So we decided to go to Barcelona like the day before we left, which is all well and good though we neglected to think of how hot it was and how it would probably only get hotter the more south we went. And also more mosquitos. For some reason at this point in the trip both Rob & Kev decide to “suit up” in their fancy cycling gear full body lycra bullshit. Which is weird.
DAY 1 : Marseille to the D682 – 60 km
Kev, Rob & I took off on Monday, July 8th. We left around 4pm and made it like only 60 km that day. Probably because we stopped for a 40 minute break like 15 km into the cycle. And then another one like 30 km in.
From this point on, because our group was small, we started “wild camping” aka camp-wherever-the-hell-you-stop. On this particular evening we slept alongside the D682 in a national park under some power lines. For some reason this made me irrationally paranoid and I was convinced we’d all get eaten by some French cannibals living in the forest and hardly slept. I did get nearly eaten alive by all the mosquitos in my tent so I wasn’t entirely wrong.
DAY 2 : D682 to La Grande Motte – 112 km
We wake up, not eaten by cannibals thankfully. We cycle for a while before stopping for our daily coffee, croissants and one of those weird fried cheese french sandwiches (are they supposed to be cold?)
The most exciting part of this day is taking the ferry! And going swimming in some random lake off the Mediterranean which was only like 3 feet deep and pretty manky. Here Rob pulls some romantic Venetian shit.
That night we sleep on the beach! Which sounds fun but is a total nightmare with bikes – grease and sand are maybe the worst ever combination.
DAY 3 : La Grande Motte to Armisson – 125 km
This day is long because the heat forces us to take a long afternoon siesta, meaning we don’t cycle between 12 and 3pm because it looks like THIS:
Which makes Kev look like THIS:
That night we are staying with a Marseille friend’s mother, who lives in Armisson. Unfortunately this town is not on Rob “Dead Weight” O’Reilly’s map and we have to wind around a lot to find our way. We are thoroughly exhausted when we arrive, but we are wined and dined to the French extreme = Champagne, white wine, rose, red wine & Guinness for Rob. Not to mention like 7 different kinds of cheese. Yes yes yes.
DAY 3 : Armisson to Angeles Sur Mer – 100 km
We don’t get very far this day because we are all pretty hungover and we lose Kev at some stage, who has no phone. But the scenery starts to get all South of France dreamy.
How We Lost Kev – see this sign? It says no bikes. As law abiding cyclists (when it suits) Rob & I took the exit and cycled on the other road. Kev did not. Magically like 4 hours later he finds us outside a McDonald’s fter asking for help in the Carrefour. Cycle tour magic.
That night we sleep outside of a massive abandoned farm house not far from the sea. Unfortunately this section of France feels like Florida – there is just loads of cheesy seaside tourist attractions and therefore no secret place for 3 cyclists to camp illegally. The area is weird and I’m a bit creeped out so I make Kev “Sweaty” Woulfe share my tent.
DAY 5 : Angeles Sur Mer to Girona, Spain – 117 km
All I can say about today is PYRENEES, BITCHES!
Truthfully the climbs were not so bad as they were mostly up and down along the coast so our altitude was never very high but I’m sure our accumulated height is quite a lot. I DRANK SO MUCH WATER. Also the Spanish border was a complete non event. There was a little office there with no one in it, so as such I have to assume the EU just takes the fun out of everything.
Coming from the border, Spanish roads are HOT AND LONG AND FLAT. My skin started turning this weird purple color – I assume a mixture of suncream, sweat, road dust and dead bugs sticking to me.
We also start horribly mispronouncing everything since absolutely none of us actually speak Spanish (Kev was the only French speaker. Thanks for nothing, college.)
Spanish beers are cheap!
We end up having a hell of a time finding a place to sleep that night as we get stuck outside a biggish city with loads of sprawl. Eventually, after it’s gone dark, we resort to some unfinished building site off the highway. It has tall weeds that make me itch and after I’ve undressed to “bathe” (wipe myself down with towelettes) I can hear voices from not far away. We all share a tent which feels like a sauna from hell.
DAY 5 : Girona to Barcelona – 105 km
It’s a short day so we take our time coming into Barcelona. The cycling that morning is nice and relaxed and we stop coming into Barcelona to go swimming, which is amazing and full of topless ladies (and men!).
Thankfully the beach here doesn’t feel like it’s going to give me infectious diseases, like Marseille. By the time we get to the right part of Barcelona to meet the friend we’re staying with, we are shattered. We can’t eat or drink or make choices really. We sit in the centre of a square in Vila de Gracia and drink lemon flavored beers. I make some kind of impression on Kev’s friends I’m sure, but they treat us to a rooftop BBQ!
TOTAL MILEAGE : 619 km
Next: ‘Leaving Spain is Hard to Do’ and PARIS.