Heroes! (HGV Drivers)

In Italy we found motorway driving very different from the UK. There seemed to be a free-for-all attitude and scant regard for fellow road users.  Lane discipline was non-existent and any manoeuvre seemed to be carried out at breakneck speed.

Some years ago we were held up on an Italian motorway because there was an accident ahead.  A car near us was not prepared to wait and moved on to the hard shoulder to reverse at high speed back up the motorway.  His progress was abruptly halted by convoy of emergency vehicles hurtling down the hard shoulder towards him.  Fortunately he managed to get out of the way just before the flashing blue lights sped past.

Extensive roadworks on the A10 to Genoa meant that traffic was regularly reduced from two lanes to one.  This caused a traffic snarl up at each pinch point when impatient drivers roared down the fast lane to be first at the point where two lanes merged.   On several occasions we saw this situation neatly resolved by a skilled “King of the Road” positioning his lorry straddling both lanes just short of the blockage, thus preventing fast moving vehicles behind overtaking or undertaking as they raced for the gap.  As we approached Genoa in the slow lane we passed yet another “lanes merge” sign. Behind us a brave HGV driver ignored the angry car horns and positioned himself in the fast lane right behind us, moving at the same speed as our truck.  No boy racer could get past us and we all proceeded in a regulated convoy towards the narrowing carriageway – ensuring an even flow of traffic and no blockages.  Sometimes I just love it when the rule of law triumphs!

Illegal phone card sellers scampered up 15 metre high fences

Our ferry left Genoa at 1600 hours and arrived at Tanger Med two sleeps later at 1700 hours, calling at Barcelona en route. Entering Morocco had always been long winded and stressful but we were kept entertained by the antics of a dozen or so youths who had clambered over the high security fences and were selling phone cards to disembarking passengers. The security police were chasing them but without much vigour and, when cornered, the young men merely climbed up and sat at the top of the fence until the guards went away.

When it was our turn to be processed the immigration officials were extremely polite, almost friendly. A Customs officer asked if he could come on board and gave the truck a cursory look inside; a dog handler inspected the outside of the truck. Nobody asked to see our COVID papers. A mere two hours after disembarking we were driving along the motorway towards Chefchaouen in the Rif Mountains.