Rolling out of the village with 4 bicycles and a wheelchair strapped to the roof, it was Abengourou or bust on 17th December 2016. I really had the jitters, worried about too many things and whether Christophe and I would get on for the next week or so. He had booked as far as Nouakchott via BlaBlaCar, a car pooling website, we'd never met but had chatted on the phone twice, I had a copy of his passport but that was for the ferry booking. I found him in a McDonalds in Perpignan just before the Spanish border, he'd caught the train from Avignon early that morning to be able to meet me. Christophe looked sane and friendly, the manager of the branch offered me a free coffee totally out of the blue; things were starting to come together, I downed the coffee and we hit the road south!
|Leaving my small French village|
I'd been invited to meet Rosalia & Juancar via the internet. They were looking for information on travelling in Africa & it turns out they had already bought a vehicle but only Juancar had been to Morocco, not any further south. Very kindly both Christophe & I were offered beds for the night in return for information about the road south and how to travel in sub-saharan Africa.
The road from Barcelona should turn into the AP-7 and the A-7, friends told me it wasn't easy to find the A-7 which is toll free but just follow the signs they said. We did, to no avail! Poor Christophe was doing most of the driving at this point and I kept navigating him onto the N-340, it was getting darker all the time. We rejoined & exited the AP-7 on numerous occasions but finally gave up, bit the bullet and paid the tolls until we turned right at a windy and rainswept Valencia to head into the hills and Utiel.
|In Utiel: Christophe, Juancar, Rosalia & her mother|
|An hour or so heading west out of Utiel|
|Fantastic chocolate with excellent ethics!|