Cycling on Spanish Roads and Camping With a View

As we got further into Spain, we had to get used to cycling on Spanish roads. We also found a camping spot with one of the best views of the journey in El Masnou.

In Girona, we found a great spot for camping right by the river that ran through the city. Having left Villeneuve-de-la-Raho at sunrise, we arrived in Girona in the early evening. We had time to enjoy the sun and people watch while having a snack and a few beers.

For a Monday, the park was busy until quite late and from the other side of the river we heard music and a large number of people laughing and singing. We didn’t pay too much attention, but we probably should have. For reasons that became clear the next day when we arrived in El Masnou.

As always, when camping in a public space, we waited until the park emptied before putting our tent up and cooking dinner.

As the sun set, so did the damp. We could tell it was going to be another cold night for us. And that the tent would have collected plenty of dew by the morning.

But we didn’t expect it to be quite that cold.

The night wasn’t too bad since we had prepared for the lower temperatures by layering on the clothes. But the morning. Freezing.

I packed up the still wet tent with numb hands. We wanted to have it wrapped and packed up before anyone could tell us off.

We had no wish to become familiar with the Spanish term for “verboten” – “prohibida”.

Having spent the days and nights since arriving in Marseillan in warmth, the cold in Girona surprised us. We think it must have been so cold because we were further from the sea and at a higher altitude.

It wasn’t long after the sun came up that the temperature picked up again and soon the extra layers could come off.

From Girona, we set our sights back towards the coast and Barcelona.

The idea was to get to and past Barcelona, but we didn’t make it as far as that. We didn’t leave Girona as early as planned, it had already gone ten o’clock before we got on the road. So, having cycled 95 kilometres, we stopped in El Masnou.

We both agreed that we didn’t want to camp in Barcelona itself and El Masnou seemed as good a place to stop as any. The other option was to carry on past Barcelona as planned, but that would have meant looking for somewhere to camp in the dark.

Our plan was to find a supermarket, get some dinner and then search for somewhere to camp.

Remember, I mentioned about Monday evening being very busy in the park and us hearing some music as if people were having a party? And that we didn’t pay it much attention?

Well, we should have. Turns out that the 12th of October is a National day in Spain and all the big shops were closed. Our only option for any kind of dinner was to shop in one of the small shops on the seafront, which were a lot more expensive than our Spanish favourite Mercadona.

But at least we could get dinner and didn’t face a hungry night like we had done a few times in the past.

There was nothing suitable for setting up camp near the beach; it was far too busy. We ended up heading up a hill near a residential area and found a beautiful spot looking towards the sea. It was definitely camping with a view.

It was lovely and quiet being further away from the restaurants and bars of the front.

I realise I haven’t mentioned the roads in Spain yet. They are not for the fainthearted or those new to cycling. We found some dedicated cycle routes in Spain, but mostly we had to ride on roads. That’s what the locals did, too.

We saw lots of cyclists in Spain, only beaten by the cycling paradise of Germany. Road cycling seems to be very popular in Spain and it was great how they gave us kudos as we slowly made our way uphill after uphill. And cruised down the hills on the other side, too.

We had some of the best climbing and downhills in Spain.

But the roads. Even the smaller roads we cycled on had slip roads on and off. Every time you came across one, you had to time it just right. The cars were not slowing down for you. Despite cycling being so popular in Spain, the car drivers were not the most courteous.

You would think they are used to looking out for cyclists and slowing down a little when they see them near slip roads. But they didn’t. Maybe they are too used to cyclists.

It felt that we put our life on the line each time we had to cross one of the slip road junctions. Even after we got used to them.

When we found dedicated cycle routes, they were a bit of a hit and miss. Some were beautiful and spacious, others bumpy as hell. Then there were those that just suddenly ended. Like they had run out of money. But when they were good, they were on the par with some of Germany’s cycle routes.

We just wished there had been more of those great cycle paths.

And to finish, here is a picture of one of our camping stools. It gave up in Girona. Hardly the most comfortable seat after that. We tried to salvage it, but it didn’t  work.

I let Justin use the other one and sat on the ground myself. It was probably more comfortable than those seats, anyway. But then the seats were great to elevate yourself, especially when the ground was cold or damp.

We borrowed them from my parents. I think we owe them a new one. For some reason they didn’t want this one back.

Until next time, and as always, thank you for being here.

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