Day 6 - Downhill
18 December 2021
Up early. Terrible sleep. Pipes creaking.
Cold. Oil heaters here. Everything hot.
Breakfast. La Tera Firma.
Zero English. Zero Spanish. We get there.
An open fire grill for toasting bread and sausages.
Coffee ordered. Café. Recall milk is Leche. Nailed it. For Shell. I get a shot. Not quite nailed.
The place is full. One waitress. Somehow attentive to everyone. The locals are drinking wine and beer with breakfast. No phones. Conversation.
Convinced fast food is killing us. The locals eat copious meat, copious vegetables and drink alcohol with every meal. Breakfast included. They hit the desert. Old and young look fit. On paper, they should not be.
Three coffees omelets and sausage on toast. A muffin. Ready to depart.
Buy a beanie. Lost mine.
Wait until 12.00 pm for the fog to clear. It didn’t.
Downhill today. Still concerned about Shell’s knee. 26 km.
Seat adjustment for Shell.
Out of the fort on to the Cani de Sant Jaume. Nice to be away from cars. Gravel. Fog. Dry stone walls. Ruins. Shell’s knee going well. Nice.
It is cold. 1C. On the downhill, it feels colder. Fingers numb. Beanie welcome. Embrace the cold.
“In nature, it is not only the physically weak but the mentally weak that get eaten. Now we have created this modern society in which we have every comfort, yet we are losing our ability to regulate our mood, our emotions.” ― Wim Hof
The distance goes fast on the downhill. We pass through Fonolleres and el Talladell. Pretty. Ancient.
We stick on the Sant Jaume. Apple orchard. Late in the season. Some fruit still on the trees. Best apples I have eaten. Without exception. Some are crisp and tart. Some soft and sweet. All delicious.
Bikes. Gravel trails. Spain. Orchard. Fresh fruit from the tree. Seriously?
We hit Bellpuig. Fog still not cleared. Find our place. Everything shared but the bed. One towel. Host is Theiwany. Good man. No internet. No phone service. Better than the tent.
Hungry. 4.00 pm. Place is shut down for siesta. Late for lunch. Early for dinner.
Find La Fontana. Can only do pizza. Yes, please. Bottle of wine. Wait staff patient and kind.
Finishing our bottle the table near us depart. She says adio, we say adios. What follows is a conversation in Catalans and Spanish with two people who understand only English. Message received. Catalans is not Spain. There is fierce independence at play. A gentleman comes in to fetch the lady instructing us. I look at him and say
‘Catalans not Spain’.
He is happy. He hugs me. Declares me a friend. Catalan independence is a serious issue. They dislike English. Indifferent to Australians.
“The alternative to independence is decline, because the relationship with the Spanish state is not good; everyone knows that.” - Carles Puigdemont
Walk home. Fog. Standard. -1C.
Early start tomorrow. Downhill to Lleida. 40km.
Forecast. Cold. Fog. Layering required.
A good day. Happy that Shell’s knee was solid.
Today's ride -