WARNING…. WARNING…. WARNING….
THIS blog has way too many pictures, but it was so very hard to choose!!!! On average, we can take around 300 pics per day, that Span dutifully, and sometimes teadiously, edits most nights… SO.. You are getting off lightly!
Sunday 17/5/15 – Sadly we leave Barcelona today. It most certainly is a city that lives up to its reputation for fun, activity, culture etc, and a place we would most certainly come back to, time and opportunity permitting.
Headed down the road, sun shining warm and brightly, looking for some more beaches. Stopped at Maccas for a cold drink and internet…. grrr, no internet! Some young lads stopped to tell Span he had left the camera on and we had a chat of sorts, well as best our language barriers would permit. They were all smiles at the bike, and even more so when a local begger, who appeared somewhat tipsy, tried to get money from us… Fat chance!
Continued on and stopped at a couple of lovely beaches, just to admire and wish we were in our bathers rather than full bike gear, given the temperature was in the low 30s. People looked so relaxed, having fun swimming, sunbathing….Ok .. Ok . Enough.. We got it, need to stop soon and have a swim.
Headed to the next town of Tarragona, where we stopped at a campsite on the beach for the night. Booked a cabin for €16 (around $25), gotta love that price! Time …. 2pm, our earliest stop yet! It’s a very basic 2 bedroom cabin, with kitchen lounge, toilet, verandah etc, but the BEST thing about it is that we walk out our door, and in roughly twenty paces we were on the beach and at the bar/bistro too… Ohh the joy of it all !!!!!!!
Off the bike, into the cabin, togs on, we hit the beach and the water…. such bliss! Sun baked for a bit, then walked the beach, before coming back for another swim, more sun then back to the cabin for a shower. Our beach towels double as general towels and are a big beach towel cut in half.. well we don’t have room on the bike for two big towels, so.. ‘necessity is indeed the mother of invention’!
It was now 6.30pm, the sun is still shining brightly. We did some washing, before heading to the beach bar for dinner, sangria, and some further trip planning and notes.
Span is lovin the ‘bar prices’ €1.25 stubbies, ($1.89) and as for me, well the sangria just goes down way to easily on a hot day!!
7.30pm….. Families still on the beach enjoying late sunshine and a warm evening, as were we.
Every day holds more eye candy….. That is beautiful things and people to see…. so much so, that one can not help smiling all the time.
Woke up to a glorious sunny day by the beach at Camping Las Salinas, Tarragona/ Espania. Walked the 20 paces to the beach and cantina for coffee and toasted rolls. Have a strong suspish that they may have been yesterday’s rolls, but with a bit of butter and jam, they were not too dry, but VERY crunchy!
Sat and enjoyed the beautiful vista .. sea.. boats .. cargo ships at anchor .. children playing in the sand.. people sunbathing or simply walking the beach.. just enjoying themselves…. THIS IS THE LIFE! Have decided to stay another night, not a hard decision. A week would have been better, but we have to meet the rest of the crew on Saturday, as we catch the ferry to the UK on Sunday night.
Off for another walk down the beach, the other way this time. We are pretty well in the middle of this beach which we reckon is about 3 or 4 km long, so it’s a good walk. Dogs are not an issue on the beaches in Europe. They are both on and off lead, and just have fun. They run up to each other and frolic in the sand or the water, no problems at all. One Labrador seemed hell bent on digging the biggest hole; tail wagging vigorously all the while. Every now and then he would stop…. look up…. and seemed to have the BIGGEST, most joyous look on his face… Good stuff.
The water is so blue, clear and inviting; it will be time for a swim when we get back. There is not a cloud in the sky. The only colour in the sky other than blue, is the criss crossing of the white vapour steams left by the airplanes that fly overhead. Walked past and over the rocky point to a couple of small beaches. The sand very coarse because of all the tiny shells that have been crushed by the sea and the rocks. Nature surely is one of the great sources of inspiration for human art, so many beautiful things around to inspire us.
How strong are little creatures?? As we were walking back along the beach this morning, we noticed one solo ant near the water’s edge, so stopped to watch him for a while. Perhaps he and his friends are the ones who eat the tiny muscles and other tiny shellfish??? Anyway he walks towards the ocean, and stands on his wee back legs, tiny antlers working like fury; perhaps he senses the waves coming in to swamp him. We think he will turn and skedaddle back to dry land! Wrong! Off he heads towards the water.. Stoic wee fellow.. In come the waves (must be like a souname to him).. He gets washed back up the beach… Up he gets and heads towards the water again. Must be something good out there.. Time and again we watch as he charged the water, only to be washed back again. Well we mere humans tired of this before he did, so we left him to his fate. Unfortunately for him however, a wave brought him back too quick and Spann stood on him! Oops!
Back to our digs for a quick swim, then don our bike gear to go sight seeing. Speaking of bike gear, have to say that we have acclimatised all too well and are doing as the locals do. Shorts, runners (not quite brave enough for thongs), T shirt and of course helmets!
