Day 33, Vinaros to Colera — 404 km

I was craving green and less dry. I almost got more than I asked for. I had decided to go past Barcelona to the edge of the coast and Pyrrenees, then make my way back when necessary.

Altogether, the world gets greener in Catalunya!

There was a choice for route between El Maestrat, a mountainous region full of fortresses, or the Delta de L’Ebre, a wetlands beside the sea where flamingoes hang out. The weather made the choice for me. As I was leaving the campsite, I noticed black clouds only slightly inland, among the rising altitudes. I headed for the coastal road.

Eventually, my route did go inland, in order to avoid the dense traffic and busy freeways of Barcelona. And it was lovely. I stopped for lunch in an adorable town called Moia, where there seemed to be a lively cafe and restaurant scene. I had actually set a course for a particular restaurant when I realized it was almost lunch time, but it was closed. Not realising the numerous possibilities, I told myself I’d take the first place where people were visibly eating. I ended up with a really nice little cafe in one of the town’s plazas.

Not anticipating a menu in Catalan, I told the waitress I didn’t need the English menu. After a few seconds of puzzling over it, I realized I could still make out almost everything, so I guess I still didn’t. Written Catalan seems very much like a mix between French and Spanish. An example:

Exit (English) = Salida (Spanish) = Sortie (French) = Sortida (Catalan)

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Anyway, she was super sweet. I had my first cava of the trip (which is from Catalunya), and enjoyed a funny variation on a cheese toasty with ketchup: an open-faced cheese toasty with tomato marmalade (yes, it was sweetened and more like a marmalade than like ketchup, which is good, since I don’t care for ketchup). When I was finished, she said the coffee was on the house (I had in fact ordered it), to help me with my ride. And she suggested that if I have time, I cross the border near where I’m now staying, to see a town in France called Collioure. If I can’t get into the Dali house museum in Cadaques tomorrow, I may just do that. Their online reservations said to call instead.

My new campsite is both more my style and not quite what I expected. Thank goodness, there are pine trees, and the ground is grassy. Instead of sun-chasing pensioners, there are busloads of school children doing I’m not sure what, but I don’t think they’re staying the night. I could be wrong. My tent is across from 2 girls in their early 20s. On my right is a Dutch man in his late 60s and his very sweet dog in a camper van. On my left is a young Spanish guy in just a van. There’s a dive center and kayaking/outdoors activity center onsite, and he may be attached to that.

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I set up camp, checked on the pool and the wifi, then walked into the tiny village. The woman in the pharmacy was very friendly and told me where best to find a supermarket (I found another one as well). The man in the supermarket was also very friendly and advised me on regional wines. So I made a few purchases and went back to my tent site for a light dinner (I won’t eat all of this tonight!).

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It’s about 20:00 and getting quite noisy. A group of teenager girls has set up for talking and drinking right next to me. The girls across the way are now blasting tinny bad-quality music from their tent. The kids are still noisy, but have moved on to the restaurant. I have put my earplugs in already. On the plus side, it’s likely to be quiet in the morning. With old people (the past few nights), the drunk ones stay up really late, but the other ones wake up ridiculously early and talk almost as loudly. I’m pretty sure this set of people will be quiet in the morning. But I guess we’ll see.

Rain is expected in this area over the weekend, so I’m not sure what my projected stay will be. Currently, I’m thinking two nights here then perhaps move into a hotel in Girona for the rainy weekend. It’s a big enough city to keep me occupied, but small enough to be easy to get in and out of.

OH! Everyone has gone off to dinner! Earplugs out. Now it’s only normally noisy… I like it. Feels lively without being ridiculous. If the weather were more promising, I had wanted to stay through the weekend and do some kayaking or snorkeling around the rocky coast. We’ll see.

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