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About Around The World In 800 Days

Andy Smith and Emma Smart are two valiant adventurers who are driving around the entire world stopping occasionally to help out at chosen charities for a month at a time.

Trip Start: 2013-12-31 Trip End: 2012-06-01 .

Author Archive | Around The World In 800 Days

Costa del Shanty

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Restricted by wild camping ‘rules’ in built-up Europe we frequently succumbed to regimented official campgrounds. We discovered our single-night ‘touring’ system left us in the minority. Dominating these expanses of enclosed sandy lanes and numbered plots were row upon row of permanent pitches inhabited by holidaying locals. Fiesta and Siesta Shanty style.Every inch of an 80m² plot is utilised and fortified;…

In Memory of Mum

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Regular followers of our blog will know that ‘adventuring’ has been temporarily on hold since August 2012 so we could spend some time with my parents, both of whom had been diagnosed with Cancer. Sadly on the 3rd February my mum passed away after a long battle with Peritoneal Cancer.
Despite being a natural worrier my mum was always incredibly…

What’s All the Fez About?

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The gateway Bab Boujeloud stands proudly as the entrance to the ancient city of Fes, beckoning you to enter through its asymmetrical opening into the frantic bustle beyond. From here the streets taper into narrow passageways of vibrant city dwellers.
Unlike its cosmopolitan counterpart, Marrakech, with its throng of tourist groups, Fes maintains a genial mixture of sightseers and everyday…

Lost in Translation (STRONG LANGUAGE WARNING)

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P-Cunt! A curious name for a shop, I thought to myself whilst fumbling for the camera with a smirk, I wonder what it sells? Unfortunately (or thankfully) the owners of P-Cunt are probably unaware of how amusing the sign above their door is and can be forgiven for their faux pas.
English, I’ve been told, is a very difficult language…

2½ Minutes Overlanding in Morocco

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Our trip to the Adventure Travel Film Festival was seemingly rather inspiring. Over the last year we’ve shot hours and hours of (shakey) footage and despite making the odd VLOG we’ve never really got to grips with the ‘ins and outs’ of the editing software. All that is about to change. We’re going to take more footage and make more…

Adventure Travel Film Festival

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As far as overland expo’s and festivals go, it’s not very often we find ourselves in the right place at the right time.  So imagine our delight when we discovered that the Adventure Travel Film Festival (ATFF) was only one day away and then to discover it was located just 30minutes down the road! I nearly wet myself with excitement.…

Berber Breakfast

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When travelling it’s often the spontaneous events, the unplanned, the chance meetings and getting lost which result in the most memorable experiences. When venturing disorientated through the heights of the High Atlas we found ourselves having to make a hasty stop to let Bee-bee’s overworked brakes cool down. We unavoidably blocked the street in a tiny Berber village; “Mafi Mushkele”…

An Unlikely Icon

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Patricio Martinez is the larger-than-life character who owns El Valle Hermosa  ‘the beautiful valley’; an eating and drinking establishment at the centre of a criss-cross sprawl of apartment blocks in the Eastern Madrid suburb of Barrio de la Concepcion. We met him by chance and were instantly taken by his personality and kindness, so much so that we recently wrote…

Family Matters

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Regular followers of our blog will know that late last year whilst in Mongolia our original ‘round the world’ trip had a huge change of plan when we received news that both my parents had been diagnosed with cancer. In February we ventured out again with a no commitments route through France, Spain, Portugal and down to Morocco; 5 months…

Art Rocks

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Separated by only 62 kilometres in distance but several thousand years in time, we visited two contrasting sites of ‘rock art’ in the Anti Atlas region of Morocco.
Inhospitable landscapes globally have revealed carvings and paintings left by primal societies; Morocco has over 300 prehistoric rock art sites, some dating back over 5000 years. Unlike the cave art of France…

Fog on the Rif

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Morocco’s notorious Rif region, a mainly mountainous area in the north, stretching over 300km from Tangier in the west to the Melwiyya River in the east is a natural boarder between Europe and Africa. It is also an area synonymous with Marijuana production.
According to some sources, the country is home to approximately 220,000 acres of Marijuana fields and it…

Ornithological Orchestra

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On the fringes of the Sahara in Southern Morocco a seasonal phenomenon occurs in wetter years. Rain collects in a shallow, temporary salt lake, offering a feeding and resting site for thousands of migratory birds on their arduous journeys from Africa to Northern lands. This ephemeral lagoon was our camp for the night.

By first light the Ornithological Orchestra is…

Campervan Train

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In 1956 the French left Morocco after 44-years of occupation but recent times have seen a new invasion; from the Southern Spanish Ports they come in their thousands, a campervan cavalcade marching to a victory of sunshine and low-cost campsites.
Throughout natural history, species with the means (ie-wings) have wisely selected to spend their winter months in the sunshine of…

Movie Set Movie

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Way back in 1962, British director David Lean choose the dusty town of Ouarzazate and its surrounding area to film his epic movie ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. Lean recognised the potential of the area as a unique and versatile film location and inadvertently started the small dusty towns long love affair with Hollywood.
Ouarzazate and the smaller UNESCO World Heritage site…

