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We've got a bit of wind: cycling from Barcelona to Valencia 🚴‍♂️🚴🏻‍♂️🇪🇸 in 4 days

We've got a bit of wind: cycling from Barcelona to Valencia 🚴‍♂️🚴🏻‍♂️🇪🇸 in 4 days

January 2020 · 11 min read · Castellón de la Plana

We've got a bit of wind: cycling Barcelona to Valencia in 4 days
We've got a bit of wind: cycling Barcelona to Valencia in 4 days

After resting for three wonderful days in Barcelona we headed out to Valencia. We had the route segmented into four days, achievable distances and a hosts to stay with. "Everything will be fine"—so we thought—it will just be like every other time. The route was roughly 400 kilometers long. We will pass through two towns, Tarragona and Castellón, and in between there'll be lots of little "summer retreat" villages along the sunny coasts of Spain.

Barcelona > Tarragona > Tortosa > Castellon > Valencia

First destination: Tarragona

Given our experiences cycling into and out of cities, leaving Barcelona was not as easy as we had thought. It took half of the morning! The combination of cycleways and highway made navigating the road very slow and frustrating. We had to switch to a different app after getting frustrated with the route Maps.Me proposed. It made us cycle to the airport terminal and we were passing through travellers with their suitcases! So we switched to our backup application called We used it a lot back in Central Asia to see detailed altitude chart. We seldom use it now because the file size for each region was very large - internet data is a precious resource when you don't get WiFi often.

After leaving the city there were only two roads left to choose. Highway C32 had modern tunnels and multiple lanes but it wasn't for bicycles, so the hilly C31 was our option. We were glad we have taken this road because the coastal scenery was amazing. The highway zigzagged along the coast, often ascending and descending between each turn. High cliffs got us up to incredible views of the blue water stretching out towards the horizon. The weather was perfect so it was blue everywhere we looked—up and down—except the grey asphalt we were on. Surprisingly there were still quite a lot of traffic on the road. They were big vans and trucks sharing the single lane road with us. Even though they patiently waited behind us, we felt pressured to keep cycling and couldn't enjoy the scenery as much as we would've liked. Unfortunately we didn't take any photos because we were on the wrong side of the road, and the high traffic put us off taking photos.

Many hours of cycling later we stopped to have lunch. We had been very organised recently with our food preparation. In order to save time and get more daylight cycle time, we prepared our snacks and lunches in the morning. Cooking at home is much better than out in the open. Only a long-term traveller would appreciate seeing a kitchen stove, sink and hot water.

Fun Fact: we still have two gas cartridges purchased back in February 2019 from Iran! We started with 8 and used them all the way until now.

An hour after sunset, we arrived at our host in Tarragona. Tired and exhausted, we were happy knowing the day was over! Nessy and Joan shared a flat at the top floor of a building right in front of a Roman ruin. If we remembered correctly it was shared with 5 flatmates and 3 travellers. The home had an awesome travellers feel to it. We felt bad for crowding up their place, but everyone was relaxed and cool with it, they enjoyed living with guests. It was a welcoming home. After unloading our bicycles and getting cleaned up, we got around the table and started storytelling. Matt was very good at this. He was the type of storyteller that would get you hooked into the story, listening intently, and share the emotions we we having during one of the many adventurous moments.

A protected seaside Amphitheatre

Birds eye view of the "Roman Forum of Tarragona" from the house we stayed at

After dinner we got a walking tour with our host. In the dark we walked around the city centre and enjoyed the beautifully decorated street lights. We learned a bit about the history and origin of the human towers. We walked past a building where they trained and sometimes during the day you may get to watch them practice live. Our time was short so we weren't able to stay another day and see the real stuff. At least we could say we have been there.

Second Destination: Tortosa

The next morning came and we said goodbye to Nessy and thanked everyone for helping bring the bags down. It was a clear beautiful morning, should be another great ride with a small hill at the end of the day. By around morning tea break time we had some strong cross wind to battle. We were becoming cautious of our safety. The wind was incredibly strong, not like those we had experienced up above Qinghai's (China) 3000 metre desert. Thankfully the road's wide shoulder was enough for us sway left and right. Any narrower we would have been crossing the white line into oncoming traffic. Thankfully this piece of road was low in traffic, many drivers have opted for the 'autobahn'. But still, we felt unsafe carrying on when our loaded bicycles were still being pushed like a bullied kid. Pheng got to a rest stop and waited for Matt to catch up. There was a road cyclist there too, on the phone probably trying to figure a way home with this strong wind. On his light bicycle it wouldn't take much to lift him up and send to the moon. When Matt arrived we talked about how we should proceed. This may be another time we break our route.

