.

We saw steam rising from small tree islands in the park on the side of the road. We smell the sulpher. Andrew quotes a t’shirt saying. “Rotorua… it wasn’t me.”

We see bubbling mud pools and the “lobster pool”. So named because anyone with light skin who would go into it would come out looking like a lobster. People don’t go in and swim anymore. Looks really hot. I suppose too many people got hurt or maybe just too much fear of an uncontrolled environment.

Found a community pool, named the “aquatic centre”, with multiple hot pools. Much cheaper than the touristy places. A really friendly lifeguard gave us the scoop on all the free stuff. Funny lots of people have told us about the free places to go. Nobody has offered to show us the things that cost. I guess we don’t much look like rich tourists.

Found a campground just before Taupo. Nice man running the place. “One of the most easy going campgrounds anywhere”, says one of the long time residents. I like it here. There is a thermal springs walk included in the price. The thing that got the kids excited was the alpacas, the chickens and the peacocks rambling around at will. I imagine the owner bought them or was gifted them, threw them out of the back of the car and told them to “be free and live”. They run around between the campers. Looking for handouts.

We were told that if you go to where they nest you can find some eggs for breakfast.

“Where do they nest?”

“Where they were born.”

Well, of course. Dozens of chickens and ducks and peacocks wander around.

Heard a horrible noise at dusk last night. I was told it was the peahens climbing the tree to go to sleep.

“The peahens sleep in that pine tree behind the house.”

“The peacocks sleep in that tall pine over there.”

The kids come back. I ask them if they know where the peacocks sleep. ”

They sleep in that pinetree over there.”

“How do you know.”

“We saw them climb up.”

Sitting down for a quiet breakfast before the kids get up. Got Andrew his morning tea and placed it outside his tent door.

I look towards the river that soothed me to sleep last night.

“Are there blackberries in the hedgerow?” I did see some as we were looking out over the falls yesterday. Not much of a falls, more of slanted whitewater. I teased the kids asking them to pick them for me. An impossible task as they were reaching over the top of the falls. Yes, blackberries. I pick a bowl for the kids to put on top of their breakfast cereal. Blackberries are really one of the easiest wild foods. When we used to live in San Francisco I knew exactly which month each bush would have ripe fruit. I have never picked blackberries in February before. But after all this is the southern hemisphere and it is early Spring. When we used to live in Australia did I pick blackberries. Don’t remember.

Categories
Hungary

Hungary

We tried to stop in Serbia, honestly we did. We tried to stop in Nis and see the “skull tower” but couldn’t find the city. Really! We tried to stop at the new, modern campground in Belgrade but….. We tried to stop in Novi Sad but missed another big city next to the freeway. We made it to the  border and after spending an hour of going from row to row because they couldn’t decide if we are a bus or a truck or a car we left Serbia. Without meeting a single friendly person we left Serbia. Just must not be our time for Serbia. It was almost like we were chased through.

After no mans land. BtW TJ loves “no mans land”. She will scream out “are we in no mans land? Yea!… we are nowhere!” We made it through the border and I saw lots of little stalls selling vignettes. We weren’t sure what a vignette was but, learning by experience, we stopped the car and looked in our handy, dandy guidebook to see if we needed one. We did need one. It is a compulsary highway tax. We have been fined before for missing a highway tax in Austria and decided to get ours ASAP.

We made it through to Hungary in the evening. We were tired and Hungry (he, he, he, really we were). We went to the first city/town in Hungary. The first campground was closed. Probably due to flooding. 10 km to the next campground. Ooops! It is for naturists (nudists). Naw. not right now. Third one is a spring.

The kids have now declared this to be their favourite campground ever! We are having a nice relaxing Sunday with a beautiful roast chicken.

A spring-fed pool with a couple of slides.


