Sunday, May 1, 2011

Costa Brava

After some bike fixing, food buying, late sleeping, internet using, and being kicked out of a nicer restaurant for trying to change into biking gear in their bathroom, we headed out of Toroella and promptly got lost. After an hour of repeatedly asking directions from randos on the side of the street, we ultimately ended up on the wrong road in the right direction. It was one of those roads that was too wide and straight for cars to want to slow down in anticipation of obstacles in their path, but not quite wide enough for one bike + two cars. We quickly tired of the rapid traffic buzzing our shoulders, and took a detour on more quiet roads.

Happy to find a less busy road (with goofy glasses)
From bikinggirona

The coastal winds on the Costa Brava kicked up. Pedaling our loaded bikes against walls of headwinds coupled with more than a few detours due to not having sufficient maps landed us near Empuria Brava in late afternoon. We found ourselves blocked by a newly formed river over the road. The wet ford looking unappetizing, we headed to the signed camping to ask directions, and decided to stay the night. I am beginning to think that wrong turns in the Mediterranean only bring unexpected delights.

"Dangerous Currents" blocking our passage
From bikinggirona

The view from our beach side campsite. Note the Rosé in the water cage.
From bikinggirona

Wednesday we began our climb into the Cap de Creus on the easternmost part of Spain's Mediterranean coast. I soon remembered how different meters are from feet, as the 400 m climb to the pass with a loaded 50 lb bike quickly dropped me to my lowest gear. I was passed by several Frenchmen yelling "Bonjour" and "keep up" as they blew past me in race kit. I was barely able to mutter a hurried salutation before they were out of view.

When I caught up to Andrew near the top, he had a huge smile, and said proudly "I passed two racers and was complemented by a French man." Which, yes, is a pretty big deal in this land overrun with bikers training for great races.

View from the Top, road to Cadaques
From bikinggirona

We topped out to amazing views and the scenery kept coming all afternoon as we dropped from the road to Cadaques into a line of tiny towns linked by fun, banked turns. I could have ridden those roads forever.

Self portrait attempts on fast and fun roads through northern spain
From bikinggirona

The riding was so fun, it was tempting to continue on into France, but being advised of the type of roads past Llança into France by several bikers, we decided to take a quick local train across the border.

By early evening we were wandering the deserted streets of Cerbere, searching for a place to spend the night. In the window of the closed tourist office, we saw a flyer for municipal camping. Using our very minimal French with much hand gesturing, we were able to find out that the camping was a few kilometers out of town on the we headed off in the direction we had been pointed.

Arriving to a closed appearing registration station, we were bummed. But hadn't we seen campers in the distance across the water? We continued down in good faith, and sure enough, hidden on the cliffs, we found a city of squatters/campers. Again using our jibberspanishfrench we found out that the camping was free for however long we would like to call it home. We pitched our tent and cooked dinner with a mindblowing view of the sea. Free squatting privileges with such a view...France you've got my heart.

feral flowers at camp
From bikingFrance

not too bad for a free campsite
From bikingFrance

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