BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

See you later Malaga, we're off to Melilla. 

Thursday 14/2/13

We had a very "easy" day planned today. Our ferry was due to depart port at one pm, so we had plenty of time and didn't need to rush anything. With the bike packed and ready to go we checked out of our hotel and wobbled off down the road like a fat walrus chasing a fish. I hate to think what BMW would say if they knew how much weight this poor bike is carrying. It was all good though, all we had to do was...

  • Make a quick visit to the bank to sort something out - FAIL. What Westpac told us before we left Australia isn't exactly correct. We couldn't do what they told us we could.
  • Fill the bike up with fuel - FAIL. Can you believe we couldn't find a petrol station?
  • Catch the ferry to Melilla. - PASS. We actually got on the ferry. 
We received a small lesson in Spanish and geography from the policeman at the port gate when we asked if we were in the right place to board the ferry to Morocco...

1. It's not Morocco, it Morroc

2. It's not Melilla, it Meia (Think M ear)
3. Melilla is not in Morocco, it's in Spain

We were penalised for speaking Australian and sent to wait in the car park for ten minutes. OK, it was really because the gate didn't open for ten minutes.

Then we were on our way to the ferry. I had a bit of an oops as we rode on through. I managed to hit the side of the boat pretty hard while we were boarding. Yes, I ran into a boat. The ramps to the upper decks of the ferry are very steep. There are traction strips put down where the car wheels run, but the middle is bare, and looks very slippery to me. So I tried to ride up the side on one of the traction strips, got a little off balance, and hit the side of the boat with my bars. It was fine, but Suzanne did get a bit of a "surprise". Anyway, we made it up two decks and the bike was tied down ready for the seven and a half hour crossing to Africa. The poor BM has it's first battle scar.

Here we go again.

Up the ramp on the right.
Oops. Bang!

Tucking the BM in, safe and sound.

 Goodbye Malaga, it was fun.

Malaga has a very pretty port.

Our last Spanish sun set.
For a while.

As I explained above, Melilla isn't actually Africa. It's on the African continent but it's a Spanish territory, so technically we were still in Spain. Maybe Spain will give Melilla back to Morocco like they want the English to return Gibraltar to them? Ohhhhhh, international politics in my little blog.

We found our way to the lounge / bar area on the boat (big surprise) and settled in for the seven and a half hour trip. We enjoyed a few cold drinks and a feed. The only thing we didn't like was that they had two TVs going, and they were on different channels. They were in competition with the music being piped through the ship. Combine that with the voices in Suzanne's head and it was crazy time. 

We moved on to the seating area that is full of aircraft style seats. The good thing is that they were three wide, without armrests, so we could stretch out and have a sleep. We managed a couple of hours kip before we docked in Melilla.

We rode very carefully down the ramps of the boat and then into town. It was dark, and we were looking for a hotel. Within minutes a "fixer" saw us, welcomed us to Melilla, and asked if we were looking for a hotel. (Fixers are everywhere in Africa. They are "extremely" friendly and will do / procure / organise anything for you, at a price.) Obviously we said yes, not knowing how things worked at that stage, so this guy told us to follow him. He ran down the road in front of us and we followed thinking how helpful this guy was. A minute later he pointed at two hotels and thought his job was done. Suzanne checked both hotels and they were too expensive. Our fixer walked away empty handed, and we rode away with out a bed for the night.

We reverted to out usual procedure of finding a cafe with WiFi and finding a cheap hotel on line. This system works very well, although we do sometimes have a few geographical embarrassmants finding the hotel we have booked.

A little cafe around the corner provided us with WiFi  and a good Tapas menu, so we were happy. We were even happier when we booked a room at the hotel around the corner we had just been to for fifteen euros less than they quoted us walking on the door. Score! A one minute ride and we were in our hotel.

I made a new friend while Suzanne completed the paperwork.

It was a pretty good hotel and we enjoyed a good night's sleep in preparation for entering Africa in the morning.

Our first stop will be Fes, then Casablanca, Marrakesh, and finally Ouarzazate via the Tizi N' Tichka Pass in the High Atlas Mountains. When we are in Ouarzazate, I'll just have to roll the BMW's wheels into the Sahara Desert won't I?

Will Suzanne sit on the back while I tackle the dunes?

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