An adventure playpark. TJ and Hannah running back and forth between the pool and the park. Yelling out as they change their clothes from bathers to shorts and back again, “This is the best day EVER!”
Tall trees.
A  roast chicken dinner slowly cooking away in the oven. You savour the aroma as you wait for the taste on your lips. Mmmmmm.
Abigail pops peach muffins in the oven when the chicken comes out. Made with fresh peaches from the side of the road.
Birds singing and little hedgehogs moving about in the grass.
WIFI.
Toilet paper and sit-down toilets.
You know sometimes it is the simple things that make you happiest.
These places always seem to come at just the right time. Right after those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.
Hope your Sunday is as nice and relaxing and refreshing as ours.

Categories
Europe

Macedonia – take 2

We ended up behind a bus at the Macedonian border. The bus was having problems getting through and angry bus passengers were everywhere. We showed our updated car documents in a fancy plastic folder. Andrew noted before that the truckers show a plastic sleeve with insurance documents, listing the names of the countries, showing on one side and ownership papers showing his name on the other. Andrew organized his paperwork accordingly and handed over the car documents and passports, including the dog passport. We got through the border without being asked to pay anything extra – including the special truck insurance they were asking for at the other border. I think we have been going through too many borders lately.

We have finally made it to Macedonia. Andrew will have his meeting and we can slow down the pace a bit.

His meeting is at Lake Ohrid. We spent the day in the town of Ohrid. Food is cheap here – even restaurants.

Saw some fun signs. Should we show it to Sam or do you think it will go to his head?

All the locals recommended staying at camp Gradiste about 30 km from the town. WOW!

Not too shabby of a campsite eh? When we came into the campsite we asked how much. He said he normally charges 10 euro for 2 people and a camping car. Andrew said, “we also have children and a dog.”

“Ahhhh, that’s ok, 10 euro”.

Oh yeah! 10 euro for this!

The facilities are pretty basic. We have electicity, washing up facilities, squat toilets, hot shower (notice I say singular hot shower, there are also 2 cold showers and 3 non-functioning showers). As we have noticed this seems typical for the post-communist world – the facilities can be a bit old-fashioned and run-down but it is very clean, inexpensive and run by people who are friendly and wonderful.

Had an amazing day. Taking out our little blow up boat on the lake and hiking around the coast.

There are these small areas along the coast connected by small, rickety bridges. In these little areas We found such great treasures.

There are clubs in some that open up for 2 months in the summer. If I was in my 20s I would love to discover such hidden clubs for hanging out with the locals. These clubs will start opening up in about a week. The only access to these clubs is the rickety bridges or the narrow stone steps leading up the cliff.

It was great going across these little walkways around the rocks. At one we found an old chapel. How old? Oh, only 1500s!!!

We lit some candles in there. Andrew said that he was lighting his for peace among religious people around the world.

The girls have spent alot of time by the edge of the lake.

and in the lake.

We have also spent alot of time in our little blow up boat. Even Inigo has gone out with us in the boat.

This morning me and Abi got up around 7 and took the boat to the town about 2 km away for groceries. Tomorrow it is Hannah and TJs turn with dad.

What a great place to spend a bit of time. It is beautiful, inexpensive, a bit rough and reasonably undiscovered.

Categories
Albania

Albania

Albania, just the word brings questions and fear. Stories of the poverty. Stories of the horrible roads. Fear of the unknown. Excitement and wonder of the unknown. You might find this hard to believe but me and Andrew have both been intrigued by Albania since before we knew each other. Something about what grows in the dark and in isolation. So Albania has always held a special place in our hearts. The “most closed of communist countries”. The “poorest country in Europe”.  It also had this “familiarity to us. Sometimes reminding us of our beloved Czech Republic, that we lived in for a few years, and sometimes of Morocco, still very dear to us.

First of all, the border. We get to the border and handed over our, ever decreasing, wad of passports and vehicle papers. He asks us to go over to the side to the bus lane. While we are waiting a couple of nice men come up to my window and start chatting. I thought they were bus drivers because they had tags around their necks. While I am chatting with these friendly men the Montenegro man brings back the passports and says we are finished. The man I was talking to asked us if we had our passports now and bid us well. Andrew was shocked. Looking for another border crossing to enter Albania and it wasn’t there.  We realized the men I was chatting with WERE the Albanian border officials. When Andrew realized this, turned around the truck and went back to the border to buy insurance from the shacks on the Albanian side. He remembered that our insurance policy for our truck specifically mentions Albania as a country that they never cover. After chatting with the nice man in the booth for a while and handing over 27 euro he emerges with a very official document that declares us insured.

