Coll de Nargo to Solsona

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

IMG_2358

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.

08D8A47D-FE03-4AFE-8404-CA26B921E553
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.

6C85071B-A6CC-4CE3-B008-0F80A6B1EEB9

The road was very quiet and serene.

 

193DB492-D586-4BD5-8364-B9120089DDCF

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

862081C5-4AE7-436F-8674-2A84F5164056687F1988-EEA1-4529-B539-0D014CE2A3D88C51D904-E1D6-421B-A7DC-320D28983C234BD7C86D-5CC9-4BEF-B9ED-F5443F5E6821

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.

FE2E2091-FBAA-40A0-ACCF-73DBC5C0B038

The spectacular views continued with amazing rock formations.

DE967660-5E48-4D70-886A-0F279111A5F8

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.

C5F3A4D9-6596-458F-9A14-1F0C5E9F7E4E

DE926A6F-935B-4ED9-B763-96364DC273DA

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

30271D8A-E183-4777-8097-A21CAB98CE93
Casanova was not home!

Beautiful views!

0DF0FEC4-426B-4E21-9A73-621DBADDA195
Hardly seems likely territory for cows!

3D4D825C-2303-4971-ADA8-7CDAC5CA4B87

1B803264-C005-4E44-878C-04A48CC205A3

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.

ABAA28A3-6CA0-4414-BECC-3AF8391BCB34
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.

7C1704C0-8192-4BB8-996A-9E61F982CD7B
An old fortification at the top of the hill

8AB9A673-7F26-48D6-B9FA-B038860369E5

92C88F7B-2F08-4739-9C0D-DE2DA42197A9
An old structure built at the cliff base

8D3B4DC0-5F79-4657-BDEE-EC08419AA0FF1F921F4F-0D5D-4A9A-8F2A-E4AE2EFF8CBA4001EF9B-D872-4BF2-A84E-C2200CD36C6DABC536CB-29E1-40D8-9329-65EDD6901F25

A9158F6F-BF3C-424F-B5F8-9684745A3617
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.

6DE21D11-D464-4F88-B17D-A34B821EB1E329F512DB-9D14-47C7-A41E-0327A22BEFD7

3C3FFFB9-791D-46D5-8C62-957B0B15785B
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.

A3C4497C-7C81-42E3-B3CA-D03A42570E34
The last of the Pyrenees, but not climbing for us!

Today’s route and elevation data.

IMG_2449IMG_2450

 

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!

09721E7C-CD90-46BF-80F7-38DC7CC20D1D
This used to be the main entrance to the town for nobles
CD7AE11A-76D0-42C8-8B53-66CC7D61EB24
Quiet, narrow streets
AE127478-2BED-44B3-AFF1-D7FB854803A4
600 Euro if you don’t pick up your doggy poo!
06D8F23A-3ED2-4AFE-B263-80719A71059E
The Museum
268E0C13-3594-42EB-992D-3ED9C362D211
One of three remaining water fountains in the old town that used to provide fresh water
4D9D1C6D-88BF-40FD-B396-AE9C826EF8CB
Interesting stone carvings
643117FD-E267-49D5-A2F7-52A70A3D0C49
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,

ED5FC56F-58D3-48C7-841E-76D4EC84928D

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.

79B952FB-31A5-4306-85FE-D0A5B126034C
This view is in the first few km
45AFFE98-79A1-4055-9718-97E80D9E6562
That is Sort! We have already climbed up a few hundred metres
41E9862E-1F76-4341-B440-F9186485F3F4
Looking back down the valley towards Sort
C9FDE399-2714-4F83-B74D-0861760F8E4E
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.

30B3BD7D-CC41-4A09-8850-9717F60A92A6
Porsches using the road as a racing circuit. They do make a nice sound!
33E54AE1-C1B0-42BF-8401-2822DD18E632
Climbing
1EE48EE9-D8B3-499A-AED1-3BB302725720
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.

1FC6D8BF-3450-4F93-A4D3-F3120FF50845

8F9C74ED-2E34-4645-9EE0-260847BA2E00
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.

18D106C3-5341-4F69-A81A-54ECBD6FF25975F5C081-A69A-4A5C-886C-65BBBF1AC5A50175A6F3-333B-43E6-81C0-9E0A19F87CCD

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).

 

DEA63CA0-321B-4600-BF4E-A229060F7279367D0317-1BB6-47E1-B54C-B66E74485420

IMG_2356
Today’s route
IMG_2357
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.

6F22CBEB-969B-4080-9A81-3E4621B1CCCF

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.

69AB1562-EFE0-446D-8140-60F881FFB322
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.

B9F4C411-851B-4C3E-A1B4-BCC0BB9B2003
This photo shows the road we rode in on
B9FAED44-BFCC-4FA2-ABF8-799EE3E349A2
Views from our walk
121EACA9-27FB-473A-BF0C-841FDF39EA9B
Intricate stone work on top of existing bedrock
794640E0-3026-4174-B4C0-1F687A4245BD
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!!

660FB0CB-9540-4662-9DE7-3135A13EEDE9
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.

IMG_2295

IMG_2298
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.

C42E1351-3149-4C8F-B3B5-D39F04D7FB26
Looking back towards Salardu
6D97C722-190B-47BC-AB87-381B3A6800C9
Leaving Salardu

F9DE4F53-990F-4C2B-BFD6-A1261440A925

3A85199C-64BE-4088-AE1A-3367D5150E27
Early in the climb
F92F46A3-2511-4B86-8A8B-BE33602C9992
Start of the official 13 km climb
7E16FB0C-A8B6-4283-B9D2-F314ED801759
Series of switchbacks started half way up
1D3F6B82-9E35-47B2-B6BA-C8F98AF69AB8
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.

F29C8851-37E8-4590-BC3F-D77792A09C2F
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.

A9A21669-03F6-4DFF-9052-CEECF4E1582E
A section of the descent

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

51149665-D042-404E-8658-5B8F985244D5

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

889BA4AA-811A-4356-87D7-384E78330C7F

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.

8160C5FE-0F93-4361-9485-4A3AA28A78B3
Llavorsi
53EB8A2F-8D26-462E-A5A3-BFB7296DBF5D
Rafting promotional signage
FB3082E4-0B47-4B50-95A1-2B7EF845C49A
Rafting group downstream

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

DB3D77C2-8CCF-4C06-A30D-6CF6A41711ED

IMG_2293
Today’s route skipping close to Andorra

 

IMG_2294
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!

1306A1A0-B3E0-4CBC-80E0-4DC9C1302323
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….

CC9118A4-8295-41BF-815E-6741D92E927E
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.