Day 16. Manresa, the new word for failure. (Monday 13th October)

There’s nothing more depressing than walking down a hill with a broken bike, hills are meant to be sped down. While taking a morning walk through Manresa to waste a little time before the train, an old old man hobbled over with his walking stick and said, “hey, what’s wrong with you, has your bike run out of gasoline!” Such was my upset over not making the final few miles it took me all of my effort not to shove his walking stick down his festering paella stuffing mouth hole. I had to laugh and smile at the loco viejo tonto. But I decided at this point that my new word for failure would be Manresa!

I sat staring at the bike on the train, thinking how I was going to get it back to the UK. On the train the bike became some sort of tourist attraction with people quite rudely waving their hands at me or pushing me to move out of the way so they could take a picture, they didn’t even have the manners to even ask.

I got off the train at the Arc de Triomf (yes they do spell it that way!) and then as an ironic gesture had my picture taken with the bike next to it. I sat in the shade of a palm tree and tried to figure out my next move. l had wanted to spend a couple of days cycling around town, but now I had a 40kg millstone around my neck which I could do little with. I had also planned on taking suburban trains back to Paris and then the Eurostar but this was only possible if I could cycle between small towns to connect with local trains as both Spain and France don’t allow bikes on long distance trains. So that focused my options.

I had to hire a car, take the bike to bits, shove it in the back and get the ferry from Santander to Portsmouth. There were only two ferries a week and the only available space was in 2 days time. So that was it… I had to walk 10 miles to the airport to pick up the car as none were available in town and I couldn’t realistically safely leave all of my luggage and bike in the centre.

But that’s it a sad reflection on the end of what had been an amazing trip, compounding the sad feeling of finishing such a journey. Everything I had travelled with including the bike was now in bits in the back of a Volkswagen golf!

But I couldn’t leave it that way….. but in the meantime, tomorrow was a full days drive through northern Spain to Santander.

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