Stopped at the marina in Tarragona…. WOW! There were several BIG super yachts berthed there, and one in particular (named AZZAM) caught our eye. We googled it when we got back and this is some of what we found (no wonder it stood out from the rest). It is the biggest and most expensive in the world; German built for the princely sum of $600 million US; 180 metres (590 ft) long; has its own anti missile system (no wonder it was swarming with security); 2 swimming pools; 94000 horse power (now that’s motoring); a cinema; 2 helipads; a mini submarine etc, etc…. Suggest you google it as well…worth the read! When the marina security had gone by, Span sneaked in for quick pic.
Into the town of Tarragona too see some ancient ruins and the Bacilica. Such a beautiful old town behind what is left of the ancient Roman walls. More beautiful old streets just oozing character…. what stories they could tell. Found some ‘old’ Roman ruins, and information boards tell us they had gladiator fighting and chariot races here ‘way back when’. The ruins reminded us of the old gladiator movies (as well as Flying High) with Charlton Heston and Victor Mature. We could just picture them in a chariot race, battling it out to the finish.
John decided he would not go into the Basilica (he can only do so many churches in a week..), cloister and museum, but probably should have; instead he opted to do a walk around the outside. It was the best value entry yet at €5. Can’t begin to describe the history, colour, artworks, chapels (there were so many – all behind iron gates) and a stunning courtyard surrounded by the cloisters. It was so vast, so big, yet so incredibly peaceful inside. If you’re ever over this way put it on your to do list. The pictures will show you better than words can describe. Unfortunately, took them with the iPad, so the quality is not the best, but you will get the idea.
When I finally found the exit, there was John at the top of the stairs that lead to the Bacilica with his new mate Juan (another John), who was sitting there playing Spanish (of course) guitar, simply for pleasure. He had the most beautiful smile, that went with his captivating music.
On the bike again to go see a Spanish castle – Castle de Mas Ricard… Not to be missed apparently …. Except that we did!!! ahh well, thems the breaks.
Decided to go back to our digs for a little more beach and sun before heading off tomorrow. At one stage while we were sunbaking, John asked if he was getting red? Well with polarised sunnies it didn’t look so, but by the time we got back that night he looked like a “well cooked” lobster and didn’t he know it!
Met a lovely guy Diego and his 2yo daughter Luchia – gave them a koala. He is 32yo, a graphic artist, who travelled the world for eleven years, but never quite made it to Australia. He is disappointed because he says he is now too old to get a working visa to come over, and would not come for just a few weeks as it’s too far. Little Luchia was captivating and so cute, she loved playing on the beach with her daddy, who clearly doted on her. Just lovely to see.
Tuesday 19/5/15 – Very reluctantly we left our beach side camp. We could have easily spent a week there soaking up the sun and relaxed atmosphere, however we had a deadline to meet up with Dave, Maggie and Co. ’Next time’ we will spend more time in Spain. Off we went, and yet again we are treated to the most spectacular, ever changing countryside and views.
The weather cooled somewhat and it started raining, as we wound our way through the Pyrenees. It continued to rain on and off for the remander of the day, and the temperature continued to fall, yet it was a most spectacular and sensational ride. In one section, there were 13 tunnels (Zona de Tuneles,) all numbered, cut through the mountains, so we mere mortals may pass. The ride through the congosto de Ventamillo (Ventamillo gorge), in the Catalan Pyrenees was simply breathtaking, even in the rain. The deep, deep gorge with its lime stone cliffs, Ersera river and dams….simply breathtaking. The steep grey walls seeming to close in on us in places. Once again the pics fail to do it justice, they are a mere sample of today’s eye candy, but hope they give you a good sense of what we saw.
High above us were the magnificent limestone buttresses, where huge bearded vultures flew and soared as we travelled through the long. deep gorges of the Ordesa y Perdido National park; the high walls of the mountains and cliffs providing an ideal home for them. With a wingspan of around 2.5m, it is one of the largest raptors in the world.
Ainsa and the nearby Ordesa National Park are about a three-hour drive from Barcelona. We stopped to visit the Ainsa Castle near Ordesa and the rain continued to fall, but we enjoyed it none the less.
Met a lovely couple, Anna Marie and Jack. They were on holidays from their home in Holland and what a coincidence, Jack is a mechanic (like Span) and Anna Marie a nurse (like me). They too have bikes at home, so it just goes to prove things are the same all over the world!
Anna Marie made us a much needed hot cuppa and we sat in their motor home talking, laughing and sharing stories. Hopefully we’ll catch up again when touring through Holland. Before we parted ways the ‘old Australian tradition’ of giving a Koala and a KWRMCC sticker was done and we’re sure they’ll find a nice spot for them in the motorhome.
After riding in rain for most of the day, we stopped for the night, wet but happy, at a town called Broto near Ordesa. Found a brilliant hotel – Hotel Pradas. They have special rates for bikers at €51 and a lock up garage for the bike to ‘seal the deal’…. brilliant!
The room was quaint as, simply delightful and very comfy. It was very quiet and we may have been the only guests for the night. Like many hotels through the alpine regions they close up over winter and re-open the doors during Spring. so it is early in the season for guests.. Went for a cool walk up the street for a look around before retreating back to the bar for a drink, tea and a good nights sleep.