New stuff on the blog!

This day I spent the morning by fixing with my blog.
*The About me page is redone
*The map on the “Where am I?”-page is deleted, and instead there are two links: one for smartphones and one for computer, where the computer one is more detailed and better (but does not work well on all smartphones).
*Added some pages, for example Contact me and How to use this site.
*Also some fixes in the sidebar!

I ate a small lunch Orion made, which tasted awesome (and healthy).

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Then, I went to meet my parents at the beach. After little trouble, I managed to find them.
We went for dinner at a place around the corner from their hotel. At that restaurant, you were supposed to order many smaller plates and share them. It was a small problem that my mum can’t eat meat or gluten, but we got some sort of mix in the end, even though she sadly can’t taste everything, for example this meat.

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Note: the coal were edible, made out of potato
After leaving them on their hotel, I went back to the apartment again.
My host, Orion, is a professional photographer (actually really good – he won the prize “photographer of the month” from the company he is doing work for). He had earlier taught me more about how to use a camera to get the photo the way you wish, so I started experimenting in my way home. Even if not a perfect camera, I think the result is nice!

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There may be better pictures on this blog in the future, I just need a way to get them from the camera to my iPhone!
Also, if interested, check out Orions website, where you can see some of his work!
http://orionlafuente.com/

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Arrival of the parents

The morning started with a really good sandwich made by Orion. He put salmon, tomato, avocado, tuna and some other nice stuff on dark bread, and it was both delicious and satisfying.
I was going to meet up with my german friends at their camping, and the plan was to take the bus. I went about half an hour before I had to, which was really good, as everything went straight to hell.
One guy told me I had to buy bus tickets at the metro station. The people down there did not really speak english, so I bought the wrong sort of tickets according to the bus driver. Went down again, and this time it was also the wrong ones. After refunding those, someone told me you could pay on the bus (which you could not according to the other people). They did apparently not take card though, so another bus went away. After withdrawing money, I succeeded, and were on the way. I came there 15 minutes late…
No problem though, Felix met me at the station, and we went to the beach were Christoph were waiting.

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The camping they lived at were pretty nice, and five metres from the beach, but every four minutes or so an airplane went over from the airport. Not that fun, but I guess you get used to it!

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We ate a late lunch at the camping, hamburger with fries for me. After that, it was time to say goodbye for real, as they were heading back the next time. I had a great time with them, and hopefully I will met them again some day!
I headed out from the camping, with the plan to walk to the airport. Of course I put out my thumb, and in less than five minutes I got picked by a guy and his wife (I think she was from Poland, not sure about him, but he had lived in Spain for eight years). I actually told him to drop me off at the exit of the highway as they were not going to the airport, but he was nice enough to drive me to the front, maybe because he liked my story about my biking life!

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Because I got picked up, I had half an hour spare time. First, I used the free internet at the airport, but as it is limited to 15 minutes, it quickly ran out. I asked a stranger if she could share, and I got some 4G from her (by sharing, it was like 120 ms and 40/10. Nice!).
Finally my parents arrived, and after some hugging we went to take the train. I followed them to their hotel, and then we went out to eat, which was really nice, even though the place was so-so for that price.
We went back to the hotel room, and I got some stuff that I wanted from home, for example a Swedish flag to put on the bike, a new water bottle (lost one of my old ones), some documents and a little bit of candy. It should be enough.

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4.5 kilo of glory and
satisfying destruction

Also, bonus picture taken from the sea, because I can!

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You should not be shy

Today, my friends will go home to Sweden. They were going to throw away plenty of food, beer, shower gel and so on, so I crammed everything interesting down my bags.
When they had left, I though making my vote, as there would be another four hours before my host would come home. On the way there, I saw two people with big backpacks. First, I cycled by them, but then I decided that I would have more fun talking with them than voting! I rolled up to them and asked if they had any plans for the next few hours, and if I could join them. The were going to the park by Arc de Triomf, so I went there by bike, and met up with them when they arrived with metro.
I had already eaten breakfast, but as they had not, I ate some brunch-think with them, just mixing what I had and what they had. They got all the beers as I do not drink beer (but it would have been a bad waste to pour it down the sink), and I boiled some eggs I got from the Swedes. I got a good sandwich with avocado and some other fruit stuff, and also ate a bowl with milk, yoghurt and cereals. It started raining in the beginning, so we took cover beneath the roof.

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This is where we had brunch!

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This was the end of the park, and some guys were doing big bubbles

I went to my host, who I had met in Paris. I saw on Facebook that he was in Barcelona, so I got to stay at his place for some time.
In the evening, I went out to buy the tripod I had seen yesterday, and also looked for new tires for the bike, as the old rear one was almost flat by now. The tripod really were nice, and I think I will have use of it on my adventures!
Me and my host went to a really cheap place, to eat some more local food. The first place was closed, but we went to another one. It was… an experience, as the service were pretty poor, but the food was good, and cheap. After that, we went on a walk while Orion showed me some nice places, before heading home again!

