Tuesday, 4 August 2015


Here we go again. What a mad, mixed and volatile summer weather it’s turning out to be back in the UK. One minute record temps then it were back to floods, wind and cold …… Crazy!

Yet again industrial action and immigration mayhem at the Calais Channel crossing points appeared, with the inevitable disruption, leading to hours and hours of delays for trucks and the unnerving stress and anxiety for the light vehicle traveller.

Are we gloating or laughing? Of course not, the knock-on effect is both far reaching and widespread where the common cry throughout the usual motor home/caravan holiday destinations are “Where are all the Brits?” 
Don’t be put off ….. The Pound-Euro exchange rates are better than excellent and down here in Southern Spain we have the predictable sun, sun and more sun ……… perhaps too much sun!

As expected we have received a late rush of enquirers asking for last-minute availability on this year’s autumn and winter tours. Unfortunately, as was shown on last month’s tour listings, we have NOTHING left with ALL tours, next availability is next March.

If a particular date shows full it is still worth giving us a call, you may just catch a cancellation.


On the return leg, back up the coastal road, many of our “Classic Tour” clients stop-off at Casablanca. I have to admit and say that Casa is not my favorite city, but that’s just me, others love it.   
The BBC and its prestigious rankings have once again created a poll. This time, with the help of 62 film critics, they have come up with a list of the 100 Greatest American Films in History. Once again the movie Casablanca is there and has climbed to ninth place in the list of feature films.

Casablanca has won three Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Casablanca is a 1942 American romantic drama directed by Michael Curtiz and based on Murray Burnett and Joan Allison’s play “Everybody Comes to Rick’s”. Played by actors Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, the movie tells the story of an American expatriate named Rick Blaine who runs a nightclub in Casablanca during the early part of WWII.

The nightclub becomes a haven for those in need of illicit letters of transit to escape to America.  Rick is one day approached by a political leader looking for help to escape, along with his wife Lisa, who happens to be Rick's greatest love.

During WWII Casablanca was, indeed, considered a refuge for many exiles. Even though the entire film was centered in the Moroccan economic capital of that time, not a single scene of the entire film was actually shot in Morocco.
Casablanca’s famous love triangle has lead the way and inspired many more films. Growing its reputation over time, the fantastic performances of its stars and those memorable quotes, this film does deserve its ranking. One of the best movie quotes of all time and my personal favorite “We will always have Paris”.

I don’t want to spoil the fantasy but you will probably already know that there never was a real Ricks Café. But if you want to track the illusion firstly be wary of the many fakes of the fake café that every taxi driver will guide you too and head for the Ricks Café in Casablanca shown on this link.


Next time you stand on a rain soaked platform, waiting for that late arrival only to spend the next few hours standing in an overcrowded cattle truck……spare a thought……lol
When the notion of a high speed train running from Tangier to Casablanca was first floated, few believed it would come to fruition. Now the skeptics have been proved wrong and the project is well underway. The first of the 14 trains on order arrived in Morocco at the end of July and after reassembly will undergo a series of static and dynamic tests. It is expected that the train will also be tested on the existing conventional network from the last quarter of this year before being tested on the high speed line. Each train set will include two power cars and eight intermediate carriages including two first class, five second class and one buffet vehicle. Each double-deck train will seat up to 533 passengers.
But there is more. Morocco is already thinking about a high-speed network of 1500 km by 2030. This would involve two rail openings; one north Europe and the other to the Maghreb in the east.

The line currently under construction, called “the Atlantic line,” linking Tangier to Casablanca, will be developed simultaneously to the south and north. To the south the line will extend 900 km to the city of Agadir. And to the north, the Atlantic line will connect to the European network via a tunnel under the Strait of Gibraltar.
When completed Rabat will be four hours from Madrid and eight hours from Paris. Morocco also plans a route named 'online Maghreb' 'of 600 km, linking Casablanca, Rabat and Oujda. In the future it is hoped and planned that the Maghreb line will be extended even further, finally reaching Algiers….

The Moroccan TGV will run at an operating speed of 320 km per hour. Leaving every hour it is intended they will travel from Tangier to Kenitra in 47 minutes instead of 3:15 today, to Rabat in 1 hour 20 minutes against 3:45 today and in Casablanca in 2:10 against 4:45 now. It is expected that the first section of the TGV Tangier - Casablanca, will carry between 6 and 8 million passengers every year as against 3.5 million today.

Morocco is ranked fourth in a list of top ten destinations for responsible tourism, after Madagascar in third, Brazil in second, and Costa Rica ranked first.
The poll said that the Morocco’s Atlas Mountains offer a responsible tourism par excellence. “This piece of land is interesting, since allows visitors to discover the rich culture of Morocco and its arts of life, such as the music of Gnawa, and the cosmetics workshops in the Ourika Valley.”
The French newspaper, La Parisian, said that travelling over the landscape in this fashion, just as the local people do, provides tourists with a rewarding way to gain insight into the ancient cultures and untamed landscapes of this magical land. Le Parisian also urged tourists to go on excursions on camels to the Moroccan desert to meet local people and discover the area’s extraordinary biodiversity.
Le Parisian assures tourists it is easy to find sustainable accommodation, [such as guest houses, eco-lodges, etc.] thanks to the several ecotourism solutions that have been implemented in Morocco. New and improved campsites are also on the increase.

