We set off for the port at 7 am, our ferry from Algeceiras to Tangiers Med left at 8 am. The journey took less than two hours and during that time all passengers had to present their passports to an immigration officer for stamping before we landed in Morocco. Once ashore we passed through a series of official checks for Customs and Immigration; we had filled out a number of forms and these had to be handed in and stamped before we could move on to next check. Then the van was checked inside and out. The whole procedure took at least half an hour but finally we were issued with our exit papers which we presented at the final barrier and then we were clear of the port authorities. We were in Africa!
We drove for a couple of hours along the Mediterranean coast to the seaside town of Martil. The coast road was all dual carriageway and we passed mile upon mile of recently built holiday developments, some with golf courses. The developments were attractive, low rise and painted white – and were set well back from the main road. It was a major area for holiday makers, mainly French. Our destination, Martil, was a European styled town with a long wide sandy beach, fishermen’s boats at one end and a wide esplanade the length of the beach.
We stayed overnight in a large car park just above the fisherman’s beach with a young attendant who watched over the vans whilst we walked the short distance into town.
We had a meal at one of the many fish restaurants. We had a large Moroccan salad which contained rice, potatoes, vegetables, fruit and topped with tinned tuna. Then we had an enormous plate of grilled fish, squid and prawns – there was so much fish that we couldn’t eat it all, although we managed a dessert of crème caramel. The bill was 279 dirhams = £20 but, of course, no wine.
Later we walked through the town, the streets were lined with hundreds of stalls, all selling the type of stuff you would find at a car boot sale. We heard the loudspeakers call the men to prayer and watched them, young and old, smart or scruffy, all hurrying to the mosque, removing their shoes before they entered the building to pray.