5345km so far.
I woke up at the campsite at Roses at the foot of the natural park, Cap de Creus, having slept very badly. The couples in the tents on either side of me had been going at it at 2am and 3am. Not what you want on the first night away from your girlfriend! It was hard enough adjusting to being back on my own.
I left the campsite feeling hungry and tired. I could head directly to Perpignan but I wanted to visit Cap de creus so i headed in the direction of Cadaques. A frenchman named Michelle chatted to me at the Carrefour as I downed a bottle of orange juice. “tout de monde? tout de monde?””boof” he kept saying and shaking his hand as if to suggest it would be very hard.
I cycled up the road where the hills loomed above me. i thought to turn back but then i thought… how will i know until I try? I was glad I did. the views were spectacular and the roads climbed steadily but gradually and I was soon near the top. I stopped to take a photo of the view and Czech bus pulled up next to me. I offered to take a photo of a guy who was Czech but living in Sydney Australia. He in turn took a photo of me and also said I was welcome to stay with him in Sydney. Nice guy!
Later, as I approached Cadaques, I met an English guy called Shaun… He lived nearby and told me I might run into David Millar, who lives in Port de Selva. I went that way but didn’t see him. And then on to Llança. It’s a winemaking region and there are lots of boutiques with free tasting (degustation). I was tempted! I stopped at Portbou before entering France or North Catalunya as the Catalans call it. It was very confusing after entering France again, as the flags and symbols are the same yellow and red stripes as you see in Catalunya, and an indication of a blurred history between France and Spain in that region. I didn’t care, as the views were spectacular.
As I headed towards Perpignan I met a French guy called Joan who was cycling on a Raleigh bike with panniers. He spoke no English, but some Spanish, so we chatted in Spanish and when he spoke French, I generally understood so it was fine. He was looking for work in the vineyards, and despite having almost no money, bought me a coke and water. He cycled with me for a couple of hours until I opted for a campsite at St Cypriene rather than going into the centre of Perpignan. Joan said goodbye as he doesn’t understand the concept of camping and prefers sleeping by a river. I wanted electricity and wifi so I decided not to join him.
It was a good choice. Finding the campsite was tough but when I found a place called Camping Le Rousillon, I met Mike, a welshman who had come to run the campsite a couple of years ago not being able to speak French. He showed me his campsite, and I met his lovely wife Carolyn, Sister Jane and his colleague David. I had time for a swim in the pool and joined them for drinks. He told me a few stories. Firstly, Mike’s daughter is at the local school, in the same class as the daughter of James Hook, the welsh rugby international. Great player. But I liked his story about meeting a French neighbour who said, “You’re from Barry! Do you know my friend?” At which Mike laughed and said “Barry is a big place”. The Frenchman said “he has red hair and is a gardener. His name is Sebastian”. Mike said no but when he was back in Barry, he was at a bar talking to a guy with red hair who was French. And when he asked his name, it was Sebastian the ginger gardener. Mike had to go back to France and apologise to his neighbour and say yes indeed, he knew him.
Then I had a kebab pizza which was really tasty, and a few beers. Mike organised a wifi connection for me and also paid for my beers! And then I went to my tent and had a great night’s sleep.