Lots of animals on the road.

and everywhere.

Sometimes the road here – well – just changes. Sometimes a new road starts sinking into the swamp it was built on or sometimes it is just gone.  I think I can sum up some of the road problems with this quote from TJ. “Dad, where did the road go?” Perhaps there is a new fancy road and then it is just gone. We went on a divided highway with cars going both directions on both halfs.

Andrew had a boyish fascination with the Albanian “for sale signs” signs.

Look closely.

Now we are not yet in the habit of picking up a lot of hitchhikers but this guy – well, we just had to pick him up. We saw him first in Montenegro. Apparently, when he sees a full vehicle that has no room he is in the habit of stretching out his arms and giving them a big smile. He did the same to us, not knowing we actually had room. We thought, “what a nice young man. Andrew added, he looks british”.  The kids really wanted us to pick him up but we were looking for a place to stop. An hour later we saw him AGAIN! Hitchhiking on the side of the road with his big pack. STILL, we didn’t pick him up because – well, surely we will find a place to stop soon. The next day in Albania. WE SAW HIM AGAIN! Yeah, I know, we are travelling at the speed of a hitchhiker. We pulled up to give him a ride but the horse and cart ahead of us gave him a lift first. “Well”, said Andrew, “I think we will see him again. And sure enough, several hours later, there he was on the side of the road again!. Weird huh! His name is Will. He is from Stirling, Scotland and just as nice as he looks. I mean, look at this face – could you resist?

So, after picking up Will we went into Tirane.

We found some amazing apartment buildings. Never seen apartment buildings painted like this. I love it. Without much money for remodelling you can make even  the most run down and mundane of apartments into a work of art. Abi took just a few photos.

Driving through the middle of Tirane we meticulously followed signs to Ebanese until there were no more. Apparently, sometimes they just start ripping up roads with no indication of where to go. After circling the town and finding lots of really great painted apartment buildings we could only find signs out to Durres. Figuring out that sometimes the quickest way to your destination is the opposite way we went towards the coast instead of Macedonia in an effort to take the LONG way around the capital of Albania.

We found a very nice campground down 5 km of crumbling road going through a drained swamp. The campground itself will be great but the road there would probably ruin a white plastic. The only other campers were in 4 wheel drives, for some reason. The campground owner was friendly and wonderful. Dang, we have yet to meet an unfriendly Albanian.

On our way to Macedonia – We got a great meal at a tacky roadside restaurant.

Got some puffy pillow cheese things from the bottom of a woman’s house and practiced English with her young daughter. Bought some Turkish delight and ice cream from a village shop.

Got our car washed.

We must come back! We went to the border. Left Albania, Were refused entry into Macedonia. Turned around, re-entered Albania. Went around the lake. Waved to some dutch people we met the nite before. Went to a village at the bottom of the lake. Found an internet café. Printed off more car documents. Met more nice people. Bought Elizabeth a condensed milk tin with a panda on the side, we collect the strangest things. Went towards the Greek border and left Albania again.

You see,  Albania loves us to. They welcome us back again and again.

Categories
Bosnia/Herzegovnia Croatia France Monaco Spain

Thru the Western Europe South edge

Went thru Western Europe.

After the Dali Museum we dropped off Alana in Italy. We miss giggly, colourful Alana. Now we are only 5. Such a small group. So much less than the 9 we were just a short time ago.

We stopped off in Venice. Dad took lots of touristy pictures of the younger girls feeding the pigeons.

I took the girls to the Leonardo Da Vinci. There were all sorts of machines created from his drawings. We got to touch them and crank them and go inside some of them. Quite fun. We expected Hannah to be in heaven. TJ looked for bones, again, and found them on the wall in some of the paintings. We told her about how DaVinci opened up dead bodies to see how peoples bodies worked on the inside. She thot that was great and would like to do that as well if they let her keep the bones.


