Sunday 4th September
I made it onto the ferry and parked on level 3 green stairs – I must remember that. This morning at the campsite I was offered coffee by two separate people. This made me feel more welcome than my arrival yesterday evening into what felt like an impenetrable packed crowd of Spanish all speaking too loud (that says more about me than them). I should not be surprised, but I am, by how much nervousness can influence my sense of the atmosphere in a place. But it was noisy last night on the campsite with dogs barking, thudding disco distant beats and camping neighbours talking. But I had a good strategy. After an ok pizza and beer in their cafe bar I walked on the sand in the beautiful evening and watched some families ride hired horses in circles cleverly instructing well trained horses to make smaller and smaller circles. All in the slowly goldening evening. When I did return I lay down in my tent and listened to some music I had on my phone with H’s earbuds (that I had thoughtfully brought with me). Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and then my tracks on SoundCloud. I learned or noticed for the first time that Leonard Cohens live recordings were all about emotional and sonic crescendo with vocals (both his and his amazing backing singers) and instruments soaring to some hallelujah. Something to take to my own music though plenty of songs don’t do that big emotional thing. Kraftwerk for example. They just go on and on.
This morning I lingered on the beach then left at about 10.30.
By 11.30 I was at the ferry port and whisked through at such speed that the immigration officers had to call me back without a smile as I obliviously rode past the place where I should have showed my passport. Did I say I have decided to get a new flipping front helmet?
We got on first, about 6 or so riding bikes all in glorious sunshine. And I was showered and changed and up on the for once really sunny sun deck 40 minutes before we left diagonally at first then we gained more speed. Santander and its long beach on a spit was stunning in the sunshine with sailing vessels of all kind across the wide water. Then I slept as the wind seemed to smash into the side of the boat where my outside cabin is. Everything seemed to rattle and vibrate. But still I managed to snatch some brief sleep.
Brittany ferries apologised for the lack of staff to serve us our hugely expensive meal so we leant against the swaying wall in a long queue for self service. I would have enjoyed my meal and chilled wine a little more if the sea were slightly calmer. But I am back after some fresh air on my bed.
As usual I woke in the night and instead of lying awake I read some more All Tomorrow’s Parties. Gibson is the perfect author for these trips.
What worked well on this trip: my helmet lock and disk lock. They were easy to use on supermarket and other brief visits; the bike apart from the odd clutch problem before I even left England. It was easily manoeuvrable on campsites and other spaces, it would have been fine in the ACT if I had more skills and confidence, I think it needs some device to alter the low end fuelling also discovered by some searching . I think I will purchase (though now on a closer look, I am not that sure). The tent worked fine. The Klim gear: It’s ok as it’s inconspicuous but in hot weather it is undeniably hot. It has too many pockets or rather I did not use them well and had too many things in them so I was always searching for things I thought I had lost – like my phone. The Nexx helmet and its own Bluetooth set up. It did the job but putting in the earbuds each time I start off was annoying and they pulled out when caught on something unpredictability as I moved my head to look over my shoulder. The helmet inner is getting tatty and is falling out from so many rewirings of earphones. It needs sorting properly. Needs replacing. New Sony still camera good but I didn’t use to its potential. Drip coffeemaker is fun but it took a while to get the strength right. It flows too quickly. I think it is a design fault. A porcelain or even a plastic version just has holes at the bottom. This is one big sieve. Mosko Moto gear: that’s a topic for a post of it’s own (see Previous post). At the very least I need one more dry bag in the mix. I envied the bikers and the bikes will good old hard panniers. My Xero Z-trail camping shoes: These worked well and were comfortable and took up hardly any space. Much better than the too small canvas shoes I had before. Garmin Inreach.
I didn’t really need it (little surprise there). Sharing my location was slightly nice and could have been important. Camping clothes: ok and take up little space – if boring – but who cares?
Total miles was 1,629. My GPS unfortunately deleted the first half of the tracks. Very odd.