Taking the elevator to reach the other platform

Very nice inside the train: spacious and clean toilet

The nearest train station was still 15 km away and we weren't in a position to hitchhike from here. Our only choice was to battle on and cycle there. It wasn't something we'd normally do. The weather had changed our schedule a bit. We had taken other transport before due to rain, snow, but now wind. We've only taken the train once and that was in Istanbul, Turkey. The reason for that was: the people. We arrived in L'Ametlla and had lunch behind the tourist information building. We went in to get train tickets but were told you hop in and if the ticket officer is there, you can pay it there. If they're not there, its your lucky day (or unlucky?). Thankfully the trains allowed bicycles. There was a direct train going to Tortosa, but we wanted to take advantage of the situation and take the train all the way down to Castellon. This would give us a head-start to reach Valencia. We took two trains and by 9pm we arrived in Castellon. Our host Guillermo had kindly allowed us to stay a day earlier and arriving at 10pm worked perfectly for him and his flatmates. They lived out of town so we had to cycle 15 km there. In the dark it was tricky, but we followed the cycle way and it made our journey as fast as we could. We were Guillermo's first WarmShower guest and he was awesome. We were so grateful he was flexible and understanding of our situation.

From the train station we could see the wind turbines spinning very happily

The whole flat worked at the same software startup company and we connected very well with everyone. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner together talking about our journey around the world. Guillermo is also planning to pack up and head out to see the world on his bicycle in 2020.Mentally it had been a long day, but not physically though. We asked to stay an extra day and to explore the little town of Castellon. Perhaps this little town will have something to surprise us. Mentally it had been a long day, but not physically though. We asked to stay an extra day and to explore the little town of Castellon. Perhaps this little town will have something to surprise us.

Second Destination: Tortosa Castellon de la Plana

Early in the morning we got up and hitched a ride with Guillermo to his work. From there we had an entire day to roam around the city. We knew little about Castellon, but after visiting so many places you get tired of looking up places. Coming to a place with little or no expectation means you're more likely to be surprised by what you see. The first thing we wanted to go see was the city centre. The building's facade in most European's town centre are immaculate, detailed like piece of art. In New Zealand we have them too but they don't get the appreciation or admiration. Some home have decorations more well done than their neighbours, but overall as a collective they are beautiful.

Matt needed a new light on his bicycle because we've been using an 'okay' one since Iran. It was the right time to go get one. Cycling in the dark the previous night showed how much we really needed good lights, roughly 500 Lumen or more. The cheap one we got in Iran was barely 100 Lumen, and the battery didn't last long either! Cycling here is very popular so even the smallest town will have a shop, Castellon had several so we went to a big one that's sure to have a few options. We got to the store and picked a few to look at. The assistant demonstrated the lights explaining the basics and we figured pretty quicky - the brighter we want, the more we pay. We decided on something nice in the middle: a 500 Lumen light for €24 (NZ$42). After paying and feeling happy with ourselves, we realised that the demonstration was done inside the store which was fairly lit. Perhaps it would've been better tested in the dark!

The tiling on these park benches are beautiful, probably telling a local story or something

We found our favourite bench of them all

We got back to his workplace just before sunset. Guillermo showed us his office workplace and we threw some darts while waiting for him to finish up. For dinner that night we had steamed mussels and it was wonderful. Plenty of protein to get them pedals going tomorrow. We planned the route for tomorrow's ride and Guillermo gave us a lot of tips on where to go. Two interesting thing stood out for us: an ancient Roman road and the straightest cycle path leading into Valencia.

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Third Destination: Valencia

Alas we've made it to the last day to reach Valencia. There were some awesome sights on the way so we recorded the ride using Strava to create a video later. We've been making these videos recently which showed our cycling journey with finer details and media. These automatically generated video display the route animating over the satellite images of landscape. Later photos and videos are added to the location it was recorded. After about 30 minutes editing on the smartphone they are finished and shared straight to our followers.

Our wonderful host Guillermo (left) and Salvia (third)

Mascarell is the only completely walled village in the whole of the Valencian Community

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Shared on Youtube "Relive: Les Acqeries to Valencia"

Oh right, what did we see on the way? The Cami de Lliria (1m:00s) was a highway built by the Romans to link up the cities of Spain to Rome. Some parts of this has been preserved and nowadays the road is mainly used by farmers and cyclists who doesn't like to busy main road. The other amazing thing we really enjoyed was the cycleway going to Valencia (1m:06s). It was the straightest piece of cycleway we had ever ridden on. We cycled through so fast we didn't even remember much details.

Bright sunny day in Valencia

By three o'clock we arrived at the famous gates of Valencia. The city was super busy with tourists and we joined in! Without much time to waste, we got in touch with our host from WarmShowers and headed to their home. It was a lovely short ride getting into Valencia.

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