Drinking generous amounts of French Rosé Wine induces deep sleep – this is my learning for yesterday’s fabulous evening with my B&B’s hosts, sharing dinner and them telling me many things about France I didn’t know yet.
Today, I’m crossing into Spain and will meet up with my family in Barcelona.
Before thinking further about my drive today, my hosts have prepared breakfast for me in the courtyard.
Everything is homemade or sourced within 10 km. I just love these people – such attention to detail and sustainability!
Back to my trip for today.
I’ve chosen to stick to the coast as much as possible. This means I’ll have a few roads like the following stretch today:
…and I’m really looking forward to them. More on these parts later.
After saying good bye and thank you to my hosts, I’m on my way – the sun is rising and I’m feeling really good.
Not only are all the temperatures nominal for my TWIKE – an open canopy with these temperatures allows me to smile back at all the people that wave or smile at TW560 whilst driving through small village after small village. I’m back to TWIKE nirvana.
With the sun slowly rising, the colours of the landscapes spring to life.
Getting back to the coast, we’re also back to the salt flats and other larger salt water lakes inland – the clear skies, very dry air and harsh sunlight create very strong colours and super-defined imagery. No filters were applied to the following photos!
The hills in the background are about 90 km away!
I’m contemplating an own page for these pictures!
Heading further south along the same lake – deep blue water calms the mind.
I just love the view from my TWIKE in such moments – such a treat!
Slowly driving towards the Pyrenees, I have a constant reference as to how far I still have to go to get to Spain. I will cross the mountain range at one of its lowest points on the coastal road.
However, due to the exceptionally clear weather, they look much closer than they are in reality – I drive and drive and they never seem to come closer!
Not really bothered by this as I can look left and have a beautiful view of the sea.
France’s south is inundated by tourists – driving through the coastal villages at 9 am one could think there is some kind of running/walking event going on. Literally hundreds of people are running and Nordic walking in mostly quite professional gear along the coast.
After another hour of relaxing driving, finally, I get to drive along my windy road that takes me up to the border between France and Spain.
…and there we are! The views are just breathtaking.
Locals I meet tell me that this is the best time to drive this road – best temperatures, best light, least traffic. Two weeks later when all the tourists from France start their vacation the road becomes ‘undrivable’ according to them – lucky me!
With one last climb up to around 200 metres above sea level (which felt like really high) I finally cross into Spain!
What a feeling! Driving from Switzerland to here without using the motorway has given me a very good understanding of just how far away Spain is vs. 75 minutes flying! (And it feels really good as I’m doing it at a fraction of the energy usually required for this trip!)
Also, TW560 gets to pin another country in its ‘TW560 vs. the World‘ page. As you can see, TW560 has to drive quite far nowadays to garner a new pin!
Nothing to add – just plain TWIKE bliss. Check out the video below – it shows my descent just after crossing into Spain. Beautiful views also around 1:06.
Language-wise I’m still fine – my Spanish is sufficient to get anything I need, have simple conversations and explain anything of interest regarding the TWIKE…which is required basically anytime I stop anywhere. Spanish people are much more vocal about their interest or feelings towards the TWIKE – many thumbs-up or people waving out of cars and anytime I’m at a red light, people lower their windows and just start asking questions.
Even with the climbs, I’m driving further than ever before with the same given amount of energy: today it’s 114 km until 400V OCV.
The next 70-80 km are just really nice coastal roads with very good surfaces and little traffic. Now and then I stop to take pictures or buy more water or isotonic beverages to drink. It’s very hot and I’m sweating a lot. Also, with the temperatures I’m experiencing, I better stop regulary to buy new water… see for yourself:
By mid-day I’m already at over two litres and haven’t been stopping too much if you know what I mean…
Even though it sometimes feels like I’m driving up and down mountains, signs like the following bring be back to the reality of me just driving along the sea up and back down to sea level.
Eventually, I cross the Pyrenees and Spain’s flat-lands await – I’m not too happy, as this means endless straight roads with many, many roundabouts (around which Spaniards don’t know how to drive) and speed bumps for which I will have to break down to 15 kph in order to avoid my spine being compressed each time…
One thing I can, however, report is that the road surfaces remain very, very good. This not only makes my drive comfortable, but also brings my consumption down considerably.
Eventually, I get to see the first road sign announcing Barcelona. It’s still around 150 km until I’m where I will meet with my family but it’s a very good feeling to know I’m getting close!
Instead of taking the direct road, I’ve still got another little treat in store for me: Around 35 km of tiny coastal road with some smaller hills.
These kilometres turn out to be yet another perfect stretch of road with no traffic and magnificent views!
Time to prove it was indeed me driving today!
Just a quick last pic to show you what this last stretch of interesting road looked like.
The rest of the trip was driving into Barcelona’s suburbs, navigating many, many roundabouts, non-synchronized red lights, speed-bumps and heavy traffic. Definitely not fun.
But then, finally, I make it – thanks to TW560 being tracked by GPS, my family waits for me outside the hotel we booked for the next two days and films my arrival:
Really happy I made it! Looking forward to a drive-free day in Barcelona before heading further south.
day 1: _180.5 km / _9729 Wh / 53.9 Wh/km / 00.00 CHF
day 2: _417.5 km / 14669 Wh / 35.1 Wh/km / 00.00 CHF
day 3: _393.5 km / 13528 Wh / 34.4 Wh/km / 00.00 CHF
day 4: _383.2 km / 14019 Wh / 36.6 Wh/km / 00.00 CHF
Total: 1374.7 km / 51945 Wh / 37.8 Wh/km / 00.00 CHF
In the secure parking garage, the hotel has agreed to let me charge the TWIKE – 48h for 15kWh = a very slow charge 🙂
Have a good rest, TW560!