Day 35 – Sigean to Banylus via Perpignon (Pyrenees)

The wind was still humping away at my tent, which for sure would have been blown away if I wasn’t in it all night. Inside it was a mess from the earthquake style conditions that it suffered last night and I was just happy that I didn’t crush my cheese in the night. The early start I had in mind didn’t exactly go as planned, but I was still set on making it to Banylus Sur-Mer, which is situated just north of the Spanish border.

Without realising it, I had arrived back in the Pyrenees (when I saw the sign I couldn’t help sing in Guns N’ Roses style ‘Pyra-na-na-na-na-na-na knees, knees, knees) the wind was now in my favour and I made short work of 2 baby Cols.

Travelling down hill into Perpignan was shit loads of fun. Wide swooping S-bends meant it was easy to keep speeds in excess of 50kph most of the way.

The plan was to stop for a couple of hours to pick up supplies and charge my stuff. The town was genuinely beautiful. Half French, half Spanish, half tourist. But it was a shame it was a Sunday and mostly closed.

However, I did find a cool coffee shop called Chillspot. It was run by 2 Jamaican fellas, who referred to me as their lion and were complimentary on my handwriting. In the toilets, there was a picture of Hendrix and there was a ‘Lost is Space’ pinball machine (no high scores were set as I managed to break it, but apparently it was faulty and breaks all the time). I attracted 2 other separate cyclists to come in, and Jarro (1 of the Jamaican fellas) said I was like a fisherman, catching him some customers.

Heading for Banylus, buzzing from coffee, and with the wind in my sails, I was covering some ground with speed. As night fell, I hit a beasty col. It was also called ‘Route des Crête’ and I was beginning to think that must translate to ‘big ass fucking hill’

Once I reached the top, the view was pri-tay, pri-tay, pri-tay, pretty good. It was a cityscape set against a black back drop with miles and miles lights.

I had a short decent before a final incline of the day. But by now the weather had taken a turn for the worse, it can change quickly in the mountains without much warning. It started gentle with just a steady spitting rain, it was bare able, but did add an element of danger to the meandering roads, which had no barriers to prevent flying off the side of the mountain. I noticed behind me some headlights and waited at the top for it to catch up, so I could use the light from the headlights to assist my decent. By now the rain was a strong shower and once I had arrived in Banylus I was soaked. Fortunately the rain had stopped, but was replaced by the Magnus Magnuson of winds (super strong, with a Nordic coolness that gave me chills).

I set up the tent, only to have it aggressively shook all night long, keeping me awake for an age. It’s fair to say that I’m not totally in love with camping right now.

GET YOURSELF YOUR BEST CARRIBEAN ACCENT ON FOR THIS ONE

“Wag-wan ma lion, they be calling be Jarro”

-Jarro

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