Life in the fast lane

Trip Start Jan 01, 2008
1
18
45
Trip End Sep 29, 2009


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Flag of Spain and Canary Islands  , Catalonia,
Thursday, May 28, 2009

Leaving the costa was defiantly the right thing to do, we felt like we were heading back into Spain proper pretty much straight away, as we headed inland it felt like we had bags of energy to get some miles under our belt and it wasn't long before we felt like we were getting back in the grove.


We decided to head for Valencia to see what it was like, now I love grand theft auto so getting to play a real life version was a real treat! I'm not kidding this was make sure you had clean pants on driving, no room for going slow just put your foot down and follow the herd or get trampled underfoot. After twenty minuets of high speed pursuits we decided to move on, I'm sure its a lovely city but for us the outskirts were urban chaos and parking seemed a nightmare in some pretty rough areas so we gave it a miss.


Valencia is a lovely region though and its province is very varied, it wasn't long before we were in the lush green hills, a huge contrast from the barren desert land in the tourist areas of the main costa.


We ended up in a town called Jerica that night, nice little sleepy town where we found a quite spot on the outskirts to free camp. We were right next to a bike lane that the signs seemed to suggest went on for hundreds of kilometers, so the next day I decided stretch the legs and give it a try, wisely sensing I wanted to go for a long hard run Sharon decided to stay and make lunch. It was a great run going through loads of little towns and high tracks, there were hundreds of bikers out as it was a Sunday but it never felt busy. Unfortunately the batteries went on the camera so you'll just have to take my word that it was a pretty dam cool.


Then we went on to Morella, the ride took us into mountains that don't look much on the map but at a steady climb we were soon higher than we had been in the Pyrenees, over 1200m this time! The van held out pretty well, though it did take a while to cool down when we got to the village. Morrella is a nice little walled medieval town, I hope my photos show it off at its best. We made our way further across the mountain region which looks like its a ski resort in the winter, visiting a few little towns all with there own individual charm, including Lleida which happened to be hosting a massive snail party, there were hundreds of tents in the park where each one was having a huge party, I'm not quite sure how else to describe what was going on other than there were bucket loads of cooked snails, people dressed in there team colours, getting drunk on a hot Sunday afternoon and each group with a band trying to make more noise than the next, amazing stuff you just had to be there I guess!


We were heading towards Barcelona and the towns were getting bigger and a bit more rough around the edges, when we got to Tarragona (which we thought was like a Barcelona light), we drove through a particular rough area when a park full of boys/men spotted us they started shouting, the locals looked worried and one lad took chase after us on his bike, I'm not sure what he was after maybe he wanted us to stop for a chat or maybe he wanted to see if he could get at the bikes. I thought I would help him get a closer look, so I gathered up a bit of speed and he followed suit, just enough for me to slam on the anchors and allow him a really closer look! He fell off and your heros left into the sunset.


It was a reminder we would need to have our wits about us, we found a quite spot about 20km from Barcelona by the sea in Garraf, as its was so close to the city we thought it may be worth a quick drive to test the waters. It was a pretty full on experience again, not quite as mad as Valencia but pretty hair raising stuff. We drove right into town through La Ramblers past the Olympic village and the cathedral, it was nice to see the place again after seven years or so since we last went, even at high speed there isn't a city like it!


The van has been impeccable and we've covered well over 6000km so far, and through no fault of her own she got a puncture, right next to Placa D'Espanya in the center of Barcelona. We have had the van over 4 years and put over 40k km on the clock and this was where we got our first puncture, so no holds barred it was straight into a bus lane across a pavement nearly knocking a old lady over in the process and time to change the tire on one of the busiest roads in the world!


Its all good fun and what makes the trip exciting I guess, we soon got back in the saddle and hit the road to the coast again. We're just going to stay in the area now for a bit catch footy match and hit a camp site and give the van and ourselves a good clean and tidy before we say our goodbyes to Spain and head back to France.
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