Day 2 – The Real Pyrenees

I started the day thinking that the worst part of cycling in the Pyrenees was over: according to Google, it was all downhill from now on. Boy, was I wrong: the first 20 something kilometers were all uphill against the headwind. It took me more than two hours to cover this distance. That’s twice longer than usual, and I started to doubt I would make it to Perpignan today with such slow speed. Perpignan was 100 km away, and then another 20 km to the campsite. But then, at 25 km there was 10% downhill grade and I was flying, according to my sense of flying. It took me only three more hours to get to Perpignan. The views along the way were to die for: vertical cliffs with monasteries on top of them, lush mountains, snow on the peaks, flowery meadows, river gorges.

After an uneventful couple of days, it was the first city with a few things to see. This includes the Palace of the Kings of Majorca, a vast palace and fortress overlooking the city. Unfortunately, with a bike and two bags, it is very unpractical, if not impossible to visit such places. Perpignan sits on the Têt river, so I was tête-à-tête with Têt for a short while.

Since I am in France, I wanted to practice my French. So, at the Orange store I spit out a prepared phrase: “J’ai besoin d’une pochette prêt à surfer”. To my surprise and disappointment, the guy answered: “A SIM and two GB of data will cost you 15€” in pretty good English. I was surprised as it doesn’t happen often, and disappointed because he robbed me of my practice opportunity! But I got my iPad setup in no time.

20 km later I was at the campsite where for 15€ they let me put up my tent “sans électricité”. It took me a while, it was my first time after all. Brand new tent. And guess what, it didn’t rain! Will it be comfortable to sleep in? We’ll see.

Tomorrow, first thing in the morning, I’ll go dip in the Mediterranean Sea, as it is only 400 meters away.

Today in numbers:

5h58m – riding time
120.9 km – distance covered
1582 – meters above sea level at the highest point
2717 – calories burnt
2 – bananas that flew out of my saddle bag and fortunately, didn’t cause any damage to the cars behind me