Waking up early is a blessing and curse of being at a certain age. In my case, today, I was very happy to be wide awake and refreshed whilst having the luck to see the sun rise over the hills and illuminate my room in a warm orange glow.
After enjoying a last few words with the owner and my prepared-just-for-me breakfast. I pack the TWIKE and hit the road again – driving eastward. As it’s only 500km to Barcelona from here and I have 2 days to go, I can either drive further today to reduce the remaining distance the day after or the other way round. Let’s see how I feel.
The first part of my morning will be a selection of very small single-lane roads which do not go around the hills but rather from hill to hill. This turned out to be quite the treat:
The following place was just magical and the picture, whilst really nice, doesn’t do the view and feeling justice.
After a nice few hours on these small roads, I decided that I wanted to drive a little further today so I could get to Barcelona early tomorrow and have some time for the city and some serious relaxation. In order to drive slightly faster, I returned to the main roads and upped the average speed.
The drive along these flat-lands is just very, very boring. Thankfully, I had still quite a few things in my podcast queue to listen to.
To give you an idea how this endless road driving looked like, I recorded my entry onto the flat and a condensed time-lapse of 30 minutes – i hope you like it.
Usually, I stop from time to time to get either something to drink or a snack. Spanish bars always have the available tapas on display – this one had one of my favourite bar snacks – pork scratchings YUM. Get into my belly! I like the Spanish version of this snack, as it isn’t as heavily seasoned as the British version and still has some real meat that comes with the cut.
Whilst nibbling on my snack, I check the map and see that there is a shortcut I could take across some hills and on a very small road which would save me around 85km.
It turned out to be – yet again – a beautiful stretch of very quiet, single-lane road with lots of views and winding roads from one sleepy village to the next.
After the shortcut I was back on the normal main road to Barcelona – with all its traffic and not much to see. The upside – there is always one – was that there were petrol stations in regular intervals where I could get something to drink and snack whilst I was watching some documentaries streamed via LTE.
Eventually, I decided that today’s final destination would be Lleida. I was slowly moving closer to 400km on today’s charge, feeling tired and ready for some Gin and Tonic’s and didn’t want to push further, as Barcelona is only around 150km from Lleida.
My hotel told me proudly that they have charging stations – which is good news in itself, but I don’t have a Type2 plug receptacle for my TWIKE …yet. This means that I had to resort to old-school charging from a normal plug
Having arrived at Lleida at 1930 and wanting to leave at 0900 the next day would give me 13h to charge at ~1.2 kW…an amount that is still very ok for the schuko-type plug I was charging from. Charging was free and part of the room price. I’m wondering if we’re going to see the same kind of evolution we had with WiFi… first a very niche offering which was usually for free, then hotels discovered that business travelers were absolutely willing to expense 15€ a day for high-throughput WiFi to where we are today. No-one would go to a hotel that charges for WiFi these days. It’s just part of the overall cost of a room: period. (sure, there are some major differences between WiFi and a car – specifically for parking etc., I know, i know.)
I dump my stuff in the room and head to the hotel bar and order lots of water and my first G&T of the evening.
Later, I venture out into town as I’ve not yet been to Lleida and the city looked interesting when I arrived.
I found myself a very nice tapas bar and started another evening of Boquerones, patatas bravas, gambas al ajio with some beers and chatting with the people around me.
Like in Portugal, cities had allowed hospitality providers to space out their tables far into roads and parks – it seems that here, also, they were allowed to keep the new setups since they really added to the amount of people they could serve and an overall augmentation of quality of life. I truly hope that these rules can be kept and that cities continue pushing car traffic out of their centres – build and maintain cities for people and people will come, small businesses fostering entrepreneurship will settle and quality of life will go up even more. ’nuff said.
I’m looking forward to my drive to Barcelona tomorrow. Not only that it will be a short and enjoyable drive along the sea but also to see if and how Barcelona’s low emissions zone has changed the city centre. I’m curious how the checks to enter the city look like. A ver!
Here are today’s stats. Good night.