Monthly Archives: June 2013

SNORKELING, HIKING, IT`S LIKE A VACATION

I know this blog is JEFFS BIKE TOUR, but part of bike touring is the freedom to do what comes down the road. This little town of Colera came down the road. I don’t have to catch a bus, train or plane just pedal to my next destination. So I took a little vacation from traveling, to enjoy the sights.
Went snorkeling yesterday, me & 4 (non english speaking) older French scuba divers. All that scuba equipment is so encumbering, snorkeling is so simple and fun. The Mediteraean isn’t the great barrier reef, but it was just me and the guide, so we saw a lot of sea life. We saw a MORAY EEL some starfish, coral, and some fish. He brought some bread & that brought the fish. There was a migration of Monk Fish, they had a shark like fin jetting out of the water.

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THERE WERE NUMEROUS SIGHTINGS
COLERA DIVING CENTER is a well run operation & affordable. Its a great place for beginners to learn to dive. The staff is super friendly and knowledgeable. The boat that took us out was super fast and comfortable.

20130630-110904.jpg THIS IS TETE MY UNDERWATER GUIDE AND ONLY ENGLISH SPEAKER ON THE BOAT
Like I said earlier the boat was great

20130630-111242.jpg OUR CAPTAIN DAVID , ME AND TETE
After a fun morning on the water I stop by to see the artist, Nuria. She is a hard worker, art doesn’t
make itself.

20130630-111617.jpg THIS IS ONE OF HER CERAMIC LAMPS.
She a genius artist, but like most artist not very good at business, she didn’t even have business cards. I suggested she make a sign for her Studio/Gallery, in 3 languages spainish, french & English. Said she was going to when she got back from camping and would send me a photo. I thought we were going to go to dinner, nope. We were headed to her community garden plot, that needed some help. Its so windy here at times you could see the top soil flying away. After weeding for an hour I suggested (I have my master gardener certificate) that we cover the soil with the weeds we pulled and after they dry out, dig them into the soil. At my garden at home I plant a cover crop of crimson clover, that supplies both nitrogen and mulch to the soil.

20130630-112727.jpg THIS IS A NURIA AND HER FRIEND SIETA (?)
Nurias art is all over town.

20130630-113046.jpgTHIS IS A FULL SIZE CERAMIC MERMAID THATS AT THE CAMPGROUND
I hadn’t seen the sculpture yet,cars were always parked in front of it. People come from all around to eat here. She didn’t know the english name for mermaid, so she called it WOMEN FISH.

20130630-113252.jpgTHIS ISTHE FISH POND AT THE CAMPGROUND
You all know how much I like hiking, NOT. But they really promote several hikes around here,so here I go. I make one failed attempt and decide to get up early the next day and make another try. I head to the abandoned town of Molinas. I must be getting close,but then a van comes driving up and of course I try to hitchhike, I get a ride and he speaks english,score. He said the last person he expected to see on this road was an American. I told him this is the last place I thought I would be considering Im doing a bike trip. He lives nearby and had never been to Molinas, he came to photograph the remains of the town.

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I ride by some hikers from the campground, they accuse the American of taking the car all the way.
I stay and hang around the photographer, we meet a young couple who got a 20 year lease on one of the houses if they fix it up. I don’t want to leave his side, english. but I head out to the Molinas CASTLE. there wasn’t much left of the castle.

20130630-120856.jpgTHE ARCHWAY WAS PRETTY AMAZING
Walking does have its advantages, you can see so much. The cactus are blooming now

20130630-121423.jpgTHE BEES WERE WORKING THE CACTUS FLOWERS

20130630-121936.jpg WHILE HIKING I WOULD COME TO SPOTS THAT HAD BUTTERFLIES EVERYWHERE, HOPE FOR THE FUTURE OF THE PLANET.
So Im somewhat aimlessly hiking and I come upon this bench.

