Day 10: Tissint to Tata

Tuesday April 16, 2013, 70 km (43 miles) – Total so far: 903 km (561 miles)

I rose early in the morning eager to get out of the miserable room I had spent the night in! Dousing myself in insect repellent seemed to have kept the fleas/bedbugs at bay but still it wasn’t a great night’s sleep. I packed the bike, stocked up on some food and water in the shop below my room and got back on the road.

There are a set of cascades a few miles outside Tissint which is the only tourist attraction in the region. It was a couple of miles out of the way and I was eager to get moving before the heat started getting bad so I cycled straight on by.

A couple of miles outside Tissint I came across a road construction crew who beckoned me over to their tent as I was passing. I was invited in for tea and some bread. I got chatting to Hassan, one of the road construction workers, in very broken Arabic as we had a beautiful glass of mint tea. I had gotten seriously addicted to the mint tea that everyone here drinks, it seemed to be a step above the mint tea in Egypt and Jordan from what I can remember. They offered me a bit of breakfast but I had already eaten so I thanked them for the hospitality and got back on the road.

The cafe/shop on the right with the attached hotel where I spent the night
Nearly the entirety of the village of Tissint
Hassan in the small tent which he said all 7 of the road workers cramped into and slept every night!

The temperature was good and the wind was behind me so I set about pushing a good pace across the 70km of desert between me and the next settlement, Tata. The landscape was pretty forgettable on this section, just flat expanses on either side of the road with some small foothills in the distance.

I had left my camera in “Manual” mode rather than “Aperture Priority” mode for the majority of the morning. I only realised later when I looked back over my photos and discovered them all completely over exposed. This meant that every shot I had taken since leaving the construction workers tent was whited out. Luckily for me, it was probably one of the least scenic pieces of road I had cycled so far so I didn’t lose too much.

The only visible thing I could recover from the morning’s photos!
The flat featureless road to Tata

A couple of kilometres before Tata the road started climbing for the first time. It didn’t last long and soon I was rolling into the centre of town before lunchtime. The sun was starting to hit its peak now so I stocked up on some food and water and sat down deciding what to do. I still had half a day ahead of me so I could have started on the climb towards Igherm. However I hadn’t had a proper rest in a while and I knew that there was a cheap campsite here in the centre of Tata. I was also well on schedule to arrive on time for my flight in Agadir and Tata seemed like a nice quiet town so my decision to stay was made quite easily. I rolled on over to the campsite and paid €2 for the night there.

The only place to set up my tent was on a concrete footpath so I had to hold it down using broken bricks from around the campsite. As I was setting the tent up I was offered a nice glass of cold water by an older French couple who were in a camper van. I gladly accepted and had a quick chat with them. The amount of French and Spanish tourists over here in camper vans really is amazing. Every campsite seems to be full of camper vans with only a small section allocated for tents.

Looking back from the last climb into Tata
Tata town centre. This temperature gauge seemed to be slightly off, I reckon it was really around 40°C.
My tent set up on the footpath inside the Tata camping compound

I spent the rest of the day just taking it really easy, something which I hadn’t got a chance to do since I had arrived in Morocco. I spent the day relaxing on a park bench reading some Terry Pratchett and also some of it in an internet cafe catching up on everything I had missed including a bombing at the Boston marathon which had happened the day before. It’s incredible how removed you are from the world out here. If I hadn’t visited the internet cafe I most likely wouldn’t have found out until I got home.

In the evening I rang my family back home as I hadn’t talked to them since leaving and then had a nice meal in a small cafe/restaurant in the middle of town. It was great to have half a day like this just to relax, I usually plan my trips to make the most of the limited time I have which is why they end up being quite intensive sometimes, luckily for me here though because I had pushed hard earlier in the trip I was now able to sit back and enjoy a really nice peaceful day.

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