I left the campsite and stopped at a little café for breakfast. I would have prefered fruit and yoghurt but there weren’t any shops open. The temptation to go back to the English pub for full-English was great, but they didn’t open till 10. However, this proved to be one of the best breakfasts I have had this trip – a cheese roll, a chocolate croissant, coffee and orange juice (330 ml. Pago) for just over 5 Euros.
Unlike Grau du Roi I didn’t like Lloret any more next morning. In fact I don’t know how anyone can come to this part of the coast for a holiday. The road was full of traffic and the only times I got lost were when I tried to get away from it. At some point it was possible to cycle along the sea front and this was enjoyable, though slow-going due to all the pedestrians.
Then there was a big hill – more like an enormous rock to circumnavigate and the ONLY way was on the road. Once on it the only ways of leaving it to seemed to be in the towns, where I could go on service roads or the wide tiled pavements which I nearly always took despite them being slow going – lots of traffic lights, up and down kerbs etc. Despite a motorway running parallel, there was a tremendous amount of traffic, but fortunately not many lorries, and usually a wide hard shoulder, but it still wasn’t pleasant – this should be my last day – the big one / and now this horror trip! Between the beach and the road runs a railway line with ugly overhead cables, preventing a decent view. The guest accommodation was nearly all to the other side of the road and there were subways in every town for people to go under road and rail to the beach.
I hadn’t shopped for cheese and tomatoes (not that I would have found a nice place for a picnic anyway) as I had decided to treat myself to tapas for lunch at some nice little café en route. Well obviously without doing a detour, they were all near the road and I eventually stopped at one, where I had not tapas, but an excellent lunch at a low cost.
As I sat there, I thought “You never would have planned a route like this!”, so I got out my bike-map printout and it seemed to show a little yellow road along the coast. This was not recognisable on the “proper” Micheein map I had been using. Just before lunch I had seen a subway with a ramp (most of them are just stairs), so I went under road and rail and what did I find? Not a yellow road, but a cycle track!!! I don’t know how much of this I had missed, but everything changed from horror to pure delight within seconds. I stayed on it until about 10 kms. before Barcelona and decided I wanted a swim in the sea. But everyone had said how careful you have to be in Barcelona and I was scared to leave my stuff unattended on the beach. What to do?
I found an impressive looking Club Nautique, went in, explained my situation and asked if I could pay to leave my valuables there for half an hour. After he had finally understood what I wanted, the man was extremely cooperative and a lady who was also in there and had interpreted, said I should also leave my bike within his sights too, so he could keep an eye on it! I had a fabulous swim and on collecting my things asked the price – no nada! I wanted him to take money for a coffee or a beer, but he declined in such a manner that I know he would have been offended if I’d insisted.
After that the cycle route seemed to end because of the port of Badalona, but I finally found it again and followed it to Barcelona. I was feeling quite sick with anticipation, but no big bells rang, no firework display, no bubbly or bouquet, no I didn’t even see a sign that I was in Barcelona! I had been told that I would pass Barcelona port, but it didn’t come and when I finally consulted map and GPS I found I had gone too far! This time my NOKIA did take me all the way to the youth hostel without further hiccups, so after settling in I went out for a good meal and half a litre of sangria!
Tour stats: 81,05 km., 150 m. climb, 6:51 bike time