Cycling through Catalonia

From Andalucia we cycled through some mud, over and around some mountains, along some coast, took a couple of trains, and found ourselves in Girona, north of Barcelona and in the foothills of the Pyrennes. Another converted railway track made a great cycleway further up into the mountains proper.

Via verde between Girona and Olot

From there it was up, up, and up…

France!

… till that sign appered. It only took a very cold 30 minute descent to loose two day’s worth of climbing as we sailed down into France. We really knew we’d arrived when the village baker came to the campground and sold us pain-au-chocolate. Yum.

Since then a combination of poor planning and excitement at the relative flatness of France has meant that we have raced through to Avignon, covering more than 400km in four days. Our typical days were previously around 60km each so this is a big effort for us. We must be getting fitter since we were able to do it, but it has still left us with some sore bits and in need of a rest. There were some nice views on the way:

Looking back at the Pyrennes

And we got to ride alongside canals. And see flamingos, again. In France! Europe is full of surprises.

Canal fun

There were also lots of vineyards and picturesque villages, rolling meadows, and other stuff you think of when you think of France. We camped under this big rock, or another that looked just like it.

Wine with rock

We also saw old Frenchmen playing petanque and exclaiming ooh la la, fulfilling another stereotype.

Oh, and the food. The most noticeable difference for me has been all the bugs that I’ve eaten. When you are cycling bugs normally like to fly into your mouth, but in Spain they were largely absent. They have been back in force in France though, perhaps making up for the ham we are no longer eating. We also had a pretty good kebab after a long 120km day of riding. If I look mad it is accurate portrait of my hunger at the time.

Modern French cuisine

We have also seen a few of these, and tried them in a restaurant the other day. We both had food poisoning by the next morning.

French cuisine or food poisoning?

Post by Andrew

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