Morocco welcomed 10.3 million tourists in 2014, a gain of 2.4 percent compared to 2013, according to the Moroccan National Tourism Office. The office said the rate of tourists’ arrivals from Bologna, UK and Scandinavian countries grew in 2014, while the number of holidaymakers from France decreased.
More importantly for those reading here ……… Enterprising Moroccans seem at last to have got the message with a number of top class camping locations under construction or already open and operational.

The Moroccan Tourism Minister Lahcen Haddad said the terrorist attack on Tunisia’s Sousse has had no direct impact on the cancellation of tourists booking to Morocco.  He expected 2 million tourists to visit Morocco this summer.
Moroccan Minister of Tourism has organized several activities over the past two years as part of the effort to promote tourism in Morocco, including trips for travel agents and media workshops. The ministry also organized 17 trips for 140 journalists from countries that sent the highest numbers of tourists to the country.
Tourism is the second largest economic sector in Morocco. It accounts for around 8 percent of GDP, employing some 500,000 people, and the government hopes to see the number of visitors rise to 20 million by 2022.


The one-off example of the impressive Bugatti Veyron appropriately named ‘La Finale’, was recently spotted in Tangier, Northern Morocco.
Dubbed as Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse ‘La Finale,’ this expensive and rare car marks the end of the 450 Veyron production lines.
The ‘La finale’ [meaning “the last one” in French] was snapped days ago being unloaded from a transporter in Tangier, however it is reported that the car will eventually reside in Gibraltar where it will inevitably become one of the area’s most coveted and exclusive cars.

This is the first time that the 1,183-horsepower car has been spotted in the streets. It was first revealed to the public in March at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.
It had been sold in February 2015 to a wealthy Middle Eastern buyer, for his own private collection.
The car’s price tag was not mentioned, but it is said to have cost more than the average price of a Veyron, estimated at 2.3 million euros ($2.6 million).
It’s thought that the mystery owner, who spends most of his time in Gibraltar, has several other Veyrons, including one each of the six Les Légendes de Bugatti special editions. Also in the collection is said to be the one-off Lamborghini Aventador J, a Lamborghini Reventon and an Aston Martin One-77.”

On July 30, 2015 King Mohammed VI touched on a variety of issues during his “Throne Day” Royal Speech in order to consolidate current initiatives. In last year’s speech, he had diagnosed the problems that slow development.
This year, the King announced the launch of a major project with an estimated budget of MAD 50 billion to upgrade remote areas located in the Atlas, the Rif, Saharan areas, and some coastal plains and villages.
He had previously instructed the Minister of the Interior, who is in charge of territorial communities, to conduct a field study of those who live in precarious conditions. The King shared, “The study was nationwide and covered more than 29,000 villages (douars), and no fewer than 1,272 local communities…”
The field study looked to identify the needs of every douar and region in “terms of infrastructure and basic social services, such as education, health, water, electric power, and rural roads” said the King.
The monarch supplied facts sharing that ‘around 20,800 projects have also been screened. They target a population of more than 12 million people, living in over 24,000 douars, with an overall budget nearing 50 billion dirhams”.
This is the second phase of the National Initiative for Human Development. The King was keen to personally announce this project to avoid politician recovery from other parties in this pre-election period. In order to bridge the social gap he said: “This effort to improve the living conditions of citizens is not limited to rural and remote areas. It also targets suburbs and slums in urban areas”.
This program will take several years to complete and the monarch is aware of its ambitious social goals. “I urge the Government to develop an integrated plan of action, built on partnerships between all government agencies and the institutions concerned, with a view to providing funding for the projects and drawing up a precise timetable for their implementation”.
Furthermore, King Mohammed VI addressed the people on a personal level by saying, “All you experience in life is of interest to me: what hurts you affects me, and what makes you happy, rejoices me. Your worries are my top priorities.”


Many who join our tour try to recreate some of the fantastic Moroccan dishes we enjoy while there………..with mixed results!

This one is so easy, takes hardly ant preparation as it a great BBQ dish…….try it and bring back memories………

These flavorful kebabs can be made with either chicken or turkey breast. Marinate the meat several hours for best results. You can serve kebabs as an appetizer or part of a multi-course meal, but they also make a great side-dish.
  • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken or turkey breast, cut into 3/4" cubes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed saffron threads optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Combine all ingredients except the chicken. Add the chicken, and mix well to fully coat the meat. Cover with plastic, and leave the chicken to marinate for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Transfer the chicken to skewers and grill charcoal for about 4 or 5 minutes on each side, or until the meat is done. Serve immediately.

You should get around 8 to 10 large skewers.