We purchased return ferry tickets, costing €200, Algeciras to Tangier Med, from a booth on a retail park near the port. Ferry passengers were allowed to spend the night before travel parked up in the retail park. We chose to travel the following morning on the 6am ferry, which meant waking up at 5.45. It was pitch dark and somehow we missed the ferry port turning off the dual carriageway. We could see where we needed to be but ended up totally lost on an industrial area miles from anywhere. Fortunately we were able to switch on the TomTom navigator and we were soon back on the port road, arriving twenty minutes before the ferry was due to leave – plenty of time as the ferries never seemed to leave when they were supposed to.
We docked at Tangier Med at 8 am as it was getting light. We had registered our passports with immigration during the ferry crossing and it took a further twenty minutes or so to clear Customs who didn’t seem particularly interested in us (we were aware we had more alcohol than we should on board). Once our paperwork had been checked the only thing they asked us was whether we had any “pistoles” which we took to mean guns.
We were soon on the road heading south for Chefchaouen high in the Rif mountains, due south of Tangier Med. The drive was only about 70 miles but it took several hours as the road surfaces were dusty and often uneven and, if you were travelling too fast and hit a rough patch, the contents of cupboards rattled and crashed alarmingly. We also had to negotiate herds of goats at the roadside, stray dogs everywhere and heavy lorries hurtling towards us in the middle of the road as well as cars overtaking at breakneck speed on blind corners. We drove very carefully. It was a beautiful drive in glorious sunshine up into the Rif mountains.