Gone Bike About...

SPAIN

May 7 – 21, 2007 Barcelona – Mataró – Montseny – Girona – Figueres – Cadaqués – Port de la Selva – Port Bou (French Border)
Toilets flush effectively first time round. Bread comes in all shapes and forms. Supermarkets abound with variety of cheeses and cold cuts. Towns are a stone’s throw away and it’s not necessary to carry expedition food supplies. We’re no longer unique as touring cyclists. We meet at least 6 a day. People speak at least 2 or 3 languages and at every party the chances are every continent is represented. We must be back in Europe! After our gander round Latin America, Barcelona, Spain seemed like the obvious place to start our slow ride home. Having been host to the Olympic games in 1992 and to Darina in 1993, Barcelona has never looked back! Darina’s 5 years in this city resulted in gazillions of friends from her Au Pair and teaching days. Our visit entailed enjoyable encounters with former bosses, colleagues, students, neighbours, classmates, flatmates, flamenco dancers, Irish dancers, second family members and friends of all distinctions… some of whom managed to escape our camera lens.

Our most enthusiastic fan, Darina’s adopted Abuelita has been following our trip and living our highs and lows these past 2 years. At 87 years of age, our trendy granny has recently recommenced piano lessons and informs us of her progress via email!

Darina’s Abuelita

In between all these meetings we got out and about to check out our favourite haunts in and around the gothic quarter and modern port of this happening Mediterranean city.

It was a pleasant exit from Barcelona on the bike lane along the Mediterranean beaches up to Mataró.

Coastal bike trail

Victoria and Manel From there we headed inland to Montseny where Victoria and Manel had our luggage and wonderful hospitality waiting for us.
Spring was in the air and the barley fields were laced with poppies.

Poppy fields, Montseny

Girona We were lucky to hit Girona during their annual flower festival when the old towns courtyards and parks are filled with colour, scent and creativity in abundant flower arrangements.

Amazing flower displays in Girona

The second highlight was to stumble upon a Castellers (human castle) training session, where 7 stories of artists balanced in pre-season glory.

Human castle

Animals are a whole lot more familiar these days

Salvador Dalí’s museum Salvador Dalí’s amazing surrealist art museum dominates the town of Figueres. Eggs and loafs of bread decorate the huge burgundy façade beckoning tourists to have a closer look…And it’s something that shoudn’t be left for the last half hour before closing! 
We upgraded from the campground in Figueres to the welcome comforts offered by Cris and Steve and chatted way past our bedtime to catch up on the latest.

Cris and Steve

Views of the Costa Brava The coastal bike route from Rosas to Cadaqués, although steep in places was well worth the effort, with magnificient views of the rugged, pine forested Costa Brava. 
Graham and Joy (UK) came down on the Bike Bus and were tackling some seriously steep, gravel inclines on their tandem.

Joy and Graham

And then the downhill…

Cadaqués Cadaqués, a beautiful whitewashed town, is an ideal base for hiking in the Cap de Creus National Reserve and along the coastal trail.  

Cap de Creus

It’s great to be camping again in temperatures the right side of 30 degrees Celsius!

Camping in Cadaqués

Traditional Sardana dance in Port de la Selva

Last view of Spain

Another few hills later we were on the French side of the Pyrenees.

Although this was a brief encounter with Catalonia, it was a fine entry into Europe and a great homecoming with all the friends lining our route. Merci a tots.

Catalan flag

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