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Europe by Tandem

From Castellon (Spain) to Northern Cape (Norway) by Tandem supporting the fight against cancer.

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Day 34. Nissan lez Enserune- Amelie Les Bains

Posted by admin On Agosto - 13 - 2010

129 kilometers. 6 hours and 27 minutes.

IVAN: The Mediterranean Sea. The photograph on the left, beautiless, means nothing special for those who aren’t aware of our feelings. That picture depicts our first contact with the “Mare Nostrum”, the name the Romans gave to “Our Sea”, a term I have consciously taken hold of. Yes, that’s the Sea which has been keeping company with me throughout my life: I was born next to it, I grew up near to it, I played closed to it…I’ve spent my life in its proximity. When I saw it, again, after covering so many kilometers, I got goose bumps.     

The truth is that there is no rose without a thorn. Joy and sorrow attended the reunion as well. The Mediterranean Sea is usually accompanied by breezes and winds; today, the Sea’s companions were a bit flakey. They came from different directions: detrimental  head winds early in the morning, dizzying side winds later on, beneficial tail winds at noon. Well, we knew that this could happen. I’d like to thank my uncle for reminding me through facebook what Joan Manuel Serrat (Spanish singer-songwriter) would say in a situation like this:

“What am I gonna do if I was born in the Mediterranean?”

On the one hand, we got goose bumps; on the other hand, we felt awe when seeing the Pyrenees, that natural border which separates France from our land. In fact, we cycled along a road that connects Narbonne and Perpignan; 100 kilometers on a flat road. Once we covered those 100 kilometers and after steering clear from La Jonquera, we made our way to the lion’s den; banks of clouds and rain showers were looming over the Pyrenees; we could clearly make them out in a 10-kilometer distance. It was the chronicle of a death foretold. We were going to get wet, well, thoroughly wet.

After we rolled upward for 5 kilometers, it did start raining. And before you could say Jack Robinson, our arms, legs and faces were soaked to the skin; at once our clothes, sneakers and socks got wet as well. Since today’s blog post is about feelings, you can’t imagine how we felt: we cycled 100 kilometers; it began to rain; we were going up a mountain pass while hammering hard, raindrops pounding on our faces; our feet, wet; our arms and legs, dripping wet. You experience an awesome feeling; almost  unbeatable. J.L. and I have had several talks about the feelings you get out of sports. He once told me about a conversation he had with a sports medicine doctor. He said: “the sensations that an avid sportsperson feels are a cut above the sensations that an ordinary person feels; even the sensations that a person who is on drugs or other illegal substances feels”. These pleasurable sensations, as I mentioned before in a blog post, are for those “silly” ones who decide to stop painting the town red (even for a while), stop going to all-night parties, stop drinking alcohol, stop hanging out and drinking on the street and who decide to become an early bird and work hard.

I’ll finish by telling you we are sleeping in a Pre-Pyrenees town tonight. Tomorrow, first thing in the morning, the MOUNTAIN, with a capital M, awaits us. We are going up an elevation of 1600 meters  (we are already at 250 meters); Paco and the bags are coming with us so we are going to take a rest today. Hope our muscles work tomorrow as well as they worked today. Ah, I nearly forgot: let’s hope Paco dries out! This is what he looked like when he got to the hostel.

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