The rude awakening at 2.30 AM for our flight from Oman to Barcelona was somewhat softened by the large, comfortable seats in business class and the use of the lounge prior to departure. Even though we did not manage to sleep on the plane, the extra space and comfort made the journey a much nicer experience.
We connected through Cairo where we had only a short layover of just under two hours before moving on, arriving in Barcelona at 1.30 in the afternoon. Gérard met us at the airport while Alba remained at work.
Alba and Gérard spent a month cycling with us in Norway at the beginning of our tour in July and Augst, 2013 (See posts in the archives). It was their first cycling tour but they are hooked. They spent their Christmas holiday cycling in Crete. We are here to hang out with them and do a bit of hiking and exploring around Barcelona. We also ordered some new equipment from home and are waiting for that to arrive. Given our next destionation, we thought it best to swap tents. The one we used in Oman is great for the desert but does not do so well in colder, wetter environments. Thanks to the people at Hilleberg USA, we have a new Keron 3 on the way. We also had to get a new stove as our MSR Dragonfly developed a leak on our last day in Oman, making it rather dangerous and useless.
Our package is currently hung up in Spanish customs and Alba is working hard to get it released. There is some confusion about the shipment as they say I’m importing it into Spain. We have just sent them a copy of the invoice, a copy of our visa statement, a copy of my passport, a copy of my plane ticket leaving Spain, and a letter by me explaining what is in the package and what we’re doing. It is crucial to our trip that we receive the tent and stove prior to leaving here. Ah, bureaucracy. It’s been a while since we’ve had to deal with that. Can’t say I’ve missed it.
In the mean time, we went hiking in Montserrat, a gorgeous, mountainous area close to Barcelona. Alba and Gérard invited Jin along, a cyclist who had stayed with them for a few days. Jin is on an amazing journey. She’s been on the road since September, 2011, and has no immediate plans to stop. Check out her amazing journey: http://www.universewithme.com/
Montserrat is a great place for hiking and climbing. We spent the afternoon wandering around in the mountains looking at some of the hermitages built by the monks of the nearby monastery.