Italy Morocco Pyrenees

May 2015

Part 11: Barcelona - Ripoll

The ferry trip from Tangiers to Barcelona doesn't have anything special hence I am rather focused on the couple of weeks and thousands of km I had just spent around Morocco, starting digesting this intense experience. This country is like it was made to have samples of (almost) everything existing on our lovely planet: Green mountains, bare brown ones, Mediterranean coasts, Atlantic ones, desert, oases... you name them.

However, most of the times you can't really enjoy the above as much as you could or should: guys poping out of nowhere in no time even in the most deserted areas trying to sell you all shorts of stuff and services spoiling your moment. And the other serious issue is the pretty high risk of food poisoning. So it's like being in some short of heaven (if you exclude the terrible mess of most cities/towns/villages) but you are forced to explore it with your senses half shut.

Did I regret it? Absolutely not, at least since I made it without permanent scars on my body. Would I come back? Probably not. Neither anyone else from our group. The same goes for another couple of guys I had the chance to talk about, including a very cultivated biker from Denmark who made the long story short like this:"My wallet was the only thing they were interested in". At this point I would like to share a nice exception to that rule: As we were heading down to Merzuga, Susan is riding in front of me on a straight when her top case opens and all shorts of her private stuff start flying around some of them landing on my helmet. Fortunately she finally listens to my horn so we pull over and I run back to start picking her belongings. I see Berber doing the same thing and I think to myself " we go again...he's gonna start begging for money and such...". I am already intended to give him some of the stuff he picked if Susan was OK but to my surprise he handed us all of them and left with a smile. People unspoiled from tourism can be so much better..

So, to finalise about Morocco, I'd love to have someone with a helicopter to drop me in the middle of Sahara's nowhere and bring me back before the first tourist hunter appears. This would be great though it might be a "find the smallest fraction of time" challenge.

With these thoughts swimming in my head we arrive at the port of Barcelona and drive in the evening to our AirBnB. Our hosts are two lovely guys and their apartment is great. We are only 4 of us left (from the initial group of 7) and as they show us the available bedrooms we leave the one with the double bed to Pete and Kim and me with John share the other one with the single beds. I joke to the hosts "you know, I just broke up with John so we'd better not share the same bed anyway". Well, we didn't know that these guys are actually gay so they took it seriously and brought us beers later in some short of comradery...

Since I've already been to Barcelona 5 years ago this time I focus on enjoying walking this lovely beloved city without the burden of having to capture the moment.

That red dot in the center is me, mirrored at this glass building at the marina of Barcelona

This time I find out that these extremely funny figures of Caganers are a thing around there:

There is absolutely no reason for a short stay in Barcelona other than the fact that we've all had been there before and we still had lots of km to do ahead so we leave this wonderful city next morning and start exploring the Pyrenees. The GI682 from Lloret de Mar up to Sant Feliu de Guixol offers fantastic riding moments with wonderful bends by the see on great tarmac. Have a look:

Cala Futadera




Les Pedreres

One of the best routes I've ever done under fantastic late May weather conditions. It is such a joy to ride with all these pine trees around - feels like home to me:

Sorry for the blurry image above but I didn't have the chance to wash the bike from the Sahara's stains or let's better say I didn't want to loose time doing so instead of enjoying what the trip had to offer. A milestone in my travelling career but also for the bike's mileage:

Yep, somewhere on the C25 close to Sant Miquel de Cladells my bike celebrates its 100000km decorated by her majesty Sahara offering the dirtiest cockpit ever. If you look closely you'll see that I had to clear the odometer with my finger to be readable.

After this wonderful ride we make it to the town of Ripoll:

As we walk around to find a place to stay, for one more time in my trips the Hellenic heritage escorts me:

The local river Ter is a pleasant element:

During our walk around the center for something to eat I harvest the following images:

Click below to continue: