Cadaques to Girona - Dreaming On - Over the Pyrenees - CycleBlaze

September 14, 2022

Cadaques to Girona

We are pumped as we have our sights on Girona, the bicycling capital of Catalonia!  A heavy thunder and lightening storm last night gave way to a cloudy fresh morning.  The temperature was perfect at 8am and there was little traffic heading up and inland on the peninsula from Cadaques.  It's a 5km slow peddle back to the top of the 300 meter climb before we turned north for a glorious 10km glide down and into El Port de la Selva.  We were on schedule but with a train to catch we resisted the temptation of coffee.  Following the coastline 5kms we were at the Llanca train station where we had 20 minutes to spare and dashed into the station cafe for tortilla, toast and delicious coffees.  

The German couple we met on the Roman bridge in Gualta several days ago said we must ride the fabulous climb over the mountains into Girona, the Els Angels.  On looking at it more closely we realized that other Cycleblazers, most recently the Mathers, have done this route as well.  At first glance it didn't fit in with our plan, but an advantage of European cycle touring is how easy it can be to hop on a train for 50km, so we were able to position ourselves for this epic route. 

We got off the train at Flaca.  We literally threw our stuff off the train there as we hadn't realized it was our stop until the train pulled into the station.  After gathering our wits, our bikes and our panniers, we picked up a sandwich and started.  Riding doesn't get much better than this, tranquil rolling hills, hardly any traffic, medieval villages and ancient churches.  A lovely winding road takes you gently up through the trees to Madremaya.  Then it’s a steep 500m climb up to the sanctuary.    Cyclists were flying down off the mountain alone or in groups, one guy flew by us, he had to be going 70km/hr as he leaned into the turn and was gone.  Wow, what a speed.  Now I can imagine a bit better the thrill of watching a Tour de Veulta pack go by!

Needless to say we're  going more slowly, huffing and stopping to mop the sweat and catch our breath.  Mercifully, a blanket of cloud filtered the sun but still it was 28C and very humid.    We could appreciate why Lance Armstrong and the team loved this route for training.  Too bad we didn't see his dealer for some pharmaceutical performance enhancement and had to make do with a cheese sandwich and tangerine to fuel us slowly to the top.

Wanting to get the full experience, at the crest we took the driveway another 200m up to the actual Santuari and climbed the stairs to the church where Salvatore Dali got married, to get the fantastic panoramic views towards Girona, Baix Emporda and the Pyrenees. 

The reward of coasting 10km down a winding, paved, almost car-free road was wonderful.  Amazing.  

Our apartment hotel for two nights is in the centre of the old town, on the Rambla de la Libertat, and the backside of the unit hangs over the River Onyar.  We have different views from the bedroom and from the living room.   After shopping for groceries and making supper, we went out to stroll in the warm night air to cement our first impressions of Girona.  It's a happening city, full of young people, students and tourists.  We are glad to have two nights here so we can explore at leisure tomorrow.

Riding by Port de Selva. It was threatening but didn’t rain.
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The joy of cycle touring in Europe: taking the train for 30 minutes and 8 Euro to get us to better cycling.
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The last of the gentle slopes
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Pause to catch our breath half way up the steep part to the Sanctuary.
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David MathersNice Mallorca jersey, Steve 👍
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2 weeks ago
We made it!
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David MathersCongratulations, bagged another Col 👍We loved this ride so much we rode it twice. Make sure to eat breakfast or lunch at La Fabrica, you’re probably a stones throw away, and also Expresso Mafia ☕️☕️🍰. Have fun!
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2 weeks ago
ann and steve maher-wearyTwice, gluttons for punishment! The ride down into Girona was wonderful! Yes we checked out Fabrica and went by the Mafia. Both super cool. Girona old town is compact and easy to get around. We loved it too. Definitely want to go back.
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1 week ago
Night scenes of Girona
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Plaça de la independencia
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David MathersThe ‘Game of Thrones’ used these stairs to shoot some scenes.
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2 weeks ago
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Today's ride: 50 km (31 miles)
Total: 262 km (163 miles)

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Rich FrasierAwesome day on the bikes! I hope you like Girona as much as we do!
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2 weeks ago
ann and steve maher-wearyYes we loved Girona. We have left already but definitely want to come back. Your trip was terrific too. I did it with my sister but need to take Steven. The run down from Nauders is fabulous.
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1 week ago