Coll de Nargo to Solsona

This was my first view out our bedroom window this morning.


It was overcast in the direction we were to ride. Firstly though, more important matters. Breakfast. I love Spain! 3 days running we have had a great breakfast!! Good fuel for the climbing ahead.

Leaving the hotel we headed back towards Organya for 2.4 km before turning right and crossing a small river.

Looking back towards Coll de Nargo

A little further up the road we could see Coll de Nargo more clearly, perched on its rocky outcrop.


The road was very quiet and serene.



We travelled along this road for some distance before descending and then climbing along a gorge and through several short tunnels.


We past two small villages of Alinya and Les Sorts before climbing to the top of our first Col for the day, Coll de Boix (1320m). No sign, so no photo!

After a short descent we started climbing again out of the village of Cambrils. We found these couple of friendly guys (?) on the side of the road, with dreadlocked manes.


The spectacular views continued with amazing rock formations.


In this photo you can see a lower road that we had ridden up. We looked hard to see if we could see any of our other riders.



We passed through another tunnel and continued climbing and then descending near this cafe.

Casanova was not home!

Beautiful views!

Hardly seems likely territory for cows!



At the 33 km point we found this natural spring. Two old guys were filling their water containers up. The water was very cold and very nice so we filled up our bidons.

This old guy was amazed that I had cycled from Coll de Nargo up all those hills!

We continued to climb up and around until we reached Coll de Jou (1480m). These are photos from this section.

An old fortification at the top of the hill


An old structure built at the cliff base


Coll de Jou

From the Coll the road descended and continued undulating along the top of rocky wooded hills, before climbing steeply up another small 2 km section.

From the top of this climb Tony shot off down and around a bend and as I followed him noticed he had pulled off the road to take a photograph. So I slowed down to pull off and ended up,underneath my bike! Most importantly the rear derailleur is ok! Me, well I knocked the scab off my knee, and have matching bruises on my right hip and a very sore shoulder!

As we descended further down we were amazed by the geology of the area.


Amazing rounded structures

This was our final view back to where we had ridden during the day! The Pyrenees certainly have been a highlight and we are now farewelling the amazing area.

The last of the Pyrenees, but not climbing for us!

Today’s route and elevation data.



We are now in Solsona, a quite large town. There is an ‘old town’ section which is medieval. We went for a wander but it was all closed for the siesta, which goes from around 12 noon to between 4-5 pm! It was like a ghost town!

This used to be the main entrance to the town for nobles
Quiet, narrow streets
600 Euro if you don’t pick up your doggy poo!
The Museum
One of three remaining water fountains in the old town that used to provide fresh water
Interesting stone carvings
The Cathedral. Closed for siesta until 4 pm but obviously that is not strictly adhered to as it still had not reopened by 4.15 pm. Parts of this church go back to the 10th century,


So we are nearly at the end of this cycling odyssey, sadly! 2 more days of riding are left. Tomorrow we climb again this time to Montserrat and then the final day, with more climbing and the urban necessity of riding into Barcelona!

Sort to Coll de Nargo

As has been standard the last few days, we immediately encountered a climb. Today was a 19.6 km climb up to Collado de Canto at just over 1720 metres. A 19 km climb is solid with little reprieve so it is vital to have a positive mind set.

This view is in the first few km
That is Sort! We have already climbed up a few hundred metres
Looking back down the valley towards Sort
Tony acting strong on the climb, or did he just find a new bike behind the bushes that left us both with cuts on our legs whilst admiring the valley views?

Thank goodness we were off the road admiring the valley views when around 20 Porsche cars came screaming around the bend. They were on a mission.

I can understand also why Spain has so many ace motorbike riders. I have never seen as many motorbikes as what I have experienced in the last few days. Everything from quad bikes, trail bikes and sport touring bikes.

Porsches using the road as a racing circuit. They do make a nice sound!
Some of the switchbacks we have already ridden up

Finally we are at the top after nearly 1 hours 5o minutes climbing the 19.6 km. The area is part of the Spanish National Parks.


The ubiquitous Col photo

Gilet and arm warmers back on for the descent. We did stop a few times at viewpoints such as this one in the following photos.


