18-3. FROM ARLES TO AIX AND TOULON
Arles to Aix was gentle driving across flat, agricultural land bordered with plane trees. In Aix we stopped in a suburb with a lively morning market. Many muslims were shopping and selling. I searched for panties and also got two kitch necklaces. With fresh vegetables and fruit, bread, cheese and homemade salami we had a gorgeous road-side pick-nick. Provence spring.
17-3. WILL LAST: 2000 YEARS
We started the day with tasty rocquefort-cheese and then had coffee at a cafe. The rain had stopped and during the day it got a little warmer as we drove towards Montpellier. In Arles we had to stop and try to find some power for Green Car. The tourist office people tried for the very first time to help visitors with an electric car. It was not easy. We were too late, the town had siesta, all garages were closed and no public charge-points had been installed in this Roman town. We decided we had gone far enough for today and went for a long walk in the old town with the very well preserved Coliseum and Roman theater. I bought a camping-guide and a bottle of wine and we ended the day at a camp-ground 10 km out of town. I cooked pasta and Hjalte put up the tent. Some frogs quacked and Green Car sang.
16-3. I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO WELL
This morning with everything soaked I gave Nina a little shock when see put two wet hands on my door. But I can always start, and all day long I, Green Car, whizzed along small steep mountain roads between Albi and Lodève. The rain came down like never before and the rivers went over their banks, but it did not affect me the least. In the afternoon as I got low on power Nina and Hjalte drove around Lodéve for four hours looking for power to me and beds for them. The campsite was closed, bed and breakfast full and the hotel in town had no parking. They found a rare public charge point from the company Flot Bleu ment for "camping cars" outside a supermarket. But no place to sleep. Only very late did they discover that Hotel du Nord in Lodéve had the best dry and warm garage. Here I got hooked up to the juiciest 16 amp power. All night I swallowed power, and I had got a round belly if I only had one.
15-3. CONTINENTAL'S FUTURE ELECTRIC VEHICLES
A chance meeting at the border with France opened the doors to Continental's vast research center in Toulouse, where 2500 engineers develop the components for the cars and electric vehicles of the future, including the new cars of Renault. The EV-engineers were very interested in Green Car and some of them had a test-drive. The specifications of Green Car impressed them. It was very encouraging to learn how much is being invested in creating good electric cars. In the afternoon we arrived in Albi and saw the brooding, castle-like cathedral. The weather is still cold but we keep up camping and charge on empty out-of-season campgrounds.
13-3. GREEN CAR COMES TO FRANCE
As morning came the weather had cleared up. In the cafe downstairs some the carnival "women" came in, still in their costumes. The big parade was to start at 12 and volunteers were cooking soup in big pots for the whole town. We were very impressed with Port Bou's communal joy. Nevertheless we decided to drive on. The road climbed steeply up to the border with France. Down it went in hairpin bends right at the brink with the sea far below. Green Car raced down on tires we can hardly see are worn after the tour across the USA. In the distance the snowy peaks of the Pyrenees shone in the sun. In the evening we found a tiny campsite in St. Paul de-Fenouillet with power for Green Car. Hjalte cooked dinner on the camp-stove and then we sat in the car hooked up on the net with our Thrane&Thrane satellite antenna. A light drizzle fell when we zipped up the sleeping bags.
The rain came washing down all day. On this grey day we arrived at the last Spanish town, Port Bou. It stormed and wild waves crashed against the coast. After some trouble we found a cheap hotel-room and Green Car got power from a hall round the corner. And late in the evening this tourist-empty town surprised us with festive carnival. In a big hall crowds of tyrolians, playing cards, angels, devils, pirates, mosquitos, witches, faraoes and many others - some of the most funny were dressed as very old people with very naugthy costumes underneath. Everyone in the town took part and as they all knew each other they really had a great time. Hjalte and I had during the day got very wet, so we found the weay home before the party was over.
11-03. NORTH FROM BARCELONA
Barcelona is a dynamic, fun and civilized city. We had to break loose, but will for sure return. Tiny Hostal Alogar has been a good stay and Green Car has charged rapidly in Toni's friendly Abarth Parking. We decided to take the small roads right at the coast. Small old towns overgrown by new houses. Ugly tourist-dumps and tivoli-frenzy in Lloret del Mar and madly steep beautiful coast near Tossa. Green Car and Conti took on the tightest curves in the best rally style. Look out Monte Carlo!
10-3. HIGH OVER BARCELONA
Green Car had spent the night in a garage with a charging point. We set out into the city between all the fantastic buildings. Gaudi's masterpiece, the La Sagrada Familia cathedral, that we saw 24 years ago is still under construction and now more wonderful than ever. Green Car was parked at a municipal charging spot with reserved parking - a big bonus in car-full Barcelona. In the best spring weather we strolled down the Rambla to the habour. We took a bus to a photo-shop where I bought a new camera. The old one was ruined by rain and scratches. When we returned to Green Car it was fully charged and smiled contentedly. We took small narrow streets up and up on hilly Barcelona and ended in a bar with the most glorious view of the city.
9-3. LIVE BARCELONA
Barcelona gave us a great day. On the net we had got in touch with LIVEBarcelona, the municipal EV-initiative, and now we were invited to a delicious table with Ramon, Luis, Marc and Monica and shared EV-experiences. LIVE-Barcelona is a public-private cooperation including the city of Barcelona, carcompany SEAT, utility companies and others to make it attractive to drive EVs in Barcelona. We tried the LIVE charging infrastructure - easy to locate and use. In the evening TV-Barcelona joined us to broadcast live from Green Car. Barcelona beated Paris and Geneva to be host for the EVS-27, the biggest electric car event in 2012. Electric cars are the future and Barcelona makes a big effort to be in the front.
7-3. GREEN CAR GETS EXPENSIVE LODGING
Down with a heavy cold I spent the day in our hotel-room with a audio-book in my ears. Hjalte was out and found Abarth underground parking where Green Car could charge at a special price. The normal price is 34 euro a day around Barcelona or 3 euro an hour in the street. It is more than the 27 euro we pay for our modest double room with access to a kitchen. The cold front has gone and the weather is sunny again. Today is bank holiday in Catalunya. Tomorrow we will contact the Barcelona city council and learn about their electric car program.