Monday, 7 May 2012

From Barcelona to Tehran: Day Four

Day Four: Out of Spain, into France    
May 3, 2012; Distance covered today: 75 Km; Total: 282 Km

I woke up at about 8, had three boiled eggs with Baguette, and packed up. When I wanted to unlock the bike, I realized that I had no idea where I had put the key! I checked a few things that I usually keep the key in, then I remembered that I had left it in the washroom. Luckily, the key was still there; however, I had a double just in case anyways.

I left at nine. After 15 Km or so I saw a huge fortress on top of a hill. It was built in a strategic location. It reminded me of Alamoot fortress in Iran. I stopped, locked the bike and climbed up the hill to see the fortress, but to my surprise, it was closed! What a pity! I got to see the scenery from the tope though.
The area close to Spanish and French border is very mountainous. I had to climb up and down many many hills. When I was climbing, I was doing 7 Km/h and when coasting down, my top speed reached 60 Km/h. But in general, with this heavy load I have, I am much slower than when I ride in flat areas.
In a village on my way, I saw two American cyclists who were getting set to start the pilgrimage route . They had very little to carry and had planned to jstay in hotels on the way, and they had only 500 miles to cover. They were very funny. I gave them my map since I was about to enter France. They asked me if I needed a map of Iran in return!

French border is on top of a very high hill/mountain in that region. I was very excited to see the border sign. I took a photo just for the record. It kind of feels great to pass a border on a bike.

Spanish/French baguettes are really delicious. I got one for lunch and devoured it with cheese. The first thing I noticed was that the people on the French side do not say Bonjour or any kind of greeting to me; on the Spanish side, however, people would say “holar”. Not even once did anyone greet to me first. What is more, when I wanted to pay for the baguette and cheese that I bought in a French supermarket, the cash register asked me to open my handle-bar bag to see if I was hiding anything in it!! I was really annoyed, but I did it with no complaint. Maybe this is the norm in France. . I opened the bag, she said “daka daka”.

At about 6:30, I went to the Tourist Information Office in a resort town and asked about campgrounds. I found one which was only 12 Euros! When I went to the campground to check in, the lady in charge said, “12 o’clock”. I was shocked! Why 12 o’clock?” Then she laughed and said, “12 Euros”. Her English was nonexistent. It was a very good campground with free Wifi!!

Taking a Break


Elevation Close to the Border

First Scene in France

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