We saw some amazing masks in Venice. We bought some plain ones and painted them ourselves.


Andrew has been working on the car electrics. Mixed success.


Abigail got my attention at the grocery store. “Mom”, she said, “That guy is named Jesus”. I told her how that is a reasonably popular name in Spain and Italy. One night in Italy we were parked in one of the  really small and overcrowded rest areas in Italy and this truck driver told us a much better, hidden place to park. Later, we looked at his truck, It said Jesus on the side of it. Thot that was funny so took a photo.

We are now in Croatia. We love Croatia. Not much internet. Sorry for the sparse blog entries. We were last here before TJ was born. We have made it down to Dubrovnik this time. It is a great old city but way too many tourists. We kinda like the hidden fishing villages and the deserted areas best. We found one campground, north of Split, that only cost us 13 euros, no passports needed, no electricity, no trash. Just a couple of clean toilets and a solar shower. An old olive grove. Nice people. We liked that place. Took our blow up Canoe out into the crystal clear water.

We head for places beyond tomorrow. Getting closer and closer to Macedonia. We need to be there by the 9th.

So this is where we have been on this last leg – Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Croatia and Bosnia/Herzegovnia.

Highlights.

Spain – Dali Museum, Beneficio, Salami.

France – great picnic areas to stop at for the night, Motorhome shops, FOOD.

Monaco – well, didn’t see much of it, couldn’t find where to park our big truck – but we went through this tiny country.

Italy – Lasagna, Pizza, Pizza, Pizza – always great pizza – we love pizza – Venice – ice cream – food – downside, can they make their rest areas any smaller. We had to stop so early in the day just to get a spot to park at the rest areas for the nite – poor truck drivers.

Croatia – bakeries, small cheap campgrounds, crystal clear water.

Bosnia/Herzegovnia – we only went through about 7 km of it but it was quite thrilling it being in the news and all. We saw gunshots in a sign. Ooooooh! We saw a bolder in the road and the car that hit it. Ooooooh! What excitement!

What fun. Bit tired. lLots of driving. Looking forward to staying put some when we get to Macedonia. Also, looking forward to seeing some friends.

Categories
Morocco

Where’s Waldo or Wally or Andrew?

Spent the morning studying and writing then took off hiking in the afternoon. We hiked through the farmland to get to the famous waterfalls. BTW that is a real, live kitten sticking its head out of TJs backpack. It is not our kitten. She is Karim’s. Her name is Karima.

Hannah quickly took over the lead when she found her walking stick. She was living out her alter-ego of Indiehannah Jones.

After about an hour we got to the top of the falls. Andrew stopped to take his epic Hasselblad (old school medium format camera)photo. You know, nothing prepares you for a sight like that. Seeing photos we think we have seen it all but to see a wonder like this up close and personal. I guess it is awe but it is also a lump in your throat or takes your breath away. All these statements seem inadequate because they have been cheapened by overuse. So when I came back down to earth  I was keen to get the kids away from the cliff edge so the rest of us walked ahead. We walked for a bit then waited and waited…. and no Andrew. The rest of the day was a constant game of “Where’s Andrew?” I don’t worry about Andrew when we lose him. We lose him alot but today it became a game, a treasure hunt that kept us going.

So, Karim asked one man if he saw the tall man with the green backpack. The man said he went down the hill with others. Great. We were going down too. We weaved back and forth down the hill. Finally catching up to green arrows painted on rocks to a place called Du Vue. Not sure what it was but it was down.

The last step to Du Vue was a rickety bridge.

Oh yeah, your eyes are not deceiving you this rickety bridge is made out of recycled crates etc. Just like in the movies with the hero standing at the edge of a suspicious looking bridge. I guess I have to admit, our drop would not be as severe, but, quite adventurous feeling all the same.


The man at Du Vue had seen the mysterious man with the green backpack. Apparently he stopped for a cup of tea, checked out the camping for future reference and continued across THAT bridge. But THAT bridge is the one that the kids saw and said “Well, good thing we don’t have to cross THAT bridge it is much longer and more rickety looking.”

