Anne and Neil's trip to Girona was uneventful. We would have preferred to fly to Reus but either the flight was full or there was no Saturday flight. We took the "Barcelona Bus" after a short panic because we didn't know you have to buy the ticket in the arrivals terminal. We still managed to catch the bus because lots of people had to reclaim their baggage and the departure was delayed for them.
In Barcelona, we walked about 1.5 km from Estació Nord bus station to the Estació de França RENFE station. There we caught the train to Tarragona with only seconds to spare.
At Salou we alighted and were met by Maria who drove round all the back streets showing us the sights and totally disorienting us in the process. She took us to a two bedroom flat instead of the one room plus sofa bed we had requested. We were pleased with our upgrade! We found the Mercadona and stocked up on essentials.
The journey here was uneventful. We had tickets from Stansted to Girona as the Barcelona flights were expensive and there were no flights to Reus on a Saturday.
Both Neil and I have to open our bags – I because I have a weighing hook in mine which the staff failed to recognise. I don't think they had ever seen a bag like it until, that is, they got Neil's which was all in his rucksack with each different type of thing separately wrapped in Tesco bags. The man couldn't see why they had wanted to look in the bag as there was nothing in it of any dubious nature. Luckily we had lots of time and in any case we always reconstitute our packing after security so that we have what we need with us in our pockets rather than up in the luggage compartment.
We sat in our usual place beyond Prêt à Manger until we had a gate. On our last two flights, the gate numbers have been put up only 45 minutes before departure. I like airports where you can go to your gate straightaway and wait there without having to shift everything yet again. Stansted gets more horrible on each visit.
Every now and again we get up and have a walk round. There is really nothing to see so we always come back to our seats and watch planes taking off which is less boring . Neil says the people walking past, to their gates are like un-dead people in horror movies. He has a point. The other entertaining activity is to work out how many shuttle trains there are. We think there are three long ones and a short one but this has yet to be verified. Indeed do the numbers of trains vary according to passenger load.
In the plane I had two people next to me who read big books all the way. A couple of rows in front was a PE teacher type with a daughter of about six who was well on the way to becoming even more of one.
Once in Girona we find the bus stop and enjoy the sunshine while we wait to be allowed on. We then ascertain that everyone already has tickets so Neil withdraws our luggage while I run back to the airport to get tickets. Luckily I find the cossack almost immediately, get the tickets and run back to the bus. Neil re-loads the bags while I get in to pass the tickets to the driver. We have a short walk from the bus station to the Estacion de Francia where we get a timetable and just manage to get the 13.18. From the train I ring Pilar and say what time we shall be arriving at Salou station. She says she will meet us there which is great as it means we don't need to walk to the flat. She has given us a different flat – a bigger one with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. This happened in Alicante as well last year so we are in luck. She also drove us round the town and showed us where one or two things were.
We should have brought sheets. I didn't know as Neil chose this flat and said we didn't need a print-out which I believed. I will from now on always print out spedunculars so I know the details. Pilar got us sheets within seconds, We wonder if this is her flat which means she has a letting and also whether she brought us her own sheets or whether she nicked from another apartment which does have them but is not let. Well we'll never know. We unpacked, had some soup and sandwiches and a drink and a rest and phoned Mini. Then we walked back to the station to time the walk and to make a small shopping. There is a Mercadona right near the station and there supermarkets on the way home so shopping will be easy,
I am writing this using my new eee baby computer. It is the same as Neil's only even smaller. It doesn't have Word but it converts to Word perfectly if you ask it to and had lots of fun games on it as well. I am getting quite decadent.
This walk was mostly along the coast. We took two days to cross the delta of the Ebre river, we got quite far from the sea. The delta land was agricultural and driained like Holland or Lincolnshire in England. There were irrigation canals too. The coastal walking included sea front paths, beaches, gravel tracks and mountainous cliff paths. There were many sections parallel with the railway. South of Tarragona there is heavy industry so we headed inland for a day to bypass this. North of Tarragona, the coastal villages became busier. They are near enough to Barcelona for weekend outings. May family groups were using cafes and walking along the coastal ramblas.
The weather was dry and cool. When the sun came out it was warm enough to bask in comfort. The cloudy days were chilly and we were flushed from our resting places by the cold.