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Manta Saddle

I’ve been riding the Manta for 3 years so I feel it’s about time that I wrote about it. Sorry Jon for how long it’s taken.

Back story
Long-distance tourers store their things in Ortliebs, put Schwalbe Marathons on their wheels and sit on a Brooks B17. That was how the world seemed back in 2010 when I started buying things to go on my tour. Knowing not much, I decided that everyone else probably knew best. I picked up a complete set of Ortliebs for my stuff

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Morocco

I finally managed to leave Algeciras when my parcel arrived, and had the fortune of not having to wait for the second one as Jorge, my host in Algeciras, would be visiting Morocco himself a few days later. We arranged to meet up in Rabat and I was finally away. I’m writing this more than 8 months later, and have barely got any notes, so there’s not going to be much detail. Mainly pasting of the notes that I sporadically took.

I had a Warmshowers organised in Martil, but had to call

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Waiting for a parcel

I was incredibly warmly welcomed in Algeciras, and Jorge and his intercambio friends made me feel so welcome. The parcel was posted on the 4th, and got to Heathrow by 5am on the 5th where it was handed to the overseas department. That was where the tracking ended (and while I write this on the 1st of May it still has no more information). According to the Royal Mail it should have arrived in 4 days, so I had hoped that it would have been there when I arrived on the Sunday, but if not then, then

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Down to Algeciras

From Seville it was south, through the official Pueblos Blancos, to the coast. Luis had originally put me in touch with his friend, but then in the afternoon his friend let me know that he’d been called to work and so wouldn’t be able to host me. A quick look at a map changed my route and so instead of climbing to Grazalema, the wettest place in Spain, it was instead along the Via Verde (much prettier than the one near Córdoba) and through Los Pueblos Blancos. The highlight of the

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Seville

I stayed for a few days in Seville, thanks to my lovely host. He had plans to head out of town for a race, but was OK with leaving the key with me for the weekend. I went on a couple of walking tours, of which there are numerous in Seville (Sevilla in Spanish) but there was just something that Seville seemed to be lacking in comparison with Granada. Maybe it was the lack of snow-capped mountains in the background.

According to my tour guide, the oranges in Seville (which are what we in the UK make

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Dawdling to Seville

The prettiness of Granada was capped with the look back on it with the snowcapped Sierra Nevadas looking rather majestic behind it which accompanied me the whole way to Loja. I was heading there next as there was another Warmshowers host, John, and I was eager to meet more. He’s an English teacher, with a lot of international experience, the most random being Sudan. A pleasure to hang out with and chat while he fixed his scooter and we sipped down cups of milky tea in pint glasses.





From John

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Up to Granada

Even though my goal was to get to Algeciras, to take the ferry to Morocco, the coastal route didn’t appeal in the slightest. I haven’t been there before, but in my mind it’s just a long stretch similar to the one between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. A massively developed ex-pat community full of Brits and Germans in particular looking for the sun. I’ve got no problem with that, but in my mind it would make for less than interesting riding, lots of traffic and issues finding

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Almería

After the madness of Algeria, it was quite amazing to be in Spain. Walking from the ferry, where my host Carlos met me, I went past people hanging around outside even though it was already dark. There were young people drinking in public, and teenager guys hitting on teenage girls. All things that I’d normally take for normal, but definitely stood out after the Algerian experience. The other fantastic thing was the regular western toilet, rather than the Algerian one which I never photographed

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