We descended through a number of villages including Pallerols, Avellanet, La Parroquia D’Horto and El Pla De Sant Tirs. the roads had become increasingly busy.

We had been warned about a 600 metre road tunnel we needed to pass through. There was a safer option of going behind the safety barrier and using an old road around the side of the hill. It was really pretty as it was a small carved gorge.

We rode through Organya only 4 km before our destination and whilst quite a busy town decided to knock off the final few km before seeking sustenance.

What an impressive last few km! The rock formations are simply stunning and reminded me of the rock formations viewed from Torbole on Lake Garda ( Italy).



Today’s route
Today’s elevation graph


We arrived in Coll de Nargo well  ahead of the other riders and van. The village is perched precariously on a hilltop so we decided to cruise around and check the small village out.

We found this old 10th century church.


We found one place open at the top of a very steep laneway. The baker here is from Estonia. I enjoyed a very unusual dish that was predominantly spinach with a few raisins. Odd combination that tasted very nice.

Brilliant bakery.

We returned to the hotel and sat around the pool eating our lunch. After the van arrived and we checked in, showered and laundered clothes we set off on a walk to the highest point of the village.

This photo shows the road we rode in on
Views from our walk
Intricate stone work on top of existing bedrock
Narrow laneways with houses either side

So another day done and dusted and only 3 more days riding to reach Barcelona. We have plenty more climbing in each of those days!!

Contemplating all those Cols still to climb!



Salardu to Sort…oh Spain!

What a time we have had in Spain so far!

We went out to tea 50 metres from our accomodation and dinner was not starting until 8.30 pm! We could not last that long for food so chose cold tapas. Exquisite food!!

I met and befriended Marco, a free spirited Italian cyclist just doing what he loves. He became our newest best friend! He was such a happy and friendly guy, with a passion for cycling and zest for life that could only make you smile!IMG_2300

We were provided with free shots of the local liquor. Looked like cough medicine but wow!! I brought a bottle to bring home. My first alcohol since finishing London to Venice!!

There was live music and the guy could really sing! He belted out a great rendition of Roxanne. There were little kids that looked about 5 years carting huge beers outside to their parents.

It was a great fun atmosphere and the whole village seemed to be there. As we left I gave the owner a hug as it was just great fun and they made us feel so welcome.


Elizabeth with the shot glasses. Elizabeth was born in Cork, Ireland, lived in Glasgow, Scotland and emigrated to Ottawa, Canada around 30 (?) years ago.

Today shone brightly and we had the best breakfast yet. Scrambled eggs and a great variety of protein! Yes the ubiquitous carbs were there but at least there were options today.

As soon as we left our accomodation we climbed  and climbed and climbed. Already at 1300 metres we climbed to nearly 2100 metres to Port de Bonaigua. A really nice climb with great views.

Looking back towards Salardu
Leaving Salardu


Early in the climb
Start of the official 13 km climb
Series of switchbacks started half way up
At the top!

Very pleased to be at the top, we then donned extra clothes for the descent. We were a km or so into the descent when we had to slow down for horses that were in the road and verges. Some were even wearing cow bells.

They seemed fairly tame. This horse was quite ok with me being so close.

The descent was good fun! We got caught behind a motor home for some distance and Tony overtook it much to my horror. I chose to sit back behind, in a more conservative approach.

A section of the descent

There were great views but we did not stop a lot descending.


At La Guinguetta d’aneu there is a nice lake we passed.


We rode through Llavorsi at the 51 km point, crossing a river and following a gorge. Rafting was very popular with multiple groups on the river.

Rafting promotional signage
Rafting group downstream

We arrived in Sort right on midday and checked out the main street  where there was a political march occurring.


Today’s route skipping close to Andorra


Today’s elevation graph

We then headed to the hotel, well ahead of check in and the van! It was a beautiful day and look what we found!

I could not get my shoes off quick enough. The pool is not heated.

Anyway it got too much for me. I took my jersey off and….

Yes into the pool with my cycling knicks! Great way to cool off!

For tea we headed into Sort to try and find anything, anywhere before 8 pm. they really do eat late in Spain. We were with Elizabeth and Gordon and found a tapas bar where I tried cuttlefish for the first time. Very much like squid.