20130630-122434.jpgIM IN THE MIDDLE OF NO WHERE AND THERES THIS STONE BENCH WITH WATER TRICKLING OUT A SMALL PIPE.
I continue my hike, trying to find the Church of Sant Miquel

20130630-123110.jpgI CAN SEE IT FROM THE TRAIL, BUT CANT FIGURE OUT HOW TO REACH IT?
I give up and hike back, I come to the stone bench again. Ive had a landscaping business for 25 years and decided to apply my skills. I pulled the berry vines & weeds, swept up using a yep, a scotch broom branch.

20130630-123617.jpgTHIS IS THE WRONG PHOTO THE RIGHT ONE IS AT THE END OF THE BLOG?
I was walking the beach the other day, found a plastic bag and filled it with garbage I found on the beach. Later a resident said she saw me and thanked me. I told her you cant just take from places you have to give back.
Im hiking back and my feet have given up. I hear a car coming, I stick out my thumb, presto 2 rides in one day! Im walking the road back to camp and what do I see, a short cut to the SANT MIQUEL CAMPGROUND.

20130630-132545.jpgTHATS THE CAMPGROUND, HIKED THE TRAIL AND JUMPED THE FENCE IM HOME!
I head straight for the pool and see my fellow hikers, they cant believe I just got back, they said they had a siesta.
Tonight the Diving company is having a little meet and greet.

20130630-133028.jpg DELORES (hostess in rest.) & SERGE (dive shop owner) SERVING UP SANGRIA FOR FELLOW DIVERS
They had a least 50 people show up for the meet and greet.

20130630-170710.jpgCONSIDER THE POPULATION OF COLERA IS 575 THIS IS A LOT OF PEOPLE.
I was going to leave Colera June 1, but theres a problem. I sent a box from Seville, Spain with all my souvenirs from Morocco. I kept asking my friends if they got the package yet? NO,NO,NO. So Im about 5 miles from France so if Im going to sort this out, its now. Nuria drove me to the next town that had a post office. They scanned my receipt and found that the package is sitting on a shelf in Seville. Why? good question, they couldn’t tell me why. So their sending the package to the Post Office here. It could take 3,4,5 days? Its not like Im suffering here, I needed an excuse to stay longer and I got one. Now I can rebox and add the stuff I bought since Seville. Its all good in the end.
The new photos are HERE
Their way down there, maybe from the art park down
I hope you all appreciate this blog between writing and downloading 7 to 8 hours, its a job, that I love.
till next time
Jeff

20130630-211120.jpgTHIS IS THE CLEANED UP BENCH PHOTO, I DONT KNOW WHAT HAPPENED?
I really wanted to post these 2 pictures of the sunset sky llast night.

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COLERA, SPAIN AND UPDATED PHOTOS

COLERA is one of the last towns before France. I’ve ridden from Barcelona to here, Ive watched the beach towns disintegrate to this, saving the best for last. This town is the winner, hands down.You can see from the wikipedia page, they don’t say much about this town. Thats the charm, during the week it is so quiet.

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EVERY TOWN HAD HOUSES UP THE HILLSIDES, HERE? NONE! THATS THE ART PARK ON THE UPPER RIGHT.

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THIS IS THE TOWN SQUARE WITH FREE WIFI
There are NO cars here, downtown is beautifully quiet. I was here an hour and I decided to stay a week. I met this awesome artist, her stuff was so over the top creative. Im considering putting together a show back home or NYC! Im going to met with her soon and talk about it, she speaks NO english, in case you were wondering.
Did a little mountain biking, it was a step above what the Bike Friday could do, safely.

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I rode my bike around town takes 5 to 10 minutes, but I road to ART PARC and saw a different view of Colera. The laid back lifestyle is so refreshing after the chaos of Barcelona. It would take you 2 weeks of hard work to see all of Barcelona, I was only there 4 days, I met several people who came to Barcelona and have stayed 10 years, so far. Its an amazing city, that I want to revisit sometime.

