GI-682 – a Catalonian must-do!

In my last post, after our walkabout we said our farewells to Barcelona. Today – I rewind back a bit to a day between our getting overloaded with euro-awards in Innsbruck and my being overloaded with interviews and meetings at Mobile World Congress. For, whenever I can fit it in when here in Catalonia, I just have to get a rental car and cruise along one of my favorite roads – one that hugs its coast ->

En route, we occasionally stopped for walkabouts and the odd bite to eat in towns. Curiously, there was practically nobody about and most stores and cafes were closed. I was surprised the eateries we snacked at weren’t closed too. Ghost towns. And all on the typically (in summer) busy Costa Brava! ->

Now, some would say deserted/unpeopled/ghost towns are depressing – even spooky. To me, at least here in Spain, I’d disagree. Sure, there are depressing (and spooky!) abandoned settlements – like the one next to Brouton Bay in the Kurils, or Kadykchan on the Kolyma Highway – but here in Catalonia the towns are hardly abandoned; they’re just taking a nap – they’ll wake from their slumber as we get into spring (we were they in late winter (February)). And that, to me, makes a world of difference. But for now, yep: truly deserted! ->

The Mediterranean Balearic Sea was not all that cold (for a Russian:), but we passed on a dip – there was a strong wind, no sun, we had no kit for a bathe… nah.

So onward we drove along my fave GI-682, for me I think for the third time already ->

Yes – pretty much the perfect road: cut into the cliffs that overlook the sea, it runs down the coast for around 20 kilometers – and practically without straight stretches: non-stop winding and serpentining! Indeed, they don’t call it the Road of a Thousand Bends for nothing! ->

Handily, there are parking areas every now and again along the full length of the road from which some great panoramic pics can be taken. If only the weather had been less cloudy…

Another stop, another hairpin bend, and another five photos! ->

Alas, the 20 kilometers are covered in no time at all. Never mind: we just turn around and do the same 20km in the other direction!

Will I ever tire of this road? Never. Will I drive along it again? For sure!…

To finish, three astonishments…

First: at its southern end, the road joins a toll-road to take you back to Barcelona. In the past, you had to stop three times to pay the respective fees. This time…

…No stops. It looked as if they’d split the toll plaza up in two and moved it to the sides. What, so it was a toll-road, and now it isn’t? Is that a thing?!

I wonder why they don’t dismantle the toll plaza, or ferry it somewhere else where it could be used? As it stands – all abandoned – there are even weeds growing up along it! ->

It turns out the road was constructed with private-sector investment, and to recoup their costs the investors made it toll road for 25 years. And after the quarter-century was up they transferred the road over to the state.

Second astonishment: there’s a new toll road past Montserrat in the direction of Barcelona. Its toll plaza is automated – but not all the booths take credit cards. Eh? Two booths we tried simply spat out our card back at us (it wanted either cash or some special transportation card), while the third one only debited our card funds after the third try. Hardly efficient. So be warned folks – make sure you have some small notes/change with you!…

Third astonishment. Though we were in Spain, it… snowed! Sure, hardly the quantities like back home, but still. SPAIN! On the eve of spring!! :)

I guess the locals aren’t used to it: the (light) traffic’s speed came right down…

Later on, folks I told about the snow wouldn’t believe me. I had to show them these pics before they were finally convinced!

And that’s all for today folks. And that’s all from our spring-2024 euro-trip. It was time to head back home…

The rest of the photos from Catalonia are here.

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