A relaxing drive-free day in Barcelona with my family is just what I needed. As a family, we’ve been to Barcelona many times. Long before flygskam we loved taking the train from Switzerland to our place in southern Spain. Door to door this trip took us a full 24h and was a great way to get into the mood for vacation – including first G&T’s on-board and having a full sleeping compartment reserved just for us. We loved the overnight direct train ‘Pablo Casals‘ from Zurich to Barcelona as it arrived in Barcelona just in time for breakfast. (This train was unfortunately cancelled and put an end to our yearly trip by train).
Back to today’s drive: From today onward, I will no longer be driving alone – my wife will be my co-pilot and we’re both looking forward to traveling together. Due to the extreme heat forecast for the next few days, we decide to leave at 5 am in order to cover some distance without too much heat.
Our distance for today is 410+ km and will – given the topography and the fact that we’re going to be two adults in the TWIKE – be pushing the limits of my pack’s capacity. Curious to see just how much more capacity a 30+°C pack will give me!
The subterranean parking garage was much cooler than the temperatures outside – the 3°C more for the battery pack are the result of my slow but full charge.
As per – an unwritten – tradition, I take a TWIKE pilot’s team picture for today. We’re ready to go!
We’re surprised how much traffic is already on the roads at 5 am. Probably it’s not only us trying to beat the heat 🙂
We drive across the city to the coast and then just follow the smallest roads available.
Around two hours into our trip, we are ready for some breakfast and stop at one of the many bakeries along the road and decide to get some coffee and pastries. Spain is a very good place for someone with a sweet tooth…like me. Yum Yum!
As always there is no getting away from a stop just like that – the person behind the counter had many questions as did the guy walking his dog outside and the delivery van person stopping to have a closer look. We’re always sorry to have to say that we need to get back on the road again.
Just a few kilometres further down the road we enter a few hills and a nice road winding its way from small fishing village with a port to the next. Traffic is getting heavier, but thankfully not in our direction as we’re heading away from Barcelona.
Our sunrise was special, since it not only bathed the landscape in front of us in golden colors – it also blinded us through our rear-view mirrors.
The rest of the day will consist of us driving towards some hills, enjoying the bends and gradients and then getting back to a long stretch of flat and straight roads with some hills in the distance. Given the near-perfect road surfaces and the low density of speed-bumps, this turns out to be very enjoyable indeed!
We settle into a very relaxing routine of me handing off the yoke when I want to take a picture and my wife finally also getting into vacation-mode.
We stay on smaller roads and munch away at the distance towards Valencia.
Directly at the sea, the inactive Vandellòs I nuclear power plant has been here in this state since 2003, when it was finally deemed safe and contained by the Spanish nuclear safety council. This plant is just metres away from the sea and visible from both the motorway and train when traveling south from Barcelona.
Just beside the nuclear power plant, we find Alpiq’s Spanish investment – a 400MW gas fired combined cycle gas turbine power plant. Efficient it might be, but we’re still burning fossil fuels here. Given all the wind, sun and barren, non arable land here, I imagine it would be rather easy to up the current ~30% renewable percentage in Spain’s energy mix.
Midday is close and we are getting hungry. We pop into a shop, buy some Spanish essentials and continue driving until we find a perfect spot for our pic-nic.
Just moments later we find the perfect spot.
With some Chorizo, Manchego cheese, Jamon serano, bread and water, we’re set to enjoy a thoroughly Spanish meal. The light breeze at the beach keeps the temperatures at a bearable level.
Slightly over an hour later we’re back on the road. Temperatures are still rising – we drive along at over 37°C and sweat heavily. The roads themselves are still near-perfect with just the odd speed bump.
By around 3 pm our battery’s charge is nearing its end. Thanks to the higher temperatures during the day, the charge is slightly better than expected, but it’s still cutting things finely and I really want to avoid setting up a recharge at the last minute, adding another 30-45 minutes to our already very long day.
At least, we are still more or less on a 0-km-left target zone for today. (using my normal battery capacity model)
Valencia’s welcome sign is very timely as we’re running out of juice fast.
We’ve decided to stay in an old small town just outside of Valencia called Liria – it has a direct metro line to Valencia and the town itself looked interesting when I was researching our stay. (which it is!)
Approaching Valencia, I was starting to worry that we would need to drive up the hills towards Liria, as I knew it was a town located at a hill…which we thankfully didn’t have to. The town itself, however, was indeed on a very steep hill, a rock protruding from the otherwise flat landscape around Liria. And our place for the night was nearly at the top of this hill.
We meet up with our daughters who have been waiting for us at a petrol station and drive to the house together.
All is good: we make it on one charge…thanks to the batteries having about ~400 Wh more energy due to them being around 36°C during the day.
As always: here come the stats for today…
Still happy with our consumption for today – and the 16km bonus we realized thanks to the heat! 0% charge left according to the Wh-model.
411 km is far when sitting in a TWIKE!
According to the Ah-model we’ve still got about 3% left – which is probably slightly over what is really available. Overall, we’re at 15873 Wh for today and I assume we could still get about 200-400 Wh from this charge before we hit 300V OCV.
day 1: _180.5 km / _9729 Wh / 53.9 Wh/km / 00.00 CHF
day 2: _417.5 km / 14669 Wh / 35.1 Wh/km / 00.00 CHF
day 3: _393.5 km / 13528 Wh / 34.4 Wh/km / 00.00 CHF
day 4: _383.2 km / 14019 Wh / 36.6 Wh/km / 00.00 CHF
day 5: _411.9 km / 15873 Wh / 38.5 Wh/km / 00.00 CHF
Total: 1786.6 km / 67818 Wh / 38.0 Wh/km / 00.00 CHF
Tomorrow will be another drive-free day. We’re going to visit Liria and Valencia before embarking on our last leg to our apartment in San Juan.
Thank you for reading – I hope you enjoy these entries and are motivated by them to start traveling with your own TWIKE.