Valencia to Berlin by Bike | Week 2

The week started without fever and almost no pain. On Tuesday night Ines and me grabbed the bottle of champagne that had been sitting in the fridge since February and headed to the beach. Sunset, champagne and a midnight swim. The next day I still felt good and settled on the Thursday morning train to Barcelona. We spent the day at the beach, chilling and reading Mangas on deck chairs. It felt like summer holidays.

On Thursday I woke up before the alarm. Gathering the last bits, breakfast and off to the station. Saying goodbye to Ines was hard but this time it felt better. Like ready to leave. Only then I noticed that the week before I wasn’t ready. The evening before my initial set off I said to my friend Alex that I wonder what will break on my first day. Usually something goes wrong the first day, something breaks always. Well, nothing broke on my bike but at Kilometer 16 on my way to Jérica the driver of a car on the other side of the road lost control and crashed into a signpost. I saw it pass, heard the metal scraping on the street border next to me and when I looked back I saw it lifting off and crashing into the pole with a speed of about 70 km/h. Luckily there was no car behind it and the cars behind me a bit further away. I immediately turned around, installed my bike as a warning triangle on the street and ran to the car. The driver was just climbing out, seemingly not hurt, just shocked. It was a very new car and all airbags had fired. The engine fumed. I clearly knew if this would have happened on the other side of the road, the one I was cycling on, I would be dead. Buried under that car. I was shocked as well but there was no time to dwell into that, we had to take care of the driver. Someone called the police and ambulance, a neighbour called the drivers partner. The car didn’t explode but was still fuming and clearly a total wreck. After a while I asked if it was ok if I left and took off. I passed a long line of waiting cars and the first ones were worried if I was hurt. I forgot about this accident, pushed it away because I didn’t want it to take my joy of roadcycling. But surely it occupied my conscience and I feel something changing inside of me. Away from wanting to speed on the fastest roads to more wanting to cruise on less busy roads. And also wanting to travel with a companion. I remembered this incident on the train, the video clip of the accident replaying back and forth in 4D and appreciating very much that I was heading away and not towards Valencia that day. To my delight this experience didn’t scare me off cycling at all. Being back on the road makes me incredibly happy and in France I will check for some bike paths. They have a much bigger and well developed cycling network there than in Spain.

My new first day brought me all the way to Sant Feliu de Guíxols. I had stoped there on my way to Valencia a year ago and really liked the family run Hostal Zurich. I underestimated the last 20 km a bit and arrived at the hostel past 21h and all powered out. I enjoy cycling by the sea but all the cars and people stressed me out and I decided to adjust my route sticking to the inland and taking the boarder crossing in Le Perthus instead of taking the coastal road. Best decision I could have made. Very nice and quiet roads all the way to La Jonquera. I passed the traffic jam on the national road that went up to France and in France it was a nice roll down to Le Boulou. In Le Boulou I met up with my friend Diego and we had a drink in a bar in the garden of a private house that felt like old basement bar. Wouldn’t have been surprised to see my grandmother there (if she hadn’t already passed away). I had my first sirop de menthe in ages and later we loaded the bike into the car and drove to Saint-Paul-de-Fenouillet where Diego and Lotta had a house for a week with the kids. I stayed for two days. We went to climb in trees, chill by a lake and climb a castle.

I’m having trouble uploading photos at the moment (tight mobile data budget). So I will stick to writing for now and upload the photos as soon as I can.

Day 8-10: Valencia

Day 11 (8.8.19): Valencia – Barcelona – Sant Feliu de Guíxols: 113.98 km plus 300 km by train

Day 12: Sant Feliu de Guíxols – Garriulla: 85.52 km

Day 13: Garriulla – Le Boulou – Saint-Paul-de-Fenouillet: 42.79 km (plus ca. 70 km car ride)

Day 14: Saint-Paul-de-Fenouillet rest day: 0 km

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