Day 4 – 3rd July 2020 – Allué to Barcelona
After a lovely meal last night, breakfast is amazing. I can’t begin to describe the range of meats, cheeses, breads, fruit, jams and marmalades, etc. on offer; a humungous spread. Gilbert certainly knows how to look after his guests.. and here he is:
I also took the opportunity to take a few more photos of Casa Vera too… a real gem in the Pyrenean foothills.
Gilbert told me he is more or less fully booked all year round with the winter being especially popular for the skiing. If you are looking for a rustic hideaway or skiing trip then look no further.
I am soon on my way again. Guess what.. the bloody left hand mirror has moved again, unbelievable.. no matter what I do it won’t stay in the right position.
The day however, is fantastic… starting a little chilly but soon warming up nicely.
Am making good progress and try to sort out the mirror every time I stop… hopeless.
Here are some views from the journey.
After about 150 kms I stop for petrol and lunch… yay they have my favourite Boccadillo y Lomo, (Pork butty), it’s enormous so eat half and keep half for later.
I decide to pull over and make a final attempt to sort the mirror out, as I am losing the will to live now. The bike then tries to topple over onto me again, I have parked on a slight slope.. ridiculous.. am going to have to sort this out for sure.
Mirror still won’t stay put so at the next stop I check out Royal Enfield Spain to see if there is a dealer in Barcelona… yes there is, ok the plan is to ride to RE and buy a set of standard mirrors, yes the same as the ones I took off.. sigh!! Maybe they will have something I can put under the side stand to stop the bike keeling over onto me?? They might have a stand ‘puck’, it’s usually a plastic disc that one uses to put under your side stand on soft ground to stop it sinking in.. well worth a try methinks, but I will need a thick one, at least 10-15mm, maybe I can get two and double up.
Onwards… as I near Barcelona I see Monserrat in the distance.. oooo the last time I rode past it was dark so am getting a great view today; still no opera singers or queens in attendance though. In fact I decide to take a detour up the mountain to see it up close. There is a monastery on the top and the road is full of hairpin bends.
Down the other side and about 20kms later there is an enormous traffic jam.. I wait patiently in line for a while, but eventually decide to ride up the ‘hard shoulder’, which I’m pretty sure is ok, I hope. After a while I decide to try a different route, the gps (Waze) routes me onto a B road which loops around and brings me back to the jam on the A2, but I seem to have skipped quite a lot of it as I am soon at the head and see the problem is a massive lorry crash, looks pretty nasty, but I don’t stop to stare and am soon back zooming along towards the big B.
Before long I am in Barcelona and riding down the Avenida Diagonales, (those of you who have read my previous blogs will know I spent the best part of an evening riding up and down this road looking for somewhere to stay the last time I was here.. PBDC – pre booking dot com), and in 15 minutes I am pulling up onto the pavement outside the RE dealer, I love bike parking in Spain.
Well this seems to be my lucky day, not only are they open, they actually have a set of mirrors in stock, which by itself is pretty amazing. The price however is not, €50… ouch! Oh well, I don’t have much choice really, I mean I could try and find a general motorcycle shop and buy a set of cheap mirrors, but I don’t have time and I’m bound to get the wrong screw size to fit the bike so the easiest and quickest way is to buy genuine RE mirrors, so that is what I do.
It takes a bit of time to fit them, I have to get my tools out and undo a few things, the water bottle holder is in the way and the nuts are an odd size… most stuff is 10 or 12 mm, these are 13, luckily I have a 13mm socket so all good. They are going to be great, so no more having to hold the mirror in position every time I want to overtake.
RE didn’t have a ‘puck’ but I suddenly remember that the winch has one and it is pretty substantial too so I get that out and use it to ensure the bike doesn’t throw itself on me again. It works bloody great, am well chuffed… here it is
you can see it is a good 10-15mm thick, just right.
It is now getting on for 5.30 and checking out my ferry instructions it says to arrive at the port 4 hours before sailing. Ok so I am sailing at 23.15 that means I need to be there by 7.15 latest. I was hoping to go and see the cathedral as I missed it on my last visit, but I prefer to just get myself to the port and be ready.
