Sunday, 14 March 2010

It gets warmer and sunnier the further south you go doesn't it?



My flamenco-mad daughter invited me to join her at the annual flamenco festival in Jerez, Andalucia, Southern Spain at the end of February. Imagining riding off the ferry on my Enfield in warm sunshine, if not sweltering heat, I readily agreed. Allowing myself ten days for the journey down through Spain, I was wrong on both counts. Firstly, the bike wouldn't start on arrival in Santander and a kind Geordie had to do it for me when he saw me flagging, and with a "I'll help you, Pet", he got the Enfield going. Neither was it warm and sunny, but 'Hey, it'll warm up the further south I go'.
It didn't and not heeding advice to avoid mountains, over the Cantbrians I went and encountered snow.
The rain in Spain fell mostly on me all the way to Jerez and I saw Puentenansa, Medina de Rioseco, Salamanca, Merida, Seville and finally Jerez at their wettest for decades. Just to make matters worse, I was struggling with an undiagnosed problem with the bike. After much help and advice from friends via the internet I had a new ignition coil fitted in Jerez and it has done the trick. No more screaming, unhappy engine at the end of the day.
The days spent with my daughter at the flamenco festival were outstanding. Much dancing, tapas and sherry enjoyed, she flew home and I met up with Archie, my fellow motorcycling friend on his way back to the UK after a tour of Africa on his Trans Alp. More rain.
Surely in Morocco it will be warm and dry?
Not so and I got soaked daily but the day I got a puncture thanks to the sharp end of a discarded screwdriver was the worst. It was bucketing down and my luggage was all but floating away at the side of the road during the fitting of a new tube. Had it not been for the help of some lovely Moroccan chaps, I think I would have burst into tears and gone home without the bike! But I stayed in a village, dried out and cheered up due to the warmth of the people there and am now in Marrakech. The sun came out yesterday and I took one of my three jumpers off. I am happy to report that at the moment the only pouring going on is delicious fresh orange juice and mint tea as I laze on the roof terrace of a very smart cafe.

Off to the Sahara next!