Balaguer – rest and restock

We slept well again – and woke up late. We decided we would stay here at the well equipped but very expensive Camping La Noguera for two nights so we could get a few chores done today and get an early start tomorrow, instead of starting late and having a hot ride today. So we had brekkie and did our laundry at the campsite sinks – even the PJs got a wash! We also needed to check in with Yvonne at Rewilding Europe. We came to Catalonia to visit two projects in the Pyrenees, but Yvonne has been liaising with them for us, and she’s been out of the office for a week so we didn’t know if we could just turn up or not. So we sent her an email and asked if we could have a chat sometime today.

After writing up the blog from yesterday, at about 1pm Anna had a sudden sugar crash and it turned into a terrible day. We really needed to go into town (about 10 km away) for food and to get some kit, but Anna couldn’t face it. I think eventually when I said I would go on my own, FOMO got the better of her and she resignedly got her stuff together. Just before we left we got an email from Yvonne to say she could talk to us at 3 pm. It was 2.20 at this point – so we had to get into town pretty fast. Luckily once we set off the breeze cheered Anna up a bit and we made good time into Balaguer, arriving at 2.45.

The narrow old town streets of Belaguer

The narrow old town streets of Balaguer

We found a café and logged on just in time to chat to Yvonne. We found out that at least one Pyrenean project, La Muntanya D’Alinya, is keen for us to visit, which is great! Yvonne is going to send through contact details and the address so we can plan our onward route. Feels good to be sure we definitely have a reason to be here!

After chatting to Yvonne we went to the supermarket to get some food – the budget has been suffering a lot in the last few days – it’s much more expensive here than in Galicia and Portugal. Hopefully we can find a way to get the costs down! Anyway we went for delicious picnic lunch in the shade of a white birch tree by the river and watched some ducklings bobbing about on the water with their mum, and a solitary heron stalking the weir in search of careless fish.

Sated, we went in search of a bike shop. We needed cycling gloves for me (I stupidly lost one out of an open pannier while doing some ridiculous climb in Portugal a few weeks ago), chain lube and an expert to look at my gear cassette, which has been alarmingly failing to freewheel of late. We amazingly found an open bike shop (it’s still a fiesta here) and got the gloves and lube with minimal fuss. Now, to explain a stuck cassette to a guy who I didn’t share a language with….. With a lot of pointing and odd words of Spanish thrown in we eventually reached an understanding and he advised my to lube the hub for a few days. I’ll see how it goes. The guy was great, he also tuned my gears for free – I think he thought that’s what the problem was in the first place before I explained clearly with my expert Spanish and pointing. The shop was amazing, bikes and bits of bikes and tools all over the place, and a few ancient motorcycles outside – I think he does them too!

I'm sure I helped a bit

I’m sure I helped a bit

A piece of history

A piece of history

Chores done we headed home, uphill but with the wind behind us, found a shady bit by the tent and enjoyed second lunch at 6pm!

Lovely afternoon ride home

Lovely afternoon ride home

Now all that remains is to do laundry again, contact the rewilding project, check emails (I’m supposed to be buying a flat today and have no idea if it’s gone through, argh!), plan the route for tomorrow and pack away so we can get away early tomorrow. Easy!

– Dave

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