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I MET THIS FRENCH/ITALIAN COUPLE DOWNTOWN
I take photos of other bike touring people. So we stood on the street and joked and laughed for 1/2 hour, then they wanted a photo, then we went for coffee and beer. They were riding to Cadaques, the home of DALI, the ARTIST.
I was told by several people, including Jesus, that I had to go to Cadaques. Im at the top of the hill and met this Austrian couple

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THEY SAID I HAD TO VISIT TOO, ITS EASY BACK UP! 5KM STRAIGHT DOWN AND UP.
I should have just stayed and camped, instead I rode to Colera, good decision.
.

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CADAQUES IS A CUTE LITTLE TOWN
So back to Colera and the French couple, we had our picture taken where this little boy metal statue is trying to give crab(s) to the other little boy.

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THIS IS ANDREA AND ELISA THEY (WE) WERE SUPER FUNNY I WANTED THEM TO STAY HERE AND LAUGH SOME MORE, INSTEAD THEY RODE TO CADAQUES.
they said they were going to stop on the way back to see if I was still here,? YEP!
The camping is only $13 a night. Im eating out a lot more now, it was $40 in Barcelona for a hostel room, with 5 other people and no pool!.

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THE RESTAURANT AT THE CAMPGROUND IS AWESOME, SALMON PIZZA WITH GOAT CHEESE. I couldn’t wait for the photo hence the bite.
The campground has a certified dive shop on site. Im going snorkeling tomorrow with wetsuit $35. I love these non touristic type towns, everything is a bargain.
People from Portland know Corey (solid gold) lives here in France. I wanted to visit him, but Im so far away Ill never get there before he heads to Portland, to visit you all. Im trying to get him to saddle up and join me for a couple days.

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A LITTLE FRENCH SPEEDO ACTION

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NUDIA THE ARTIST ANTS
IVE UPLOADED THE PHOTOS THAT ARE NOT POSTED ON THE BLOG
THEY CAN BE FOUND HERE
YOULL HAVE TO SCROLL DOWN IM WORKING ON A BETTER SYSTEM, SOON.
TILL NEXT TIME
JEFF
REMEMBER TO RIDE YOUR BIKE.

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BREAKFAST THIS MORNING, MULTIGRAIN OATMEAL WITH NECTARINES/APRICOTS & YOGURT

A DAY AT THE CAMPGROUND PLUS TATOO

I spent the day doing laundry, hanging out at the campground, writing post cards, tattooing and taking photos.

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THIS FAMILY WAS HAVING LUNCH INTHE CAMPGROUND, BBQ SARDINES

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THIS PICTURE NEEDS NO EXPLANATION OTHER THAN RETIREMENT CAN BE GOOD

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THIS WHERE EVERYONE DOES THERE DISHES AND I DID MY LAUNDRY

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ELECTRIC BIKES ARE EVERYWHERE HERE

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INTERNATIONAL CAMPING ROW
People come from all over Europe and Retirees they spend months here, it’s pretty awesome

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INSIDE MY BEDROOM (TENT)

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LUCAS FROM ETERITE TATOO AND PIERCING GETTING READY

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MOON FROM MY SEAT IN THE CAMPGROUND

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COFFEE IN TOWN

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MY CAMPING SPOT IN ROSES SPAIN

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MY FIRST TATTOO
Since my bike has no upper cross bar, I cant straddle the bike to keep it upright when I stop. So everyday when I stop, at least once everyday the chain leans on my leg and leaves this chain mark, I just decided to make it permanent.
Heading for France today, people who live here tell me the French coast is even nicer than the Spanish coast. Thats hard for me to believe, but Ill see soon enough.
Until next time
Jeff

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DINNER COMING UP THE TENT

BIKING TOSSA de MAR to ROSES

SUNDAY JUNE 21 10 AM

The mocking birds are squabbling in the trees above me as I start this posting. Leaving the Casa Llevado Campground was difficult. Every place I`ve stayed I wanted to stay longer, bar none. The gardener at the campground was telling me he was a biker, not only was it in Spainish, he was deaf & couldn`t speak very well. But I understood when he showed me his lower calf muscle, put mine to shame. They gave me a huge photo send off!

