Russia to Spain Tour Leg 35 – Narbonne to Perpignan and Olot

Three more riding days and I will finish this part of my bike tour, it was such a long journey but for some people it is not a big deal. My next bike trip will be a lot crazier than this one! Stay tuned! From Narbonne, I took the main road rather than the canal road because of the flood, there are not many things to see except the flooded field.

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Some of the roads heading to Perpignan were blocked, you can see how serious the flood was. It didn’t show up on Google map, so I had to find another way by myself.

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Finally I reach my next hosts’ place, they are a couple planning for a round-the-world bike trip on their tandem bike starting next year, here is their bike, I tried both seats, you need a little bit time to get used to being in the front, but the rear seat is so comfortable and easy to handle.

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Jojo and Kloklo’s website:

http://www.eco-world-tour.com/en/

Jojo spent almost 5 hours to fix my front gear shifter, I didn’t know how to thank him. Haha, he was so insisted to get it fixed.

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We had very good conversation about how we can cooperate and connect our projects to make a greater impact! I am sure with their determination, we can achieve something BIG! I won’t forget the dice game called YAM, such a nice game to pass our time! All the best to your planning and preparation, we will start at the same time next year, but with different routes, hopefully we will meet again on the road one day!

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Then I continued my second last day, crossing French-Spanish border. I could see this snowy capped mountain from far away, I know next year cycling in Spain will not be as easy as before (the highest point I reached from St Petersburg to Perpignan was just 450m in England), today I am going to break the record because Olot is already more than 500m above sea level.

When I was closer to the Pyrenee, I expected a higher climb. Le Boulou is a nice stop with final shopping especially organic products, as it would be harder to find such things in Spain. Then I reached Le Perthus which is a tiny border town. There is still a border, but the police waved to let me go without checking my passport. Here I am in Spain!!

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After the border, it is quite a long downhill ride towards La Jonquera, an industrial town packed with factories and shops.

Then I kept my pace and rolled to Figueres, I got a glimpse but I didn’t stop to have a look of the Dali Museum, an interesting building with lots of EGGS on top of the building. As I didn’t want to arrive Olot after dark, I gotta pedal hard. The Google Map couldn’t show “Cycling” options, so I had to pick the “Walking” route to avoid riding on motorways.

These “Walking” route is sometimes ridiculous, I came to a point that I had to cross a river, which is ok, just my shoes were all wet after that. Then it leaded me to a forest which I could hardly see the road, there were thorns all over the place, blocking my way.

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When I saw those big thorns lying on the ground, I had no guts to push my bike forward and had my tyres potentially punctured. After evaluating the situation, I decided to go back and ride on the motorway even it is prohibited.

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A van shouted at me when I passed Argelaguer and I saw a familiar face, that was my friend Joan and his dad! Well, I informed him that I would arrive today, but I didn’t expect him to pick me up! They were my saviors! Although it only saved me riding the last 15km, I was so grateful that I could take off my wet shoes and socks once I arrived their house!

I met Joan last year in Australia, we worked with the same host but different time, thanks our hosts Katty for connecting us. Then we met again in New Zealand, that he helped me carrying my bag from Wellington to Auckland so that I didn’t have to cycle with it. We said we would meet again one day, and it did happen! I was so glad to visit his family!

His whole family can produce a TV soap opera (comedy), as they are teasing each all the time, like fighting for the chair next to fireplace, putting chili sauce on the food when the person goes to toilet. So many things that I couldn’t stop laughing at their home!

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I really love the Spanish omelet his mum made!

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Joan introduced me a lot of Catalan tradition, Caca Tio is a funny one! Every Christmas you can find this wooden log all over Catalonia, children are given a stick to hit it, and presents will be come out from Caca Tio’s ass.

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I walked to the top of a hill which overlook the whole Olot.

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The Plaza de Toros is one of the firstly built in Spain. Although bullfighting has already banned in Catalonia, people can still reminisce the old times when they enter the arena.

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Joan and his father invited me to go for a bike trip going up the hills to see the forest and volcano. That was fun despite the continuous climbing, the view was absolutely amazing!

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The bike of his father is an electric bike, which saved him a lot of effort to go uphill. It even starts charging if he goes downhill or press the break, what a nice machine!

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Thanks very much for the great time I spent there. And I am sure we will meet again! Someday somewhere!

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Narbonne to Perpignan  75km

Perpignan to Olot  105km

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