I find the terminal for Grimaldi Ferries and go to the check in desk. The guy directs me out of the building and tells me to ride around the back, which I do. There are a few cars waiting so I just park up the bike and get my paperwork out. With each sailing I have to complete a Covid questionaire so I take the opportunity to fill one in for this trip.
Less than 10 minutes later another guy waves us through a gate.. oh maybe we can get on the boat straight away, that will be good.. nope no such luck. We are then asked by a young woman, Porta Torres or Civitavecchia? I am going to Porta Torres so she directs me into another holding area. Yet another chap tells me where to park and then comes over to check my ticket. He keeps scanning it with his little machine, but he is looking very puzzled. He calls the young woman over, she spots the problem immediately of course… ‘this is for tomorrow…’ what? Oh no, really’, I obviously have got myself confused, I thought the date on the ticket was arrival, for some weird reason.. ‘do you think I can change it’ says I, ‘oh yes, no problem, just go back to the ticket office, you can leave your bike here’. ‘Great, gracias’.
I walk back over to the check in desk and it is no problem to change it. I see there is a cafeteria.. mmm wonder if I have time for a quick cafe con leche? I decide to chance it. I walk back over to the bike, there is only me and about 4 cars waiting so looks like it’s going to be a quiet trip.
The little machine man comes back over and scans my new ticket. He takes a look at my passport, takes my completed Covid questionaire and that’s it. He sticks a sticker on the front of the bike and hands me a similar ticket. It seems I will be travelling on the Cruise Roma, good to know I guess. I ask him what time does he think we will be boarding… about 9 he says, ok so I’ve got at least a couple of hours to kill. I head back to the cafeteria, might as well get something to eat and another coffee while I sit and write the blog.
I ask for the wifi password, the young girl behind the counter says I have to go to the check in office. Ok so I have some food and a coffee and then head back to the check in… they are fed up with me by now lol. The wifi is broken, ok do they have wifi on the ship? Yes, but you have to pay… well that is to be expected I think.. captive audience after all. No problem as I can write the blog and publish it later when I have a wifi connection. Whilst I am sitting there a huge ferry ship pulls up right outside, I see it is the Cruise Roma just arrived… goody.
Around 8.30 I make my way back to the bike and there are now quite a few more cars and a couple of motorbikes waiting. Every few seconds an enormous lorry trundles past on its way to the ferry, one after another. This goes on for a further 2 hours. I am desperate for a wee, must be all that coffee, but am reluctant to go back over to the check in building in case we are called forward to board. The other holding paddock is for the Civitavecchia travellers who will stay on the ship after Porta Torres; Civitavecchia is the port of Rome, and just as I am about to take a chance on running to the loo they are called forward so I think I’ll have to hold on a wee bit longer, excuse the pun. I put my helmet on and sit on the bike ready… waiting, waiting, waiting. The Citivecchia group is now waiting in a queue which doesn’t appear to be moving. A woman goes over to little machine man and has a conversation, I get the feeling she is asking how long because like me she is bursting. He seems to tell her it will be ok and she scurries off. I give it another 5 minutes and then I know I’m not going to be able to hold on much longer so I too ask him if I have time for servicios?? Oh yes, he says, at least 20 minutes. Great, so I get myself over to the check in building again, waving at the check in people like old friends. I am wandering back to the bike and am sure I can hear motorcycles.. Yep, they have gone.. 20 minutes my bum. I am allowed to catch up with the other bikes and we wait in the queue before we are at last allowed to board.
I have booked a seat and don’t bother to upgrade this time as it’s only a 12 hour trip. Despite the enormous number of lorries that seem to have gone past and the cars etc, the ship is quite empty. It is a ginormous ship with 7 garages so that is probably why.
I find myself a seat and then go off to see what is available. I do manage to get some more food and a bottle of water and then back to my seat for the duration. Am slightly regretting not getting a cabin as I know I am not going to sleep, I rarely sleep on airplanes so doubt I’ll do any better on this.
Sardinia tomorrow, a new country for me, am looking forward to spending a few days there before getting the ferry to Civitavecchia.
Now to sort out the wifi.. I wonder how much of a rip-off that’s going to be!
Ciao Bella xx
Here’s the route and a spot of filming