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Flint’s Travel Diary

Friday, 01 May 2009

Location: Siurana, Spain

MapWelcome to spain, land of crap internet, great views, awesome rock and exceptionally cheap wine. 1 euro a bottle is hard to beat when you´re on an Australian dollar induced budget of about 12 euros a day.

Fortunately with a bit of ducking behind bushes we´ve managed to camp without paying most nights and have only spent two nights in a hotel the entire time we´ve been here. The past few nights on the road we managed to find old buildings to shelter in or around. There absolutely everywhere in spain - 300 year old building here, 2000 year old castle there, just rotting away in a field somewhere waiting for impoverished cyclists to come along and move a few old roofing tiles off the floor so they can crash for the night - does no one think to clean these old ruins up a bit, the place is a bloody shambles. Of course in Australia they´d all be historic tourist attractiosn, but here there are so many of them the locals must just think they´re a nuisance sitting their in the middle of their olive groves. What I can´t get over is the fact that at some point someone must have just sat down and gone "you know what, I´m a bit sick of living in this plush 6 bedroom house, let´s move somewhere else." And left their fancy mansion, probably in pretty good condition, and built a house somewhere else. Of course, the several decades of civil war and Franco-induced repression may have had something to do with it, but it still seems a bit weird that there are houses, in not too terrible condition, which would have been in great condition 30, 50, 80 years ago, just rotting away in the fields.

Sometimes we´re even lucky enough to find old mattresses to chuck under the tent to give a bit of a break from the thermarests and let our sleeping injuries heal a little. It must be a good thing when you´re on a cycling and climbing trip and the worst injuries you sustain come from sleeping on a thermarest. Oh, that and the knees, which have been petitioning me for several days to have a rest from cycling and have finally been granted their wish courtesy of a few days climbing in the amazing hills of Montsant at a place called Siurana.

Like everywhere in Spain it seems, Siurana is an old castle town, a tiny village pirched at the end of penisular on top of a cliff in the most inaccessible place imaginable. Fortunately for us that means that aside from the 15 degree hils we had to climb to get up here, we can now walk to all the climbing and leave our bikes panting under the shade of the pine trees.

So today we´re even having a break from climbing as the great god of weather has decided it will rain for most of the morning and possible the afternoon. A bit of a shame as it´s our last day here before we head down to Barcelona and onto Francia.

Till then, Adieu.