Time to relax

Waking up at ten, I felt stressed before realizing I did not have to bike today!
I took it really easy, just relaxing in the apartment while the others went to the beach. I went there later, maybe at three, and continued relaxing. On my way there, I bough a pair of cheap bath shorts (4.95) as my old ones are in south of Spain.

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After going back to the apartment, I followed them out to look at some shopping in El Corte Ingles. I found a tripod that could be nice, that would fit for both my Canon PowerShot G10 and my iPhone, and I also looked at the cheaper tablets (50 euros) as a light alternative to a computer.
After the shopping, we went for dinner at Maur, some pretty nice restaurant near the apartment. I started with eating a Saber (look at the picture) and followed up with a pizza. Really nice food, and really nice to not feel hungry!

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Back to the apartment again, playing some magic just hanging out before going to bed again. I had also managed to get in touch with a guy I met in Paris, so I have a place to stay at tomorrow!

My first stage done!

First of all: Fear the mighty ladybug!

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We took a really easy morning, and I ate some breakfast, as usual. This was 3000 kcal, and it should be enough for me to continue biking the last ~65 kilometres!

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We did not leave before one o’clock. I continued using my arm-warmers as protection against the sun, drenched in water. I also had a buff beneath my helmet. Those really helped me keep cool while biking! Because I started using water for my clothes, I used my Dromedary Bag (my water bag) and filled it up with some extra litres.

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While biking, we had more or less down hill, but headwind. I went in the back, which made it pretty easy for me, even though I had more weight and they had SPD. The views were great, and I think Spain has offered the greatest views so far!

We still went on fairly big roads, but all the trucks and cars held out for us, so that was no problem. We found a Lidl, were we off course took a break and bought some snacks!

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We then continued along the main road. My GPS wanted us to take another route, which was shorter, but I though this would be no problem. It went into a problem though, as we were not allowed to continue at this way. While looking at the maps, a guy stopped with his car and told us to follow him. We did so, and he parked, and took out a road-bike from his car. Apparently he was going to do a small training trip, and he was going our way for a bit. This really helped us, and set us on way again!

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With 16 kilometres left, it was time to go different paths. The germans were going to a camping, and I was going to some swedish friends. We had a last break, and it felt a little bit sad as I had a great time riding with them!

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I went the last 16 kilometres. There were many red lights, so it took longer time than I had hoped for. On the way I got use of my stronger bike horn, as I do not know if all the cars here recognizes cyclists or not.
After 50 minutes I was there! I was now officially in Barcelona, and my first “planned stage” out of two (the next being Japan) was done. 4557 kilometres, and stronger than ever!

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Alex, a friend I met while working at ABB Robotics, came down and met me. I got to stay at their place for two nights, which was really awesome, as not many couchsurfers/warmshowers seemed to be available.
Apparently, I knew two of the other guys also living in this apartment, since I had been at a party with them home in Sweden a year ago.
It was nice to relax again, and I went out with the guys to eat dinner. I bought two meals (of course), one double burger and one entrecôte. As I had planned to have a “mini vacation” in Spain, the budget will be much more loose here than earlier.
It was a good evening, and I slept well, after having a shower, being able to use a washing machine and eating really nice food with nice people!

Pretty glad we stopped early…

After just a couple of kilometres, we started climbing, and not even a little. We got up to 880 metres, which means more than 450 metres of climbing again! This would of course give some back later with some really fun down hill riding. Also, there were some really nice views from up there!

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I rolled up to 70.4, and was able to reach 71.4 without feeling unsafe. Mostly I just relaxed downhill in speeds around 40-50, having a really nice time.
We decided to stay by at a Lidl to buy some snacks before continuing. After that we climbed up to 748 again, around a hundred metres, and we had 49 kilometres left, which felt really bad. Suddenly, the road starting being enough downhill for us to bike in 30 km/h, without having to use too much energy, and suddenly we had 17 left in what felt as no time.
It was really hot today, and I had started using my arm warmers against the sun, as they really cool everything down if you put water on them. During a pause we checked the temperature, and apparently it was 33 degrees in the shadow. Ouch!
After arriving in Manresa, we found out there was no nearby camping. We went and shopped at a small store, before going to the hostel (which was just 50 metres from the store).

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At the hostel, I tried “double cooking” for the first time with the trangia (you can actually use the frying pan at the same time if you want to).

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The street were kind of messy, so I am happy that there were a locked room for the bikes during the night.
We just relaxed in the evening, I watched another movie (300: Rise of an Empire) and then went to sleep!

Going easy to Barcelona

So, today we started at 1007 metres height. That would give us lots of down hill, as Barcelona is close to sea level!
We continued along the way to Spain, and soon crossed the border.

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After a while, we went by a karting place, and decided to drive some!

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It was really awesome and much fun! Also, the guy working at the place were nice, and got a Swedish krona as he was collecting coins.
It was much more difference biking behind someone than I though it would be, and as I had the most luggage and they use SPD, I got to go last as much as I wanted. It was really easy compared to bike alone!
On the way we went by really nice roads and cool tunnels. It really was mountains everywhere, but the main way were pretty flat, compared.