Cross THAT bridge we did and continued our treck. As we trekked closer and closer to the falls we passed wonders like heart shaped leaves and fig trees and lots of bamboo. We also went through more very amazing little campgrounds. Ones that you would trek down the falls with your tent on your back to stay in. Ooooh! What fun. As we got near the base of the falls and felt the overspray we caught a little pontoon boat across the river and found.

Monkeys!!! Actually mountain baboons. We spent ages watching these two. One grooming the other. We really felt like tourists, Oooohing and Ahhhhing, but none of us had ever seen monkeys or baboons of any sort in the wild before. Only in the zoo. As time goes on I enjoy the zoos less and less as I see animals in cages. Even fancy cages – they are still cages. But these baboons weren’t in cages they were frolicking about on funny looking rocks.

Another thing we found on the other side was stairs. All the way up to the top. How boring it would have been to come down the stairs when we had such an adventurous route. It was nice to climb up the stairs as it was getting late.

Oh yeah, Where’s Andrew? I almost forgot. We were so excited about the baboons. The man with the pontoon boat said that he saw him about half an hour ago and he went back up the cliff on the same side. We thought if we went up the other side we would be able to see him better as there are too many paths going up and down – or we would have seen him before. We decided to go up the other side. There were also those beautiful stairs.

When we reached the top on the other side we still could not find Andrew. As we were hanging out by the road Karim heard some of the locals yell out “Here come the hippies!” And in drove Andrew in our truck. Just like the cavalry. You see, by this time it was dark. We had a great time telling stories to each other about our day.

Andrew told us about the HUGE snake he saw. When we asked how big he made a circle with both hands. Uhhh. yeah. I am sure this is not one of those fishing stories.

We told him about the baboons. TJ emphasizing that the baboons have hands just like us and that one kept smacking the other on the but (said with great animation) and kept finding bugs on the other and eating them. Yuck!

Well, I just have to say that I am glad we found baboons instead of snakes.

We had a semi-warm hammam before going to bed. Haven’t been able to clean up since… hmmm…. I think Safi. We feel clean, and tired, we slept well. We will need to go back up to the German family as Andrew left some things behind there and the other german family we met in Tagazout have arrived and we want to quit just crossing paths and spend some time together.

I will end my post with my wish for you from the wall of the  “Bob Marley Paradise ” we saw at the most extreme edge of our days adventures.

SEIZE THE DAY! Oh yeah! We have but one life – let’s live it!

Categories
Morocco

TJs Birthday

TJ has been having a great birthday. We had to do alot of driving on the actual day so we did as we do so many times when we cant fit everything in and have made TJs birthday 3 days long. So, on the day we drove alot while the girls watched a movie on the computer and ate popcorn.

We arrived at a very special campground and waterpark. Yeah! a waterpark. Bright colours and lots of slides and water. We decided to wild camp, as the campground is really expensive, when you count how many people we are. They want to charge the same for all the kids and adults. We will come back in for a full day of playing in the waterpark. Some of our friends, Ales and Karim, have come with us so that makes it a birthday party. TJ has been to pools with slides but never a waterpark. This is TJs big birthday gift – a birthday party at a waterpark.

The wild camping was great. Karim found it. We are just north of Tagazhout (really nice surfing town) at some ruins on the beach. There were lots of little fishing boats out last night as it was a full-moon which apparently makes for great fishing. Abi and Alana made apple pie.

We all ate it from the tin.

Some other wild campers came up in their van to camp with us last night. Melle is a fashion designer. Very cool clothes but a bit fancy for me. She has been living in her van for 5 years and has fixed it up real nice. She doesnt have alot of suff so her van feels really spacious. She sells clothes through her website and her mom sends things out to people. I looked up her website at www.rhizome-fr.com and it doesnt seem to be working right now. Maybe later

It was a great nite. We had great food, great friends and even a guard dog that loyally sat outside our truck all night. When it got dark, Karim made a huge bonfire – as he loves to do and we finished off the night with some jamming.