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HE WANTED TO WEAR MY HELMET AND HAVE HIS PHOTO TAKEN ON MY BIKE
This trip is so full of awesome experiences, Im so lucky to be able to do this and share it with all of you.
Its 3km downhill to Tossa, I find the grocery store and stock up. Im the kind of person who keeps a supply of food at home and on the bike too. But there are so many stores and places to eat Im carrying more food than I need to, really. I cook most of my meals. What do I eat? Oatmeal with a small flavored yogurt for breakfast, mini sub sandwiches for lunch, pasta with a bag of frozen vegetables, tuna and different soups for a sauce. Im going out tonight, Ive already scoped out the place, it was recommended by a local, expensive but I need a pasta break.
So Im back on the highway, where are the cars? There are literally no cars on the road. I cant figure out why? So as Im riding Im thinking this is the most beautiful rides Ive ever done. I look on the map and most cars take the highway around this twisted and turning road. I was able to pedal the whole thing I never walked once.

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THIS SIGN MAKES SENSE IF THERE WERE ANY CARS, BUT THERE WERE`NT ANY.

So I arrive at SANT FELIU de GUIXOLS I need a bathroom, theres one on the Esplanade. I ask this guy if he would watch my bike while I go, no problem. I order a coffee AMERICANO! for an AMERICANO, its been a good line I’ve used frequently. An Americano is their espresso with more water, for weak American coffee drinkers. I learn my new friends name is Jesus, he joked about it too, ~not that one. We have coffee together, he lives here. He had been kayaking in the bay I help load the kayak on to his car. As he is leaving he came over and gave me contact information and come back and stay with him. One life baby. I was telling him how great that part of the road was, well it turns out I was right about it. He tells me that NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC named TOSSA de MAR a top 6 must visit places in 2012, no doubt.

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JESUS RECOMMENDS I TAKE THIS BIKE PATH TO THE NEXT TOWN, THANKS JESUS

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I camped in L ESCALA, it was the first campground I wasn’t interested in staying longer at. I did meet a cyclist named Graham, from Vancouver BC, that has travelled by bike internationally more than me. He did Africa and some Middle East stuff, I was impressed. He was not cooking his food, he went out for every meal. He must have had an inheritance or something, he was only 43 years old. Its special when I go out once in awhile.
So Im in ROSES now, camping in town for about $22 a night. Im sending the rest of my Spanish post cards and finishing up this blog, its like a job this traveling. Im close to France maybe 40km, should be there in a couple of days. I already miss you Spain and Im still here. More on that after I leave Spain..
Till next time, send this blog link to your friends, I try to make it fun and informative.
Jeff

HIKING TO TOSSA de MAR

I met an older couple, (coming from me thats funny), he really liked my bike trip and took photos several times. So I was telling them how I didn’t like walking. As they proceeded to tell me about a 3km walk along the ocean shore & you can take the bus back to the campground. I thought that sounded doable. The next day I started the day with a swim, Im camped right next to the pool. So I make a few cheese & meat sandwiches, fill the water bottle and head out.
I started by walking on a dirt road which is wide enough for a car, I see a trail to the shore direction and head that way. I missed a turn and reached a point where it was too step and it drop offs into the ocean. I decide to head back the way I came and then I spot a painted arrow and then some dots. So I follow them pretty soon a marked trail appears. There were several trail options the painted one is the one I took. I was out on a rock ledge having lunch when one of the tour boats came by, it felt good to know I had hiked out there.

