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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

April 22nd: St. Hilari

I was now convinced that there were an infinite number of non-repeating exits out of Girona, as the Garmin-generated heatmap-driven route led us out of Girona on various bike paths with a tailwind on the flats. Garmin loves bike paths, even unpaved ones that ran alongside the road. On a morning with not much traffic I preferred the asphalt, but Mike liked to exercise his 32mm tires.
Under cloudy skies we started up the climb. It was gentle and long, and didn't grant much in the way of views, but with no traffic (I think we saw 3-5 cars the entire climb) it was pleasant. I stopped once to put on rain pants when I felt several drops of rain in a row, but then almost immediately took it off as I started getting wet from sweat instead!
In the village of Osor I saw how little traffic people expected. 2 kids were walking their dog right down the middle of the only street in town, barely even lifting their heads to glance at me as I rode past. Once I decided to just hammer up the climb at a good pace, all my pictures were either of the scenery or of the 2 goats I saw.
 When I got near the end I saw a huge chapel, and thought that might have been Sant Hilari, but I was wrong! Sant Hilari came much later, and it was a ridiculously large town, complete with appliance shops in the middle of main street. The town went on forever, but I'd already agreed with Mike that I wasn't going to wait at the top of a summit with impending rain, but would descend and we'd meet up later.
Descending, I saw a few views but no good vantage point to take pictures from. All the area around roads were farmland with fences, etc. The overcast sky had a few holes where sunlight would beam through, giving a surrealist effect. The descent was sketchy, with lots of chip-seal sections that were still loose, so I couldn't take corners at maximum speed.
Near the bottom, the minuscule traffic pretty much disappeared as the freeway available sucked up what traffic was left, and I had to road all to myself. The road surface was great, however! We rode back into town against a headwind, but started feeling drops of rain. Right at the edge of Girona, however, I saw a gorgeous farmhouse, and felt obliged to stop for a good picture.

As we entered Girona, the raindrops became more frequent and we got to the garage of the hotel Ultonia just as a downpour ensued! With that kind of ending we definitely felt like we'd squeezed every ounce of riding out of the day!

Of course, the rain had stopped after we'd showered and did our laundry, and we walked out to the cafe for lunch. The rain was supposed to run until the next day around 3:00pm, so I looked online to see if there were any alternatives we could do. I noticed that Girona Food Tours had a Catalunya cooking class, and tried to sign up for it but they said they were full. Restaurant L'Aglica was opened for business the next day, so I booked a dinner spot for that, as it was our last day and I really wanted to eat there again before we left!
I convinced Mike to take a walk around the city, and we got to see the Arab Baths, which was interesting in a "it's only 2 Euros, we'll take a look since we're here" kind of way.

Dinner was a wild goose chase. Mike found a restaurant that looked good, we went to it to discover that it had moved, then after we'd walked over there, the opening hours were different than what was posted on TripAdvisor. Finally, when 8pm arrived we walk there and discovered they were still not opened. We ended up eating at Brots di Vi, which had competent food but in insufficient portions for a cyclist. That wasn't a bad thing, since it meant we had room for desert, and so walked over to Cafetaria el Pessic, where the desserts were so tasty we decided to come back again the next morning for a sit down breakfast, since it was going to rain.

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