Unlike our first day’s warm up ride, this would be a bit longer ride today. I was up early and down for breakfast. Breakfast seems to get started kinda late here. Typically has seemed to be about 8:30. The same was true on Majorca – though they would start things as early as 8:15. Lots of the usual European selections for breakfast: juice, coffee, croissants and some other pasteries and breads, some kind of eggs (boiled, scrambled, fried), sliced meats, sliced cheeses (Manchego and Swiss often), cereals… anyway, lots to chose from. All served buffet style.
We checked out and loaded up luggage and were off by 10. Early on, more riding thru the urban streets of Girona, but it didn’t take long before we were out in the countryside. Pleasant riding on country roads. Not too much traffic. The sights and especially smells of agriculture abounded. Plenty of joking about the overwhelming odor of pig manure. It’s the country, that’s what you can expect.
Girona appears to be in a valley. To the east – the direction we were headed – you need to pass over a range of pretty big hills to get to the coast. I’m not sure I’d call them mountains, but they are certainly mountainous. Before we hit these we pulled into a small town named Llagostera. We headed for the central square and stopped in for coffee and snacks.
One of the great things about the Jemison tours are they take time out for coffee and/or lunch stops. You don’t just pound until the ride’s done. I got a cappucino. You’ll see it in my pictures. Around here they seem to make their cappucino’s with whipped cream, not just milk foam. Anyway, it hit the spot.
The riding had been pretty easy up to this point, but soon after our coffee stop, we headed into the hills. It was a long climb. The longest we’d done up to that point anyway. About 10K of something in the neighborhood of 5-8% grades up winding roads. Very pretty country. It wasn’t long before pretty much everyone was huffing a bit. The weather was warm and we were working up a sweat. While it was a long’ish climb, the grade really wasn’t that bad. Below is a shot of the fun winding roads we did.
Chris, our ride lead, provided a very consistent pace for us to fall in behind. I stuck to his wheel until maybe 8K into it and then started to fall behind a little. Celeste, who lives in Park City and rides at altitude, had little trouble. All in all though, the group has kept a very consistent pace, even on the hills. In my experience, that’s fairly rare on bike tours like this.
Once we crested the hill, the descent down the other side was fantastic. The grade was steeper on the other side: 14% toward the top, and the distance down to the sea shorter. Maybe 5-6K. What great views of the Meditteranean from up there though. We stopped at several points and took some photos. Back and forth through winding roads and pretty scenery. It’s very rugged, rocky country. Our descent T’d into a road that hugs the coast line. From there we headed south to Tossa de Mar. The coastal road is “undulating”. Meaning we still had several interesting climbs to get in to Tossa de Mar.
As we crested that last hill into Tossa de Mar, we stopped for a ‘photo op’:
Sept may be the shoulder season for this area, but there are still a lot of tourists. We wound our way through the narrow streets full of shops and people just strolling around until we got down to our hotel next to the beach. We stayed at the Hotel Diana. You’ll see pictures here.
The group snagged a table on the patio inside to get room keys and some snacks. Everyone tried a little Sangria as well. That’s a light colored/bodied, chilled (iced) red wine with chunks of fruit in it. In this case, pears, apples and oranges. Refreshing. A couple people had beers. You see a lot of San Miguel and Estrella Damm – both Spanish.
My room was great. Simple and small but it had a great little deck with a couple of chairs and a great view of the sea. The bathroom had a very cool window beside the shower that let in a great breeze. You’ll see a picture here that I took one morning of the sunrise out that window.
I was starved and grabbed a quick snack of tomatoes & mozzarella. Tasty. Included a shot here.
I didn’t spend too much time down at the beach. It’s beautiful to look at, but I’m not much for swimming, but I did wander up and down it for a bit. The ‘sand’ is much coarser than it looks from a distance. More like tiny stones. Not entirely foot friendly – at least unless you spend a lot of time bare foot. Of course there were plenty of folks on the beach that seemed to like it just fine.
Later the group went to dinner at a place that our ride lead Chris had chosen. It’s a family run pizza joint a few blocks from the hotel. Wish I could remember the name. We had salads and pizza. Excellent stuff. Chris later took us on a walk around the area. Not for too long though. Most of us were pretty tired. There’s an old fortress at one end of the town up on a rock outcropping. We walked up there and looked out over another small beach on the other side. The sea was illuminated by the moon. It was a pretty spactacular view from up there. I took a picture of it, but it’s on the internal memory of my camera not the removable memory and I don’t have the cable.
Next up, option day…