4,904km down: 1,321km to go
Ok so camp sites and tenting are never going to make it onto my list of favorite things! This campsite has a mixture of the best and the worst. There was a really nice pool and reception area, with good places for sitting and having a cold drink and reading after having a swim. And at first glance the camping area looked much better than the night before – it was not close to a bar or a light. However it was surrounded by noisy partying young people, plus there was a road going past the tents that cars raced up and down at speeds so fast, frequently, until early in the morning. At midnight there was a fireworks display for about 15 minutes. Finally things settled down and I got to sleep until 4:30am when the rosters started – note the plural – they were the nosiest, loudest, most enthusiastic rosters I have ever heard. They were still going with gusto when we left the camp at 7:30am.
I did wonder if perhaps these weren’t real rosters but recorders of rosters that the disgruntled neighbour of the campsite played every morning to be disruptive to the residents as a payback for the disruption from night before until the early hours. One of the main supporting arguments for this theory is that I can’t believe that nobody has tracked these roosters down and made them into rooster soup, or rooster KFC. I am so looking forward to getting to sleep in a bed, with walls between me and the closest neighbours. Plus there will be no chance of a car driving over me while I sleep.
We set off in the morning to ride over what Christiano – one of the tour leaders – described as an “epic hill” riding along the Costa Brava coast line. I’m not sure if I would have wanted to know beforehand that the epic hill stretched for 30k. There were down bits in that of course.
What really surprised me though is that even after four days riding beforehand I still really enjoyed the ride. I am getting much better on the hills – up and down. Some of the bays were so beautiful with water so clear that even from the top of a hill you could still see the bottom.
We had to ride 40k by 10:30am to meet as a group, to ride the remaining 60k (which turned out to be 70k) in a convoy to Barcelona. The guy that led the convoy was a Scottish man called Richard who had lived in Barcelona for 10 years and has a local bar. He did not know any of the tour people, but Christiano had found him by ringing a local bike shop and they asked a local biking group if anyone was willing and available. He was a nice guy, but convoy leader material? No. He only stopped for the tail enders when one of us suggested it may be a good plan.
70k is way too long for a convoy when the speed of riders is quite different, plus it was hot and we were weary. It was a pretty disgruntled group – even riders who I had never before seen snappy weren’t their usual selves. Because we were riding as a convey the average speed was much lower and it just went on and on and on. We arrived at 5:17pm – over a 10 hour riding day.
It’s amazing what a shower can do, or how being in a room where you can actually stand whilst you are looking in your bag can improve your mood. A friend of mine commented after the baboon photo that it may take me a while to integrate back into society on my return. As some riders were leaving in Barcelona we were having a conversation about
1. The first meal we would cook
2. What we were looking forward to about being home
I will probably make a lamb roast and what I was most looking forward to was not having to crouch over my bag every day to get dressed and undressed. Of course as pointed out by another rider, I won’t have my clothes in a bag anyway, they will be in a drawers.
As John and David are leaving us here we had arranged to have a farewell meal. Unfortunately David had woken up feeling unwell so he was not able to come which was a shame but a group of us set off anyway. The problem of course is the locals eat late and we are used to eating early. The restaurant in the hotel where we are staying does not even open until 10pm! By that time we would be gnawing on our own limbs! So we wandered the streets until we found a tapas place, we walked in and placed ourselves in the waiter’s hands and let him choose the food and wine, it was great. Plate after plate was devoured, plus a few beers and some great red wine. Then we were off to the hotel for a good sleep.