Thursday, April 28, 2011

Vías verdes (and not so verdes)

Girona is known to be a center of competitive cycling in Spain. The US team trained here, Lance had a house, etcetera. Which is all well and good, however we are operating on an entirely different plane than 17 lb bikes and 80 liters/kilogram VO2 maxes. Fortunately for us, it is also a center of anti-competitive cycling, with lots of rail-trails and rural cycling routes. We took one such rail-trail from Girona to Platja d'Aro, on the coast.

After very pleasant 42 km through small towns and alongside fields of poppies and rapeseed, we arrived in Platja d'Aro. La platja was a raging shitshow of traffic and vacationing Madrileños. Whoops, we forgot it was Semana Santa, which means Spring Break! for all of Spain. And just like Spring Break! in the US, everybody goes to the beach. We found our camping, where they assured us that it wasn't really all that crowded, which although incredible, might have been true. We were camped in site 5207, and an entire half of the campground wasn't open yet. God help us if we had arrived mid-summer.

The roar of traffic on the carretera throughout the night assured us that we should find a route that didn't involve the highway. The next morning, traffic through town had calmed substantially, and we rode next to the water through fancy-smancy beach towns and steady, but not terrifying traffic, before finding another rail trail that led inland. A propicious wrong turn lead us up a couple hundred meters of climbing to a pleasant viewpoint. If only all wrong turns were so scenic.

From bikinggirona

Some fast kilometers downhill and a wrong turn onto the carretera (which was actually not too bad, and far less terrifying than "smaller" roads we rode on) lead us to more routefinding through beautiful, medieval towns, and eventually the town of Torroella de Montgrí. We were bushed from pedaling our distressingly-heavy bikes into the wind all day, and couldn't convince ourselves to look for the camping outside of town. So we settled for an over-priced hotel in the city and a underpriced, and very delicious Catalan supper of sausage, salad and lasagna.

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