It is only a short ride from Llanca to Badalona next to Barcelona. We park the bus in the marina, and stroll along the rather new beach promenade. Charmingly there are no hotels, just a few bars and restaurants for the locals. Jordi, our friend from an earlier journey awaits us near the train station on the shore with his skateboard. Jordi leads us to a bar, where cider is served in bottles that come upside down in a battery powered fountain device. Then comes his skateboard stunt part :-)
Jordi shows us his two-story flat with the entrance hidden behind a large garage door. Items from India tell story from his journey back then. Its been about 4 years that we have met in Gokarna and there a lot of stories to share. The Catalan love to sit outside at night and have a few beers before diner. Meanwhile the children run around in circles and I wonder if only the Germans put their kids to bed at 8 PM. Marvellous diner in a Pakistani restaurant, time for bed...
A steep road winds up to the monastery of Montserrat some 50 kilometres North of Barcelona. The monastery sits in a fantastic sandstone formation, whose peaks reach up to 1200 metres above the sea. The amazing scenery is just spoiled by a big traffic jam. Apparently many fancy to go there there on a sunny Sunday. Urs and I enjoy a fantastic bike ride down while Kathrin drives the van. On small roads we move on towards LLeida through splendid orchards in full bloom in the "Muntanyes de Prades".
After a day of climbing exercises in Villanueva de Prades it is time to hit Siurana, the world famous climbing area nearby. The ruins of the Siurana castle tower on the end of a high ridge high above red, yellow and grey rock layers. A nice camp ground with pine trees is maintained by one of the climbing pioneers of the area. Climbers from all over Europe spend weeks here to test the boundaries of gravity on more than a 1000 routes. One guy with 30 year old East German "Schwalbe" motorbike made it all the way up here too. He admits he had to push the motorbike at times.
From the camp to the sectors it is not far, but adventurous at times. Kathrin and I try our best on some easier routes top rope, that Urs set up for us in no time. By the end of the day, I secure Urs in a long zigzag route and suddenly get a free flight from the platform as Urs takes out a quickdraw on his way down. Now we both hang high above the ground. Certainly a good time to practice roping down.
On the next morning, we hike up to a pretty section we called the balcony. The grey limestone wall sits above a red thick (and vertical) sandstone layer, with a band in between that is just wide enough to secure the climbers. A French couple in their 50ies tackles route after route. They have come here every year since more than 20 years and their little radio plays a lot of cool music from past decades - Doors, Dylan, Stones. I never climbed in better atmosphere. We leave after lunch, and within two more days of driving arrive in Almunecar on the shore of Andalusia.
Urs joins his Paraglider group from Switzerland and moves to a 4 star hotel Almunecar for a week. Kathrin and I relax on a nearby camp ground in La Herradura. The water isn't quite inviting us to swim, yet view of the rugged coastline with the Andalusian villas is marvellous. On a bicycle trip up the mountains above Otivar I see some paragliders high in the sky. It is Urs and his folks, circling gracefully in fantastic thermal lifts.