Day 43 Tuesday 5th July 2016 87km (4021km in total)
“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.” – Danny Kaye
Last night was my final night sleeping in my tent. Today I would hopefully reach Girona where I would fly back from in a few days. I felt a bit sad having my final sleep in the tent as it had done so well. Even though it was very small, it was light, waterproof and practical. I look forward to spending more nights in it in another adventure!
Today I was heading over the pyrenees to Spain. I had planned a route on biggish roads but saw I was on the Euro Velo 8 route which went to La Jonquera. This was in the direction of Girona and thinking it would avoid the busy roads I started to follow the signs.
The garmin kept beeping, telling me to make a U turn. Ignoring this, I carried on the small but smooth road up over the pyrenees. I didn’t pass a single car and there were very few houses.
The higher I went, the air seemed clear with the landscape still green with lots of trees and forests. I realised that most of the trees were Cork trees. The bottom trunk were all stripped recently, leaving them bright orange in colour. As I climbed further I passed more Cork trees which had been cut awhile a go, with the bark turning back to a brown colour.
Very interesting as I’ve never seen any other tree like them! Luckily I found a old piece left on the roadside to bring back as a sovenier. Some of the houses had bundles of Cork outside.
As I contuined to climb higher, the road turned into a cemented path and began much narrower. Too narrow to travel by car but still excellent for bikes. The houses disappeared but the views were great! It was very dry, with lots of warning signs of forest fires and alternative routes. I reached the top and hoped I had climbed the worse.
On the top I somewhere passed the border into Spain, but there certainly weren’t any border controls up here!
The Euro Velo route had linked up with a local route around the area. The tarmac and cement had disappeared and the path suddenly turned into a stony, sand path. It was extremely slow going, especially when the path was soo sandy my wheels would just spin.
Although I had reached the highest point, instead of being able to enjoy a decent that I deserved, the path continued its way around the edge of the mountain. Lots of small but very steep rises made it impossible to cycle, especially with my load. My average speed for the next hour was about 8km/h! I really didn’t see why they would bring the Euro Velo route, which is a long distance path up here. A couple of times I was close to ditching my bike and luggage and hitch a lift to Girona!
Finally I made it down to the valley below and was able to get on the fast, big roads. It made such a different! I was able to ride the same distance in one hour that had taken me three hours this morning!
I started to see the outskirts of Girona, a welcome sight. It was the last location of my adventure and today was my last day of riding. It felt strange knowing it was all coming to an end. I had covered over 4000km, 8 countries and countless memories. Each day I had been concentrating on that day and destination that it was quite sudden arriving in my final country and town.
All the hard work has been done, it was now time to book myself into a rare hotel and relaxed. Tomorrow I will be able to change into my tourist sightseeing shoes and look around Girona’s old streets and cathedral.