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I LIKE HIKING WHEN ITS THIS BEAUTIFUL

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THEY ADDED THE ROPE TO MAKE YOU FEEL A LITLE MORE SECURE, MUCH GRACIOUS

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THIS IS THE SPANISH COAST CACTI AND PALM TREES

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THIS IS TOSSA DE MARS HISTORY
TOSSA DA MAR was a gem of a town. I met a young Polish couple, Emilia & Wojtek. i took their photo after many failed attempts. I suggested they get an I phone next time. They were super funny, kind of wish we hung out longer. Then I kept being asked to take photos of all these Russian women. When I got to the city center it was like little Moscow. I never heard Spanish spoken only Russian. So they said you could take the bus back to the campground. I thought its only 4 or 5 km, Ill hitchhike, I tried everything, hand signal that I was going a short distance, smiling, waving, no ride, not even a hint that I might get a ride.

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WHILE TRYING TO HICH HIKE I SAW THIS CAMPER PARKED AT THE EDGE OF TOWN
This was a great idea if your traveling with a family. Parking is nearly impossible in these towns with their super narrow one way streets. These people parked out of town and bike in with the kid trailer, genius!

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DOWNTOWN TOSSA

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THE STOME WALKWAYS WERE IN PRIMO SHAPE, THIS TOWN WAS AMAZING
Im working on another post about my bike ride through Tossa and beyond. I met someone who lives in Tossa and they drop the de Mar part, its just Tossa, for me too.
till next time
thanks for reading
Jeff

BARCELONA TO BARCELONA CAMPGROUND & BEYOND

Riding from Barcelona was awesome at first, got lost a little saw more monuments and art. I cant download the pictures from my phone yet. While riding I wanted to find a bakery and get a chocolate croissant. Found a place and bought two chicken sandwiches with a multmulti- grain bread & covered with seeds. I’ve been dying for some good bread. The hostel gave just white bread, 4 breakfasts of that was too much. The croissant, over the top both ends of the croissant were heavily dipped in chocolate. I stood outside the bakery and ate it. It was so good I went in and told the baker how much I liked it. He gives me a bottle of water to go, this trip has been so awesome.
I rode the esplanades for probably 15km . I had a head wind all day of probably 35km. I was getting worked real hard. After the esplanades ended it was rough out there. Between the beach towns it was 2 lanes in one direction, no shoulder and a guardrail. I stopped and considered taking the commuter train that runs right next to the ocean. I would sometimes ride on the left side on the sidewalk, but that ended when the town ended.
I finally made it to the Barcelona Campground. Hot shower, swim and cooked some-dinner. I couldn’t get the tent stakes in, so I asked around and borrowed this really fun French couples hammer. We stayed up late talking, she spoke great english and he was good too. She did some translation it was a really fun night. Parking and driving is so difficult in Barcelona that the campground gives a free shuttle ride several times a day to Barcelona for people staying there. Camping cost nearly what it cost to park in Barcelona. The bus takes about 45 minutes. Everyone tries to avoid the toll so they take the coast road instead, so its packed. It should only take 30 minutes.
Something good about Morocco, Im still eating the dates I got in there.
I bought starbucks De-caf by accident so on the way out of the campground I stopped at the office and offered them to the clerk, she said she drinks De-caf. She was so happy, she goes, its Starbucks, it must be good. There were at least 10 starbucks in Barcelona.
So Im on the guardrail highway again, not fun. I see the train station and decide to try it. I put the bike and me on for $5. Maybe went 25-30km? Talked to this German guy who was living there, he inherited his fathers apartment and restaurant. Said the person renting the restaurant hasn’t paid rent in 8 months and was getting an attorney to evict. He told me he had biked where I was going. Said it was some of the most beautiful coast in Spain, so far hes right. Reminds me of Big Sur along Highway 1 in California, except theres less cars here.
I bike to Cala Llevado campground. The ocean is a little cliffish around here. So for 12 euro or $16 I get a nudist beach, regular beach, swimming pool overlooking the Mediterranean,super clean facilities. I feel like I’m living a dream. I went down to the ocean and body surfed (nude), had a hit, went up to the pool and swam some laps. Im cooking some dinner and I don’t know much after that.

