Rice paddies and canals. Very rural. Very flat landscape. Cold wind. Gray cloud.
We walked from our flat to Salou (almost rhymes with cow) station arriving with 30 minutes to spare. The train arrived on time and we went to L'Aldea Amposta Tortosa station. There we headed down the road and the HIFE bus was waiting for us. This is true intermodal transport. We took the bus back to Sant Carles de la Rapita to resume the walk from where we ended up last January.
The tracklog includes the bus ride.
We headed through the town to the harbour and then north along a route that used to be a navigable canal. Now it has all been filled in but a lock was still visible and in quite good repair although the gates had gone. We were able to avoid the road by following parallel tracks, used by cyclists and occasional motor bikers. The road was not busy but we were glad to be off it.
Just before Amposta, we crossed the Rio Ebre. This is the last big river we will cross in Spain. Feelings of nostalgia are already setting in. We crossed the river on a waymarked route and later followed another smaller canal for two or three kilometres Then we headed back to the railway station in time for the 16:05 train home. The station was incredibly busy for a Sunday afternoon.
This was a pleasant walk but the weather was cool and cloudy. A chill wind prevented us enjoying our brief breaks. Also we missed the copious orange supply on our last trip at Christmas. The orchards were almost completely bare and well fenced too. The supermarket orange was nice but not tree fresh.
Today I have got a cold. It was threatening yesterday and I used First Defence and now I know that was a wise move as the cold is coming out. Luckily today's walk is short and we have a leisurely start because it is Sunday. The lighting in the bedrooms is very conservative and in a wall light on the far side of the room, so I am doing this with almost touch typing which I can't do and in any case the keyboard is small so the letters are closer together than you might think although further apart than on the Psion. It is a relief to know that a flat battery no longer means that all data are lost plus I can pass everything over to Neil each day on my flash disk so he can process it immediately ready for the website.
I had my weekly tablet that I forgot to take on Friday and couldn't take on Saturday. Then I had breakfast and prepared my mustang and bum-bag. At 8.30 we set off to the station and got there as predicted half an hour early. We can reduce the time tomorrow and each day until we have just ten minutes to spare – needed for buying tickets, composting them and changing platform if necessary. We got returns to L'Aldea Amposta from the cossack as the machines weren't working.
Arriving at L'Aldea Amposta, Neil said the station had been moved. This is happening all along the railway line as high speed tracks are put in. This meant a different route to the most likely location for the bus stop. Lots of people were migrating in one direction and we followed them. This worked a treat. The bus is obviously intermodal and waits for the train. We got in and asked for tickets to Sant Carles de la Rápita. Today we validated our tickets for the train We have never done this before but I can't see it really matters as the tickets are checked on the train and we would never use them twice any way.
On the way to the station this morning I realised I left my drinks behind even though I had packed them and put them out ready. I put it down to the cold. Luckily the station bar had water and I bought one and put it in my pocket. I wasn't pleased that it was Aquabona which is bottled by Coca Cola whom, like Nestlé I try to avoid. Yesterday on the way home I also bought a bottle of water as I forgot to get it at Mercadona and that was Aquabona as well so I hope I remember from now on. I forgot to say that in the bus yesterday I failed to see the Sagrada Familia church. Neil has put it on our route so I can see it later.
Today there is low black cloud as had been forecast in the UK but not here. It was warm enough for walking along but chilly when you sat down for a break. The walk took us along a canal pretty much all the way except when we had to cross the Riu Ebre and even here there was a woo-marked cycle route called Ruta de Baltasar which led through some pines and up on to the N340 and back down again. Our route has now rejoined with the Via Augusta.
The plants are very much the same as we saw at Christmas, although the asphodels are more out. Otherwise we have seen nothing new. Pilar said it had been a very cold winter. Our new flat has central heating which is better than the estufas we would have had in our other one. There is a beautifully maintained pool in the grounds but it is much too cold. On the way back we left from platform 5 which caused us to have a momentary panic.
Once in Salou we came home via the bus station. There was a lady in the cossack but she sent us to another ventana which was firmly bolted shut. She was most unhelpful. We think we might treat ourselves to a taxi to Reus airport at the end of our stay but we'll see what happens. At least we know exactly where the bus goes from now. Neil has got out the plug-in radiator. I can't think why because I am all cosy without it even with my helly off. His is still on. Now I will make supper. It is chicken and fritato and couscous followed by cappuccino ice-cream.