The heatwave finally broke with a tropical downpour as we skirted round the edge of Barcelona and towards the Mediterranean coast, to the home of my cousin Ian and family – The Barcelona branch of the Crowley’s.
The Crowleys have a habit of dispersing themselves around the globe, preferably not in the same country as another member of the family, in contrast to the Vicentes who are mostly conveniently located in and art Lisbon. There are Crowley outposts in Ireland, the UK, Spain, Australia, Japan, and until recently – Portugal. Coinciding Crowleys is therefore a rare but happy occurrence.
Just as the torrential rain gave a brief pause, we were greeted with similarly soggy but cheerful faces, giving us a guided pedal back to our home for the next few days.
Slightly damp, and unwashed Pedro was introduced to another arm of the Crowley family – first cousin Ian (the first being important in an Irish family), chief Mamiko, the adventurous and energy filled Miu and maker of mischief Issei.
Still rain soaked but now with the sun shining, us and the bikes were cleaned with a hosepipe simultaneously, much to the joy of Issei…. and Ian.
This brief splash was definitely not enough to clean us of our days of accumulated cycling grime. However, this would not be a concern – with the sea less than five minutes away and a swimming pool even closer, there would be no shortage of water to submerge ourselves in over the next few days.
We hadn’t had a proper rest since our stay at Ivan’s and so we were looking forward to hanging out with family and having some rest and relaxation.
And that we truly did. Our days started in the sea, splashing in the waves or trying to balance on a paddle board and not fall into the jelly-fish infested waters – with me proving that I am very capable of getting sea-sick on any floating object. We would rinse off the salt in the pool with hilarious games of Marco Polo before sharing some tasty hybrid Japanese-Spanish lunches and letting the heat of the afternoon pass whilst hanging in the hammock.
Ian introduced me to gluten-free beer that was actually tasty, tried to teach us to paddle board and gave us some excellent mini-tours of the local area. Mamiko made sure we were well fed, our clothes washed and our bodies rested. Miu reminded us that we no longer had the energy of a teenager and Issei showed us how to make proper use of the hammock.
We had planned to stay for a long weekend, but Ian and Mamiko and the kids made us feel so rested, relaxed and welcome that we stayed for a week. Feeling like we were both truly part of the family. We had the holidays of big kids, practically turning into fish after having spent so much time in different bodies of water – from saline to rectangular to inflatable containing.
Alas, all good things have to come to an end. But we left rejuvenated for the next leg of our trip, plotting plans to meet again on our return for adventures in various shapes and locations – canyoning in Rodellar, climbing in Sintra and hiking and swimming in the Azores. Till next time Crowley’s!