France, Spain, Morocco from the Truck

Trip Start Dec 27, 2010
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Where I stayed
Top bunk of Barry's Cabin

Flag of Morocco  , Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaër,
Tuesday, January 4, 2011

From the "meeting point" the shell service station Barry me and the other truck also travelling with us, driven by Steve took off. The first night we drove out of Belgium, crossed the border in France. Drove the ring road over Paris, Barry pointed out the Eiffel tower for me which you could see from the road. And after a few hours we parked up at a rest stop to sleep for the night.

The next morning we drove through France, the beautiful countryside. Farms, old buildings, trees still sprinkled with snow. We then drove through the wine region of Bordeaux, driving past many vineyards and some rolling hills and old castles. Every 4 hours the drivers must stop for a half hour. So somewhere in France we stopped and Steve got out his gas stove and a frying pan and we heated up the lasagne I made and had a picnic in the truck. After a while we got close to the Spanish border. As we did, the scenery began to change to mountains and hills scattered with houses all identical.

 We drove a little while through Spain before unloading the cattle at a farm in Mirana de ebro. The laws say that every 2 days the animals must be unloaded from the truck and allowed to rest for 24 hours. We unload into a pin the 66 milking cows, 33 in each truck and then head to the nearby service for some San Miguel and Spanish red wine. Then a truckers feast for 9 euro a 3 course meal choice of starter main and desert. The next day we went for a walk into the town along the river it was nice. We read in the paper that there was a festival on that night to celebrate the 3 kings. So we followed the crowds, they headed towards the train station, know idea what was happening we waited by the station with a huge group of children and people. Then a trained showed up and the 3 kings got off and started throwing candy etc and then a big parade through the town. Then we went back to the service for another 3 course feed and then bed (Bunk bed in the cabin, above Barry).  The next morning up early and to the farm to load the cattle again.

Barry let me stay in bed while they loaded up the cattle and took off then I roll out of bed into my seat for another day of driving through Spain. The farms, rolling hills, desert and some abonded castles made it interesting. Stayed again that night in Spain, and woke early the next morning to head to the port and put the animals through customs etc. This took about 6 hours until we were finally on the ferry heading to Africa! The ferry from Spain to Morocco takes only an hour and leaves the Spanish coastline for the Moroccan border. We then drove the truck off the boat and along the Tange coastline of Morocco at sunset. Everything definatly changes as you cross from Europe to Africa. The red dirt, the farms, we even spotted wild camels by the road. Some people so poor they live in tents by the side of the road. It is unsafe, even unloading was hard with 10 Morocon men surrounding the truck at night and trying to get into the cabin when you turn your back. That night Steve and Barry both slept with baseball bats and the next morning we were happy to be on the road again back to the port. 

Back then to Spain for another night and the next morning we took the scenic route back to France we drove along the Spanish coast line and it's palm trees, sunshine and hotels lined the road. We then passed through the Spanish mountains, and the rolling hills covered with farms, mostly olive trees and drove over Madrid. It was a beautiful day of driving.

 The next day we then continued through Spain and eventually reached the French border. Spent the  night in France. The next morning waking early to cook bacon and eggs for Steve and Barry, as a thankyou. Something thing they don’t eat much of in Belgium, a hot breakfast.  We drove through France until we reached another farm we ate lunch in a restaurant in a small village.  After a lot of waiting we were finally ready to load the next lot of cattle at the farm. We then drove through the night close to the border of Italy. I then swapped trucks, as Barry didn’t quite go as far south into Italy as I needed. So after a teary goodbye to Barry and big hugs we said goodbye! Or see you soon, hopefully January when he hopes to visit me in Australia. I then met Dirk and his 180 pigs and we drove over the mountains as the sun came up and into Italy. We drove across the north of Italy and then down the coastline. It was very beautiful, many old towns on the mountain side, many vineyards and olive farms along the ocean and the hills. Until we reached Vasto, my stop. So we said goodbye and I was met by Grazia (my second cousin) and taken to their farm to see the family and begin the next chapter in my journey.

P.s Big Thankyou to Barry and Steve for having me and taking great care of me. Thankyou for your generosity and for opening up to me. I enjoyed getting to know you and travelling with you and will never  forget it! I had such a great journey.  And thankyou to Dirk for also taking care of me for the one day and waiting for me as Barry sped to meet him. I had a good day driving through Italy and very much enjoyed the nutella croissant and Italian coffee :  )
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