23 May 2017
The plan was to get to Tarragona – but hey – plans are plans, and reality is a different ball game 🙂
I’ve been thinking about the cathedral in Barcelona, and how it compares to Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s paean of praise to the holy (if you’re Christian, that is) family.
The cathedral is a traditional Gothic type building, but is essentially, a church. Strict dress rules – no shorts or mini skirts, no bare shoulders – some degree of respect and reverence, even if you are not religious, is mandated. No flash photography, no hats for men – while seeking the tourist dollar (there is a 7 Euro entrance fee – which I didn’t pay; I never do. I’m nominally a christian, and when I enter I do sit and meditate – not pray – about the deeper bits of life, and send positive thoughts out to those who need them – I see churches as lenses, and a cathedral as a super-lens, focussing my thoughts towards whatever, or whoever, I’m thinking about. I always put the equivlent of the entry fee into a poor box, though) the cathedral is still a religious place, holy to those who believe the Christian ethos.
Sagrada Familia is the opposite. The building is fabulous, fantastic, phenomenal; but it has lost it’s roots – it is now just a cynical money making machine. 15 Euro to get in, and they queue all day – and no way can you not pay, as you can at any church; no dress code, and inside it’s a mess of noise, flash, selfies, tour groups, skimpy outfits (men and women) – not much religion happening.
I’m for the cathedral – and I’m an atheist. The Sagrada is just commercial crass crap; a disneyfied version of religion, in spite of the stunning magnificence of the building itself.
So – the crappy Pension Francia doesn’t do breakfast (or bathroom soap, or shampoo) for it’s extortionate 107 Euro per night. I woke at 5:30 today – getting out of Barcelona was rumbling arond in my subconscious – and showered, dressed for the road, and took my bike downstairs. Locked it and back up for the panniers. Downstairs again, put the panniers on, and back upstairs for the top box, bike helmet and backpack. Knackered before I started, I set out. Breakfastless. Hobbits have cried over this…
The coast immediately South West of Barcelona is a mess. Hevy industry, petrochemical storage, a small mountain-cum-park; no clear way through. So you have to head in an arch, starting Northwest, and gradually turning Southish; through all the Llobregat places, aiming for Sant Boi de Llobregat, where you cross a river, a motorway and a railway line, then, and only then, can you cut to the coast.
I did 15 km of suburbia before I escaped the city. Then down to Viladecans, through Gava, Casteldefels, and onto the coast – where I went for a shortcut, and it cost me 6 km, and a climb. My map showed a coast path; and there is one, but it’s soft sand. Not rideable. Backtrack, and a series of long, slow climbs – every km or so is a sign showing that drivers must give cyclists 1.5 metres clearance – and they do; trucks and buses and most cars would wait rather than crowd me. Awesome.
Meandered along the coast – hot and humid; no rush. And no hotels; lots of apartments and holiday homes, but nowhere for the casual traveller. I’d done more than 6 hours cycling before I found the Hotel Comarruga, a Spanish/Moorish style hotel. They had a room – I booked in. Ensuite, ocean views, and breakfast for 42 Euro. Dinner was an extra 7 Euro – I’ve just eaten my fill of poached fish, mushroom pasta and sald; freshly sliced melon and pineapple, plus an ncluded carafe of red wine. Bargain.
I’m tempted to spend another day here – but there’s nothing to do except be idle, and I’ve had a few days of that lately. So on, tomorrow; through Tarragona, and on the road to Valencia – still a couple of hundred km away.
See you down the road.