Yeah, it has been a while. So in this article I will answer the all-time favourite question of where the bike has taken me. For the fun facts you will have to continue to the next article. Click bait. Love it.
Where did the bike take you since last time?
Day 22: Les Eynes – Mejannes les Ales. 68,6 km.
Ouch, I didn’t do any voice memos of the extraordinary happenings of the day. Therefore, no juicy details this time.
Day 23: Mejannes les Ales – Chapelle St. Etienne. 58,8 km.
Today I shared a lovely dinner with a German couple, dipped into a swimming pool and finished my book. Afterwards, I slept like a baby.
Day 24: Chapelle St. Etienne – Nizas. 60,7 km.
Passing hundreds of million vineyards once again. Just about the time that I started to get a bit bored, the landscape started to get more diverse again. Perfect. And the sun, it’s still shining. Getting tanned and more fit. What else can I wish for?
Day 25: Nizas – Béziers. 43,3 km.
Today I’ve been taking it easy. It’s weekend. I visited the beautiful old city centre of Pézenas. Yes finally, I got to visit a market. Oh boy how I wanted to buy everything. Every. Thing. I got myself under control and ‘just’ went for some nice fruits, veggies, cheese and fresh oysters. Mmmm delicious. Afterwards I sat down on a terrace. For all those who wonder if it isn’t boring to sit down alone, without internet and other distractions, this was the perfect proof it isn’t. I’ve chatted with a lot of people, amongst others an inspiring cycling couple, a lovely lady from Montpellier and an English couple who could have been my parents. It almost felt like a visit back home. Chatting about life and all the things happening in the world. I left Pézenas with a big big big smile on my face.
Day 26: Béziers – Durban Corbieres 78,1 km.
After a very nice visit at Daniela and Nelly – two Latin girls I met via Warmshowers – I left Béziers in the early afternoon. I love how Latin American people (exceptions excluded) always make me feel at home instantly. Good memories of my previous trip to South America all over the place.
However, getting in and out of the city made me pretty grumpy. So much traffic. Chaos. Where to go? The larger cities make me feel quite stressed. I never thought I would actually say this, but I was so relieved to be back in nature again. And I did have the same sense when leaving beautiful places like Le Puy, Roanne and Nancy. Big cities are – by bicycle, carrying around your entire house – not my cup of tea I discovered.
In the end, it was a beautiful ride. I planned to have a relaxed day again (it’s Sunday!), but ended up cycling more kilometres than planned. The route was simply stunning and I couldn’t get enough of it.
Day 27: Durban Corbieres – Llauro. 90,5 km.
This morning I’ve made a planning. Because of meeting Marlous in Figueres, I could take it easy and wanted to figure it out all perfectly. While writing this I need to laugh. What a joke. Do I ever learn that planning doesn’t work out while I’m traveling? Perhaps for some people it does, but I always get some sort of changes thrown towards me. So why did I ever think that it would be different these days?
I planned to stay at Ille-sur-Têt. I imagined it as a small place to stay, which would suit my current mood of being in nature. However, it was busy, crowded and the lady at the tourist information was a typical (and luckily the first and only) example of what you would think of as the arrogant French. It actually made me feel extra happy about all those lovely welcoming French people I met. But it also showed me to continue my way and to not stop yet. Today I dealt with some hills before (being tired as a result) and then I ended up to the route to Thuir. Busy. Noisy. Trucks… Even with both of my ear plugs in, I didn’t manage to not strongly dislike all the trucks passing by super loudly. So I switched to my fastest gear and went like Speedy Gonzales. In the end, I decided to go to a campsite in Llauro of which other cyclists said it was a quiet place.
I got rewarded with a nice campsite (thank god – no bright street lights all over the place). Friendly hosts. Wine. Olives. And a nice bunch of Dutchies. Felt like a good evening out on a terrace in Amsterdam. Happy me again.
Day 28: Llauro. 0,0 km.
Enjoying a long and warm shower. Enjoying another croissant. Enjoying the sun. Trying to get my tan lines of the cycling outfit fade out a bit.
Day 29: Llauro – Figueres. 62,6 km.
Today I’ve crossed the French/Catalan border. There were tears and joy. I got the feeling that I actually made it. To my new home. There were feelings of familiarity all over the place. To celebrate, I treated myself on a lovely cup of tea out on a terrace in a town which was so small you can barely call it a town. Chatting along with some locals made me feel even more enthusiastic to build upon my dream of living in Barcelona.
Day 30, 31, 32: Figueres. 0,0 km.
After a couple of happy but also tense days (the worries about the actual need to find a job quickly etc. started to enter my mind) I was full of joy to meet up with Marlous.
Basically, these days were just all about chatting, laughing, eating, drinking, shopping (oops – I couldn’t resist), frisbee’ing, walking and sleeping. Life is gooooood. Visiting Cadaques and going for a hike – on flip flops – were the highlights of the trip. Not to forget about our photoshoot at the lighthouse. Something with the cherry on the cake I guess.
Day 33: Figueres – Casavells. 40,4 km.
Saying goodbye to Marlous in the afternoon was quite sad, but I was also happy to hop on my bicycle again. Luckily the bike did stay close with us in the apartment in Figueres, but for sure it must have felt a bit lonely. We were being a nice team again and I enjoyed the ride. In the evening I was welcomed by a wonderful Warmshowers host with a truly delicious and healthy diner. Having my own private bathroom completed it. Heaven!
Day 34: Casavells – Tossa de Mar. 55,5 km.
Today was all about passing the last couple of hills before reaching the coast line leading to Barcelona. It was a happy day full of sun and feeling free. I found the perfect spot to spend my last night in the tent which became so familiar. Although it was a challenge to get settled down. The hills were pretty rocky and the roads pretty muddy. So going to bed after a beautiful sunset was a great reward. Pure silence, only nature and me.
Day 35: Tossa de Mar – Barcelona. 92,9 KM.
Waking up with the sounds of the birds, preparing my oatmeal like I did so many mornings. Mentally I started to prepare myself to arrive to Barcelona today. Taking in all the things I loved so much about this trip. The fresh air, the trees, the birds, the animals I could hear but not see. The mosquitos who beat me up so many times. The routine of getting the bike ready to cycle again. The sunscreen on my face, the sunglasses on my nose. The gloves onto my hands. I loved it all. But with every kilometre getting closer to Barcelona, I started to get more excited about my arrival.
Riding along the coast I dipped myself into the sea during lunch break. Such an ultimate feeling of freedom again. Oh how it love the sea as much as the mountains!
And there it was, the crying part when arriving to the beach of Barcelona. A feeling I cannot describe. I couldn’t care less about the strange looks of people passing by. WHAAAAAAAAAA I DID IT! I was smiling from ear to ear when being welcomed by my Catalan family at Arc de Triomf. Mabel and Roger were being the most wonderful friends I could imagine. We left the bicycle at Rogers place, I took a shower and dressed up (meaning: washing my hair, put lipstick and my Nike’s) and we went out for tapas and cocktails.
Different world. Same Fred. Ready for a new adventure.
Read my next article for the roundup of this more than brilliant trip.