Visitors!

31 07 2009

Lucky me! I’ve had two Aussie friends visit in two weeks. Ok, so it was kinda blind luck that they were coming to Barcelona and I found out, but still it was good see some Aussies in Europe.

Last week, Nick and Rachel came with stories about soon attempting a climb of Mont Blanc. Normally, having my friends talk of climbing something isn’t that unusual, but these guys are engineers, and friends from Uni and work (where people think I am slightly nutty). I didn’t know they climbed! They should be down by know, maybe they’ll let me know how they did.

And last weekend, I did manage to hunt down Toc and Tammy. It wasn’t really that random, I did know which road they were on (mobile phones are wonderful, for some things). They’d just spend several weeks cruising (or rather racing from what I can tell of their schedule) from Spain to Switzerland (yes – France is in the middle of that), and then back. On bikes – of course!

Pyrenees

So I grabbed my new bike, dumped my camping gear into some panniers and headed out to meet them Friday arvo. I cheated and caught a train the first hundred k’s or so (to the end of the line), but still managed to meet them in France. I’ve ridden to France! Huh, didn’t think I’d be saying that 2 years ago 🙂 So, the Pyrenees are relatively small at the eastern end, but are still a mountain range. I was surprised that I could cycle reasonable easily still (I’d gone 100km the day before looking at a nearby town). Maybe I’m not as unfit as I think I am. Toc and Tammy were using bob trailers and mountain bikes – they were towing more gear than I think I have in Europe 🙂 But they were still charging up those hills. I managed to convince them to detour to Girona, and then the Costa Brava, mainly because I had been told good things about them. Well, Girona was very nice (I’ve seen the city already), the road to Girona, via some volcanoes was lovely, but the coast was crawling with people.

Who's that in the lead there Toc?

Toc, who's that in the lead there?

Ok, the coast itself is lovely, warm, pretty, good beach, sea  cliffs, old castles. But then there is Surfers Paradise style apartment buildings (or rather Mediterranean coast style apartment buildings, after which surfers is styled), lots of northern Europeans, and generally lots of people. The white beaches are jam packed. The crystal blue waters full of boats and flailing white bodies. And everyone still thinks it is great – I’m not all that much of a beach goer, but we have the odd beach in Oz (which are as good and relatively deserted). I think I’ll leave a repeat visit until the tourists have left (which implies it will be winter). Or maybe somewhere in Aus.

Oh, and Toc managed to get himself some stitches after cutting his hand open removing a pedal from a bike (stuck pedal, not having the right tool, using a makeshift cheater bar, pedal coming loose in with a bang, chain ring being in the way = 2 hours in hospital). I did the root-cause analysis – wrong tool for the job and insufficient training (same reasons I cut open my finger in the US last visit). Eventually I’ll learn. That was a bit more excitement that we were looking for on a Wednesday night. But was quicker than trying to get them to pack up camp 🙂

I might go back this, or next weekend. The mountains are lovely, especially after sweating in the city for a week.

I’ve heard that Rahel and Jürg are in Belgium heading for Paris. If they intend on going to Africa still, they’ll have to come close to here. Hopefully I’m in the country when they swing past.

August in Europe is where it’s at. Note to my Adelaide friends: pregnancy is not a valid excuse 🙂


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2 responses

4 08 2009
Stuart

Is Pneumonia a valid excuse??? Bec has been in hospital with it for the last week 😦 but is slowly on the mend now. Sounds like you are having fun. When are you getting your cave diving cert.? My course starts next Thurs evening. I cant wait!

4 08 2009
Steve

Yes, I’ll grant pneumonia as an excuse, and she should be doing all she can to get better. Maybe the good wishes from over here will help. And your excuse? A cave diving course? Hmmm. Maybe when I get back…

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