SPAIN: BIKING BARCELONA TO COLERA (French Border)

NOW, JUST ASSEMBLE AND RIDE AWAY (& I did!)

I grabbed a car share ride, BlaBla Car, from Madrid to Barcelona. The folding bike makes all options of transportation available: train, bus, ride share & best of all? You have a bike to ride! I was dropped off at the train station, found some shade and put the bike together. I’ve been to Barcelona 3 times & La Familia twice, I wasn’t planning on visiting this time. While biking the 22km to Camping Masnou I noticed the 250km of bike lanes around Barcelona, they were very inviting. From the campground you can put your bike on the train for 5euro, roundtrip into Barcelona. This is a great way to visit Barcelona and save some money too.

Of course I have to do some craft beer research. I go to my first place, attempt to lock my bike outside the pub. The guy started yelling at me and said I couldn’t put my bike there, bye. Then I went to Garage Beer, asked if I could park my bike inside, “no problem.” There are lots of bike lanes in Barcelona, but basically NO bike parking. That’s an important part of making a city bike friendly. I see these 3 friends (?) come in for a beer, I was kinda of jealous, Until minutes later they’re all looking into their phones, it’s so sad. I biked a lot around Barcelona, I never saw a neighborhood with houses, everyone seems to live in apartments. Mexican food in Europe is a rare find, but Taco Alto changed everything. Meat, seafood and vegan options, I went back everyday while in Barcelona.

I was attempting to beat the tourist rush, but Barcelona seemed to be in high gear already. I had crafts business for 10 years and always try to support them, when I can. I bought some hand made underwear with bicycles, had to have them. She said it was organic cotton too! Where they’re going, maybe not so important.

Three days in Barcelona and time to move on. The highway from the campground is fast and a little dangerous. So I pinched the train for about 10km, where it becomes more bike friendly (safer!). I biked this route 9 years ago, I stayed in 3 different campgrounds that already had me in the computer, no passport needed. It rained only 2 days in the 7 weeks. But the 2 days? I got a hostel room for those 2 days.

For a change, I decided to cut inland some. The 50km winds were unrelenting, the battery was going fast. I found a restaurant, recharged the battery while I had a super lunch. Here’s a few photos of the different roads.

windy video

FARMERS (WE) LOST LOTS OF APPLES FROM THE WIND

Is there racism in nature? While riding through some rice fields the white birds were on one side and the black birds on the other.

Several people said a must visit is El Porta de la Selva. El Porta de la Selva Campground is a family run Campground, it’s a must stay place. I was there the first week in June, before the tourist onslaught. Swimming pool, shady campsites, awesome showers (no timer), restaurant (vegan burger!) & a store. I will be going back either this fall or next spring.

There was someone driving through looking for a campsite. I suggested over here, next to me :), nope:(. I walked by their spot and reiterated, next to the orange tent is best. She made a very funny comment, I told her, she was good. Later she gave me a restaurant recommendation. I challenged her to a game (or 2) of pool after. She claimed, “I’m not very good.” That turned out to be fun times. The owner treated us to an “after hours” party. Then we had met for a dinner and lunch over the next days, vegan, scored. It was fun to have someone to pal around with. I was only planning on staying for 2 days, nope, stayed 5.

I’ve been on the road for 6 1/2 weeks, it was time to start heading back. I’m finally going to my favorite town in Spain, Colera. After Madrid and Barcelona, it’s a great town to truly dial down. I’ve been here 3 times before, I have a few friends here. Last time I was here the women who worked at the market, became my daily visit, always good for a good laugh. After setting up camp, I headed straight to the market, no sign of her. Bummed, I headed to a local pub, there she was. She bought the place with her husband, good times and lots of laughs, again.
I’m already missing my time at Porta de la Selva Campground. I invite Angels to come to Colera for a hike, (any excuse). We made some vegetarian sandwiches and headed to Molinas, the abandoned city, that is slowly being reclaimed. It’s starting to get hot, climate change is doing as predicated.

Back in town, walking around, we got some dinner ingrediants, ravioli, chips and avocado. I like going out, but having someone to have a home cooked meal with is always special.

I’m staying at Saint Miquel Camping,. I was here three years ago, while they were in the middle of a super make over and update. New pools, cabins and more campgrounds for tents. When I arrived, the place was nearly empty, but not for long. After 1 night I was told that they were full and I had to move. I asked my neighbors if I could camp next to their car? He went and asked the campground owners and it was OK!

A LAST LOOK AT “DOWNTOWN” COLERA

I’m taking the train & bus back to Ljubljana. When Franco ruled Spain, he made the train tracks a different size than Frances, so France couldn’t invade by train. So I can’t grab the train in Colera. So now the problem is, I have to catch the train in France. It leaves at 6:20 am, and it’s 16km from Colera, with 2 mountain passes. I rode it one day and timed it, I would have to get up a 4:30 to make the train, it’s still dark then, I checked. I found a campground on the French side that is only 3km & 10 minutes from the train. It’s a municipal campground and is only 9 euro. I slept under a shelter and not in the tent, left me time to make breakfast in the morning.

This train didn’t require me to pack the bicycle. Good thing, the Nice bus station was at the Nice airport, 6km from the train station. Having the bike made it very easy to get there. I packed the bike and waited for the bus. I made bus, train and Airbnb reservations and everything went smoothly, for 7 weeks, then. The bus driver scanned my bus ticket and said it was no good. WTF? He scanned it again, no good again. He asked to see the ticket on my phone, “that ticket was for yesterday”. I f-ed up. He said tomorrows bus was full, so he looked at his bookings and said there was room to Ljubljana. The original ticket was 58 euro, this new ticket? 100 + 6 for extra baggage.

I’M READY FOR MY BED
IT RAINED 2 DAYS IN THE 7 WEEKS, WELCOME HOME!

This was my first trip out of Slovenia in 2 years (thanks to Covid). I still enjoy travel as much as before, especially by bicycle. You see everything up close: people, art, nature, architecture, wildlife & life in general. My neighbor here in Ljubljana said “I want to take a 7 week vacation.” I said you can: “ride a bike, sleep in a tent and eat porridge.” That’s for everyone, I hope I left enough hints about budget traveling that you’ve gained some confidence to get on your bike and see the world.

Thanks for reading and commenting (haha).

Jeff

NEXT: I’m going to the German village Tübingen, that has a reputation for being highly Green & Vegan friendly, want to check it out. Also the picturesque Lake Hallstatt in Austria.

2 thoughts on “SPAIN: BIKING BARCELONA TO COLERA (French Border)

  1. David Darby

    Looks like another amazing trip. Success! Glad you could get back out there after a couple years.

    Reply
  2. Rachel B

    Cool, Jeff! I love those small towns in Spain too. Glad you were able to get out and about, but that wind sucked big time! Cheers.

    Reply

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