Crossing Catalonia

Riding westward across Catalonia into a westerly had me making some not very complex calculations: High levels of unfitness + insane headwinds + mostly uphill = LOTS OF PAIN. Multiply this with: Beautiful valley’s + medieval villages + time together as a family = worth it???

First day of serious riding with Montserrat in the background.

First day of serious riding with Montserrat in the background.

We are TRYING to take it easy. Ease our bodies into the trip. Obviously the headwinds have a different idea often forcing us to travel 10km/hr less than we would normally. This makes the short easy days we plan into WAY TOO LONG ones with the final 10km feeling like it might break our bodies. Adding to the issue is we are taking FOREVER to get going in the morning. Our systems need some time to be sorted out and refined. We are frustrated even though we know its a natural process that happens in a tour and soon we will be a well oiled machine, each item with its place, each team member with our own unspoken roles.  Despite all of these issues we are certainly pedalling past some pretty cool places:

Cool street in Cervera.

Cool street in Cervera.

Amaya checking out the arrow slits.

Amaya checking out the arrow slits.

The amazing town of Cervera. It even has its own spooky witches alley!

The amazing town of Cervera. It even has its own spooky witches alley!

Meanwhile, Amaya is being a little legend. While we are battling the wind, Amaya was being the best behaved little girl EVER. She loves it. She gets up, potters around the hotel room, eats breakfast, if she’s lucky a sneaky baby chino (yes – this is part of the reason we are late getting on the road!), gets spoiled and doted on by the proprietor, then into the magic buggy for some reading, snacks, and great views. A stop at a park for a play and lunch, then a nap while we do some good afternoon riding. Her life is a beach, two primary carers, predictable, and always with new and interesting experiences.

Amaya exploring during a break from riding.

Amaya exploring during a break from riding.

Thanks to using google maps on walking mode we encountered a little more adventure than we had bargained for. It instructed us to cycle down a dirt road into the wilderness. Scenic yes, but it made me feel a little insecure trusting google to get me OUT of the middle of nowhere to where we were planning on staying the night. The promised bridge that would take us back to civilisation and into our first campground turned out to be a dam wall. We had a few mini freak outs carrying Amaya in the magic buggy up a narrow stair case next to the enormous precipice so we could cross over. The bridge was made out of metal grate, LOOK DOWN Mic said, its an AMAZING drop! WAAAAAAAaaaa!

Going into the wilderness

Going into the wilderness

Having just made it up the precarious staircase we prepare to cross the dam(n) wall.

Having just made it up the precarious staircase we prepare to cross the dam(n) wall.

Goodbye Catalonia… Hello Aragon (Please don’t be so windy!)

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Here we go…

So it begins – 5 months of meandering through Europe on bicycles with the vague aim of making it to the Baltic Sea and then cycling back down to Berlin.  We are riding because we love it, because we love Europe and also in support of Clinica Verde.  Clinica Verde is a clinic that provides much needed care to mothers and their babies in a rural part of Nicaragua.  Shoshanna and I were privileged to visit Clinica Verde in 2011 when it was in the construction phase. Now it is providing a service that we take for granted, but just isn’t available in many poor countries.  We would really appreciate your support through donating what you can to this charity. (you can read more about Clinica Verde here)

Poster for our ride.

Poster for our ride – you can click on this and donate if you like.

The all important shot in front of Gaudi's iconic Sagrada Familia.

The all important shot in front of Gaudi’s iconic Sagrada Familia.

We are both nervous as we set out on what seems like an impossible task even without a 2 year old.  To add an extra dimension Amaya has started getting her 2 year old molars.  We have had a couple of interesting days with her in Barcelona, which involved a number of meltdowns.

Cycle touring is about focusing on each day, on each moment.  If one gets too concerned with the big picture, about the enormity of the ride and all the potential problems, then the task becomes insurmountable.

So the Baltic here we come – but right now we are going to enjoy this little Catalonian town we are in called Manresa!

Amaya checking out another big Church - Colegiata Basílica de Santa María.  She was quick to comprehend the vibe of the place and  spoke in whispers the whole time.

Manresa – Amaya checking out another big Church – Colegiata Basílica de Santa María. She was quick to comprehend the vibe of the place and spoke in whispers the whole time.

She asked if she could have a drink...

She asked if she could have a drink…