We were excited! We had filled up with fuel, water and provisions and were also full of anticipation for the 5 day trek across the rolling sand dunes of the Sahara desert. We were following the coast road so had romantic images of crashing waves on one side, endless dunes on the other….maybe a Bedouin or two??!!
If any of you have travelled the Western Sahara you will be laughing by now, or least shaking your heads!
We have just spent 5 days of our lives that we will never get back!! When travellers report this part of the country as being ´full of nothing´ they don´t mean it in a romantic, beautiful way. It´s just dull! Industrial, rocky, smoggy…..my camera hardly came out once.
In fact, I deliberately took it out to take some photos for this blog which was writing itself as we drove. Take a look for yourselves!
If you´re bored looking at those pictures, just imagine how we felt with this as our only view for 5 days!
There were even some dull, souless towns scattered around. This is not the Sahara we had imagined. This was, well, dull!
When Morocco annexed the country in the 1970s the first things they did was build a huge strip of tarmac from one end to the other. Then they started quarrying, oil refineries sprung up, electricity pylons. The scale of the work is, I admit, impressive.
There were some highlights I will admit. But don´t hold your breath!!
We passed the time on lunch breaks taking our mind off things.
And there was some genuine excitement as we reached a notable milestone in our travels.
But eventually on the fifth day we woke to find the sun trying to break through and a much prettier landscape started to slowly appear around us.
Out last night before crossing into Mauritania we camped in the dunes with a multitude of stars overhead. Finally we had made it through!
I am typing this sitting at the Mauritanian border waiting whilst passports and Henry are checked over like they have never been checked before. Mauritania is a strict Muslim county so no alcohol at all and I am sweltering in my fleece as I have to have my arms covered.
What awaits us over the next 7 days? Who knows, this is not a country we know anything about at all and the adventure is really starting to kick in. Even the Western Sahara has not managed to dampen our spirits, try as it might! A new country, new culture, new adventure….we´re on our way.