69km Tangier – Medina Sidonia
We rose before the sun this morning, dragging ourselves out of bed around 5:30am for some last minute preparations before the first ferry to Spain. No matter how much we pack and unpack, we never seem to get any faster at getting our bikes ready for the road after staying in one place for a while. Our belongings explode over the space of a room when we arrive and only reluctantly fit back into their original spots. This time we also had a bag of treasures from Morocco to squeeze in as well. They were all food related. Cycling seems to have brought out a ravenous appetite in both of us. Cookies from a patisserie, olives and dates from the market and a few chocolate bars bought with our last handful of dirhams. Soon we were cruising down the hill to the port. With our passports checked and boarding cards in hand we rolled onto the ferry and waved goodbye to Africa. Arriving shortly afterwards in Tarifa was a breeze. We quickly found our way out of the town, which is filled with surf shops, and starting making our way along the coast to Cadiz. We felt ever so slightly lonely, missing the enthusiastic Moroccan greetings from the side of the road. Before long we strayed onto a cycle path to Cadiz. The city would otherwise be a nightmare to get into because it is surrounded by motorways so the Transandalus trail sounded like a good alternative. Our luck on the track was mixed. Sometimes the surface was quite good and other times we found ourselves wondering how to get across a mucky stretch of water. This usually meant backtracking to the main road for a short detour, before rejoining the piste. The wildlife along the trail was the bonus for our hard work. An elk herd ran in the fields to one side of the road while eagles soared high overhead and occasionally a rabbit hopped in front of us. Late in the afternoon we found some picnic tables so we stopped to read our books and make supper, before setting up our tent in a field near dusk.