Two Up in Tarragona – 8th April

With the weather in the UK being…. well, bloody horrible, Sara decided that a weekend break abroad would be ideal. She booked a Ryanair flight to Barcelona…. but Ryanair are quite clever and classify Reus airport as ‘Barcelona’, even though it’s about 50 miles away from the city. Bit cheeky really, but having done some research on Ryanair, cheeky seems to be their middle name. Odd cabin luggage sizes, low cabin luggage weights, compulsory online check-ins to name but a few are all designed to catch you out and earn them some cheeky charges.

A bit of web research and it seemed easier to scrub the idea of going to stay in Barcelona, and head for the coast instead. A bus runs from Reus airport to Salou and on to Cambrils so that seemed to be an ideal way to go. Once again the web research pointed to Cambrils to be the place to go rather than the ‘Brits abroad’ haven of Salou.

And what a total gem Cambrils turned out to be! One or two British accents, quite a few German, but mainly Spanish. It seems like it’s where the Spanish go to when they want to head to the coast….

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I fancied hiring a bike for an hour at some point, so on Saturday dinnertime we walked past the bike hire place on the sea front to have a look, and there it was, the ideal steed, a Viking Saratoga…. Tandem!

And so it was that we wobbled  (to start with) to Salou, cycle paths all the way. To be honest it was a lot easier than I expected, communication is definitely the key to riding a tandem. Get that right and you really can fly along! We only hired it for two hours, stopping a few times on the way for a break. Soon we were at Cap de Salou, looked at the time and realised we had about 45 mintes to get back. So heads down, we flew back along the coast to Cambrils, and got back just in time to hand it back.

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Sunday dawned pretrty much the same as Saturday, bit of a breeze, but warm, and sunny…. what to do? We decided we’d enjoyed the Saturday ride so much we’d hire the tandem again (if it was there) and head the other way, South, down the coast.

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When we got to the rental shop there she was, and so we parted with 16 Euros and hired her for 4 hours! Off along the cycle lane again, we soon came to the end of Cambrils… The cycle path ended…decision time. Turn back or press on across a dried river bed and up onto the N340 coast road.

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With the spirit of adventure and the Viking Saratoga we carried on. Confident in our tandem skills we hit the road! The sun shone and we flew down the road, stopping for refreshments at the Spanish equivalent of a greasy truckers cafe. Quite what they though of two Brits on a tandem, one in a Valentino Rossi shirt, the other wearing a “You only live once” top I don’t know, but it probably gave them something to talk about later.

We found a turning down to the beach and after several wrong turns ended up at a small cafe on a stunning section of beach. Time for a siesta and ‘Dos Cokes, por favor’

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Soon we were 2 hours into our 4 hour rental, time to head back, with the wind now behind us we did the road section in no time, and soon we were back onto the familiar cycle path of Cambrils. We arrived at the bike rental shop 1/2 hour early… and would have carried on for a bit, but the silly padded saddles had taken their toll. So we gave the bike back early, strolled up the beach and headed back to the hotel for a well earned rest.

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Several hours later we headed past the rental place on the bus taking us back to the airport. There she was, ‘our’ tandem, she may be knackered, have a front derailieur that didn’t work properly, a non existent front brake, and bald tyres, but she’ll always have a place in our hearts.

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