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We came to the place where we wanted to camp, and after a climb of one hundred metres from 425 to 511, we could pitch our tents and relax. The climate really felt different on this side of the mountains, more dry and hot. Also, no clouds to be seen anywhere!

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After watching Gravity on my iPhone I went to sleep. The Germans planned to take it easy, and as I did not have any special place to be at until the 30th, I just went by their time schedule.

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Should have brought a harness…

…because today I have been climbing!
I woke up a little after seven, and actually felt well, so I went up, started packing and made breakfast. I took it really easy, mentally preparing, and also waiting for a little more warmth in the valley, as it was pretty cold outside.
A little after ten, I started climbing.
For some time, I went with two guys going on road bikes.

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The first 14 kilometres were easy, and I made one pause, and one really quick stop on the way, taking 623 height metres. It started getting steeper, so I lost the two guys (who had 7-kg bikes and a small backpack each), taking a break every second kilometre. I took both three-minute-pauses and 15-minute-pauses, as I got really tired in the muscles.
While I was only climbing, my emotions were going in a roller coaster. In just seconds, I could change from being happy, to almost crying, to laughing by myself, to thinking of trying to hitch hike. Mainly, the moral were good, but sometimes, it really sucked.
On the way up, a man riding a racer bike reached out with his hand to make a high five. Also, in Pas de la Casa, a hitch-hiker standing by the side starter applauding, and I have him a high five too. That, and many cars honking and cheering, really helped me get up that hill!
With five kilometres, and 320 height metres, the rise were 6.4%. It continued like that, with the highest rise average being 6.8%.

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After a total of 26.32 kilometres, and 1320 height metres, I was finally at the top.

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I did not really care for the view at the moment, but instead went into the restaurant (that were not that expensive with the place to accordance; 9 euros for a pizza, and 2,5 for desert. I really felt dead.

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After eating one pizza and two deserts, I was preparing for going down. Then, two guys I met at the camping yesterday, appeared, as one of them recognised my bike outside. I decided to wait for them and follow them to the camping in Andorra la Valle, instead of riding alone.

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And now, while I wasn’t half dead, I could take pictures (and get help by those guys). The view were nice the whole way down!

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I got some nice pictures on the way down, and also, for the first time I got pictures of me in action!

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I present to you: The way down!

We shopped in Andorra la Valle before going to the camping in the town. While looking for food I also found a new towel, this one red!
We made rice with some vegetables and cheese and stuff. It was nice, and really much!

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But I did not manage to eat it all.

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It was already pretty late when we went to sleep, but now I had people to test to ride with, which will be interesting!

It has its ups and downs

I started with waking up on this place. Awesome view!

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After that, I ate a really good breakfast, with some ingredients from the garden, and home made yoghurt!

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I started pretty late as I did some writing, but at twelve I was biking again. It started with three kilometres downhill, with speeds above 50. I felt that it went pretty slow in the small slopes though, so I borrowed an air pump down in a village, and I had list much air in the rear wheel. Soon I get to change the tire, and I guess I’ll change the tube also.
I made another small stop to configure my brakes, and met some old people telling me about a beautiful bridge. I went down there, and it was beautiful, and also my lowest point for the day (426 metres).

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I then started climbing, climbing, climbing with a few small slopes down.
I took my lunch at 666 metres height, and continued to get to a village my hosts told me about, where you can walk to some hot springs. I found the village and at 1087 metres I left my bike to walk on the trail. I packed my most important things in the back pack, and took out the heavy things, the food for example. I walked the trail up to 1264 metres where I found the hot springs. They were really nice and relaxing, and I stayed in them for about an hour!

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I went back down to the bike, and on my way down I saw this small contraption that were spinning in the stream!

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I got down to the bike, and went down to the village to find a camping. Lucky enough it seemed to be a camping municipal in this village (I had passed some four-star campings on the way, and that is expensive. This one was 7 euro). I checked in, pitched my tent and made a big pasta-mozzarella-peanuts-oil-dinner and also ate some bread with cheese to start preparing for tomorrow.

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I slept at approximately 1088 metres height. That is 662 metres more than my lowest point, but I have probably taken at least 800 metres during the day. Tomorrow will be harder!

Husqvarna all over again

I continued south, and now I am really closing to Andorra!
It started with some ups and downs, but after 30 kilometres, it was suddenly flat again (small inclination only).
On my way I took the time to film this. Three fingers=30 km/h, four=40, fist=50 and one finger=56.8 km/h.

I ate ravioli for lunch after 70 kilometres, luckily while it was raining, as the rain almost stopped before I continued.
I then continued to Foix, riding along the way through the valley.

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After doing a little shopping I started my last climb to get to the host for the night, 200 height metres in four kilometres. It was like my third day, in Jönköping, bit this time I was stronger! I took one pause, at which I took of my jacket. My body was smoking! Other than that it went really good.
I met my nice hosts, who are building a house out of an old stone barn. We ate soup, bread and cheese for dinner, and talked for a long time about mostly everything related to life and living.
I was supposed to sleep in a caravan, but their friend was going to stay another day, so I got a really cool sleeping place instead. You will get a picture of it tomorrow!