Day 16: Corneilla-la-Rivière to Lloret de Mar, 175 km (!)
We left Rainer's home this morning in a particularly good mood, having just had a tasty breakfast of fresh pain du chocolat, croissants and baguette. I had just downloaded our new favorite song (I'm a bit embarrassed by how girly it is!) and we sung along with it playing through my phone as we left Corneilla. The wind was at our backs; it was shaping up to be a good day.
The first 40-or-so kilometers through the Pyrenees were fast and beautiful. We crossed the border into Spain without a problem just before noon. And that's when things started going downhill--unfortunately, only in the metaphorical sense. It turned out that our route was on a terrible highway (on which bikes were permitted) that was extremely desolate and not very pretty. Only about 90 km into our day were we able to find somewhere to grab something to eat and escape the heat for a while. The place had wifi, and when I checked my email, it turned out that our host for the night in Parafrugell, only about 30 km away, had cancelled. We frantically searched Warm Showers, contacting any host between where we were and Barcelona. Luckily, Javier and his wife Toni agreed to host us for the night in Lloret de Mar. However, by the time we got everything sorted it was almost 4pm and we still had about 80km to go!
We weren't too excited about the rest of our ride when we set off in the heat. But things quickly took a turn for the best: the first part of our route turned out to be a beautiful road through the mountains and forest with a long, winding climb, which had to have been at least 7km long. It was no wonder that we saw so many cyclists in this route: the view was amazing (pictures don't do it justice) the road smooth, and only maybe five cars passed by the whole time we were up there. We had an equally windy, dizzying descent into a small town and then rode the last 30-40 km into Lloret de Mar. Part of this was the most amazing highway ever--huge, with a wide shoulder, no traffic, and mostly downhill. We had one more steep ascent before finally reaching Lloret.
All in all, this had to be one of my favorite cycling days of our trip. There's nothing quite like seeing amazing views when the sun is low and you're up high on your bike, going fast. In the end, we were very happy that our original Warm Showers host cancelled!
In Lloret de Mar, another touristy seaside town, our host Toni recommended a restaurant where we had a bottle if wine, bread, olives, sausage, mussels, veal and crème brûle, all for only 15€ each! A well deserved treat :)