There are some big decisions being made across the world at the moment. The American presidential election, creating an effective government in Spain, whether to use French or English for Brexit discussions – to name just a few.
Our decision is much smaller – do we go over or around the Pyrenees? Unlike most global political leaders we’ve been able to quickly and unanimously reached a consensus.
We’re going over.
The weather is set fair for the week ahead and as Mark F said (in his comment on our last post) – if we don’t do it now we might regret it for ever.
We’ve even decided to take a longer, prettier route – pedalling south east to start with (away from Barcelona), then challenging ourselves with four substantial climbs before cruising down to the Spanish coast. The last few days rest must have worked some magic for part time cyclists like us to even consider this!
I had a great time in Mallorca with my mates despite four days of unusually wet and windy weather. It didn’t stop us playing tennis for several hours each day, mostly at the brand new Rafa Nadal tennis academy which only opened the day we landed. We found it by chance as the courts we’d booked were either flooded out or fully occupied by a German tournament.
Rafa was kind enough to pop by for a hit with the boys…
(Actually he only wanted a photo.)
We did our best to show the top spinning, hard hitting, double handed backhand academy kids the different qualities of English Senior Gentlemen’s Doubles. Flat forehands, loopy backhands and our special secret weapon – the surprise drop shot service. But they did not appear to be that impressed. Kids today eh?!
Rafas entire trophy cabinet was on display at the centre. Here are his two Wimbledon trophies plus grand slam winning racquets from the ‘Big 4’.
Racquets from left to right: Murray, Djokovic, Ferderer, Nadal.
It was a great four days of rest and recuperation with a lot of laughs and many stories that I can’t repeat here. As the saying goes ‘what happens on tour, stays on tour.’
Clare had an equally good time in Toulouse with her friend Sue. They explored the city on foot, indulged in the cafe culture, enjoyed an evening of contemporary ballet and a walk around the Japanese gardens. Much more civilised!
Toulouse is a vibrant city full of young people. It has a lived in, slightly bohemian feel with lively bars, street markets and affordable restaurants. Known as La Ville Rose (the pink city) it features terracotta buildings decorated with wonderful wrought iron balconies in a pallette of blues and greens.
On my return, I was surprised and delighted to be guided around ‘Clare’s’ city. After just four days she feels at home here and fits in well with her new pink trainers.
The (very light) pink trainers replace a (heavy) pair of sandals for the climb up the Pyrenees. In another attempt to reduce weight we’ve also left behind:
- A pair of sandals
- A baseball cap
- My spare glasses (possibly not wise)
- The sandals (replaced by the trainers)
- A summer dress
- A travel towel (she’s now sharing mine)
- A travel pillow
- Surplus body cream and moisturiser
- A 2nd tube of toothpaste
Clare’s hairdryer and my pillow are both coming with us over the mountains. They’re essential kit, just like the safety pins!