qbn

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I

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I asked for a table and chair presto, were in.
Till next time
Jeff

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SUNSET

BARCELONA, SPAIN

JUNE 17 2013 5PM
Bike touring tends to jade you about doing the Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona tours and just visiting the smaller cities and national parks/. I only wanted to spend one or two days here, but Im on day four. Im really impressed with this city, Im slowly learning my way around BY BIKE! I haven’t ridden the bus or subway, yet.
I wasted my first day on a GAUDI walking tour, that never happened. The free tour is given by some transplants trying to eek out a living here. We meet and they vote to do the GOTHIC TOUR. I have a serious case of plantar fasciitis, walking is the last thing I want to do. Well they have 2 tours and the guide promised me the 4pm tour would be the Gaudi Tour. Its 1pm so I eat shop and walk, at 4pm they repeat the gothic tour. By this point my foot are over the top in pain, Ive taken my second percocet (pain killer)by this time.
Why Im telling this story, is to show the power of the bicycle.

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BARCELONA CATHEDRAL

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THIS IS A DAWING PICASSO USED TO PAY FOR DINNER ITS ON THE SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE BUILDING
So I decide to visit GAUDI SAGRADA FAMILIA on my own. What a religious monument, the story of the bible is everywhere. I took a few pictures.

20130617-165957.jpg HE USED NATURE AS HIS GUIDE FOR DESIGN AS YOU CAN SEE IN THESE SUPPORT PILLARS THAT LOOK LIKE TREES.
The museum cost $25 so I stayed a read everything I could read. They had a plaque that said GIVE US OUR DAILY BREAD, in 50 languages. He also used the bees honeycomb for design concepts.

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20130617-170752.jpg He died being hit by a tram, he had no ID on him, he was dressed like a homeless person, at first people didn’t know who he was.
Its time to bike around some, I kept riding by Gaudi buildings.

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CASA MILA BARCELONA OR LA PEDRERA

20130617-171709.jpg CASA BATILLO
I saw/found these GAUDI BUILDINGS by just riding my bike around. So F the tour guide, get a bike and explore, you can always save yourself with google maps!
Then I saw this tram, so I road to the hilltop where it landed, but not before going through the international arboretum on the way up. At the very top was the nicest castle I’ve seen and Ive seen about 10. It was a great bike ride, the bike path had enough switchbacks you could pedal the whole thing.

20130617-173756.jpg THERE ARE 8 HUGE CRUISE SHIPS DOCKED, THE STREETS ARE PACKED.

20130617-174010.jpg AND SO ARE THE BEACHES

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THIS IS TORRE AGBAR TOWER It uses LEDS to change colors Im going to dinner by there tonight,. cant wait.
So my wheel was a little out of true, I went to this bike shop and had it fixed. They had the Surly Long Haul Trucker, the bike I originally bought for this trip. The had panniers basically everything for touring, it was like home. They had an awesome t-shirt collection.

20130617-175504.jpg I bought this one, I HAD TO.

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So on the streets are the purse sellers, who move around town. I sat and watched for awhile, they sell a lot, I thought.

20130617-175945.jpgTHEY TIE ROPE TO ALL 4 CORNERS SO THEY CAN PULL UP SHOP IN A MOMENTS NOTICE.

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20130617-181032.jpg THIS IS A PICTURE FROM THE ARBORETUM.
Ive been wanting a Barcelona football jersey, the NIKE one cost $100, the fan one $40.

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for a little more $

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YEP ITS OFFICAL NOW
TILL NEXT TIME
JEFF
6/18/2013
Several people said I had to visit Parc Güell so I got up early & biked UP here. Though I did find an escalator to help at the end.

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It’s overcast today, heading back to the Hostal to pack up and start riding again!