Piste Off

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Driving in Morocco is hazardous in many ways and off-road driving on the ‘piste’ even more so as we discovered when we hit a large field of Fesh-Fesh!
“Fesh-Fesh, what is Fesh-Fesh?” I hear you cry.
Fesh-Fesh, as the Arabians call it, is the by-product of thousands of years of erosion; sand that has been worn down from it’s granular…

Western Sahara – A Land in Limbo

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Glance at a map of Morocco and your eyes are drawn from the mountains, deserts and cities of the north to a stretch of land in the southwest; few roads and habitations and tentatively separated from the rest of Morocco with a faint dotted line. This is Western Sahara.
Few tourists venture this far south, whispers amongst the campervan masses…

Off-Road in Morocco

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Morocco, a short hop from Spain and not requiring a Carnet, has long been a favoured overlanding destination for many Europeans. During our time here we have spotted overland vehicles from Holland, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Italy, England and of course it is incredibly popular with the French, whose native language (along with Arabic) is spoken throughout. The 3-month visa,…

Desert Oil

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Across the valleys of South Western Morocco we camped amongst vast plains of dark, twisted, prickly trees extending from arid soil and bearing hard, oval, bright green fruit. These fruits contain a nut, at the centre of which is a small, hard kernel that produces a rich, nutty oil when crushed. Argan oil is one of the world’s rarest oils…

Tagine Cuisine

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Leaving the pasta and noodles in Bee-Bee, I was invited to join a Moroccan chef in his restaurant kitchen to learn how to prepare two classic Moroccan dishes; Tagine and Couscous. ‘Tagine’ is actually the name of the conical-shaped earthenware dish that the meal is served in, similar to a ‘Casserole’. The fish tagine is made with red mullet, potatoes…

Djemaa el Fna

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If the lanes and alleys of the souk and Kasbah are the arteries of Marrakech, then Djemaa el Fna is its heart- a central square pulsating with life.
During the day it’s a comparatively sedate scene although still impossible to cross without being intercepted by trinket hawkers, water sellers, snake charmers and orange juice vendors. Horse-drawn carriages lug tourists around…

Mabrouk* to Morocco

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The transition from European familiar to African unfamiliar is only a 90-minute sail across the Straits of Gibraltar. As with the arrival to any foreign country for the first time, there is always the excitement, yet slight trepidation of the unknown; language, money, people, food, culture, roads and everyday life.
Our initial route in Morocco took us down the Atlantic…

Sad News

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(Photo by Thomas Ozanne)We received extremely sad news last week that two of my good friends, ex-work colleagues and fellow artists from my home island of Guernsey were tragically killed in Thailand. Peter Root and Mary Thompson were hit by a pick-up truck in a province east of Bangkok last Wednesday whilst in the middle of their ‘around the world’…

Back on the Road…

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A wet, drizzly morning in Weymouth and Bee-Bee is having the last couple of boxes loaded in; map at the ready and the 11pm Portsmouth – Le Havre ferry booked. With our family situation currently stable and itchy feet so bad we are practically doing the river dance, we are swapping our sunset chase for a longitudinal course. A quick…

Old Axle/New Axle: What’s the diff?

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Prior to our Truckin’ hell we’d made the decision to head straight back home; unfortunately we were 8000 miles away in Mongolia. In hindsight our departure from Mongolia was probably a little too hasty; a bit more Dakar Rally than Mongol Rally.Bad roads coupled with some wannabe Sébastien Loeb-esq driving damaged Bee-Bee’s rear axle.Luckily my daily under-car crawl exposed the hairline…

Truckin’ Hell

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It was the first time I had ever planned a route taking into account the curvature of the earth; an epic drive home as directly and quickly as possible to reunite with family. Fortunately our Russian visas allowed us a window of 21 days in which to back-track across this colossal country. It had taken us 43 days to cross…

Mongolian Motoring Madness

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Mongolia is a unique country in every aspect; a country often associated with isolation and remoteness, a country with a very extraordinary inimitable stark landscape.
It is not all nomads and yak though; due to the recent discovery of copper and gold deposits it is developing at an extremely fast rate. The country that Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman visited…

Mudville

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Mud is a big problem in Mongolia as we discovered in a small village in the Khan Khentii Protected Area. After driving for two days on what should have been a scenic round-trip we stumbled upon a small village nestled in a valley alongside a beautiful winding river. Every track into the village was a 1½ metre deep worn channel…

Watchvlog

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Up until now, only facebook users have been fortunate (?) enough to view our ongoing Video Diaries or “Vlogs” (as modern technology terminology now calls them). Some of our experiences are simply not justified through still photos and writing. Take for example Andy’s depth-checking wade across a Mongolian river in his pants, off-road mud sliding or bone-shaking driving across corrugated…

A One-Ger-Full Life

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With a perfectly-pitched camp on the banks of the Zavkhan River overlooked by the holy Otgontenger mountain, dinner was underway (tinned sardines despite two hours spent fishing for Taimen giant trout in the river) when we spotted a small army of Mongolians approaching from the South. Sardines off and tea on, the mother and children gathered on a blanket, entertained…

One Day in Ulaanbaatar

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Our arrival into the Mongolian capital was of stark contrast to our drive from the border with its rolling green hills, peaceful Gers and scenic steppe dotted with grazing animals. The suburban sprawl of the city creeps up the surrounding mountainsides as we approach to see the haphazard concrete urban jungle before us. We were able to get an extremely…