Rice paddies and canals followed by the GR92 coastal walk. Quite strenuous.
We got the pre-dawn train from Salou to L'Aldea Amposta. From there we walked to L'Ametlla de Mar. This walk was longer than planned. Google Earth let us down.
In the morning we walked along the canal beside paddy fields, artichokes and occasional orange orchards. We managed to find one lonely mandarin left over on a tree. It was tasty. This walking was very nice but chilly. By mid-day, some of the cloud was burning off and it became pleasant to walk.
After passing through L'Ampolla past the harbour, we followed an empty road parallel with the main line railway. This road was waymarked with red and white stripes. Later we were able to confirm that we were on the GR92 long distance path. This path follows the Mediterranean coast across all of Spain but only the Catalunians have signposted it.
Later the road ended and the path became mountainous. We had not covered any terrain like this since last Easter ten months ago so our progress was slow and laborious. Also the path wound into and out of ravines so an extra three kilometres were added to our, already long, route. We felt as though we climbed up and down a lot too.
Eventually we got to our destination and had time to make a sandwich before getting the train back to Salou. We arrived just as the shops were shutting at 8pm. This was a surprise. Spanish shops usually close much later than this. We must be getting into Northern Europe. We were left with no food or drink four our next day's walk.
The Google Earth let-down was due to the construction of the new railway line. Wide margins had been left beside the lines and these looked like narrow roads or wide paths. We thought there was a fairly straight route through but in fact we had to meander all over the place.
The drink which I failed to take yesterday has leaked all over the chair. I normally try to buy pressure bottles that have had fizzy drinks in them but normally the Oasis bottles work and they are a good shape. I transfer my drink to a water bottle which seems OK.
Today I get up half an hour early as I have confused the train times in the Tortosa direction with those in the Barcelona direction. We eventually leave at 6.45.
I forgot to say yesterday that we have seen egrets and cormorants sitting on electric wires. We also saw a lot of egrets sitting in a tree but that is less surprising. Dawn is breaking as we leave the train and make our way down to the main road. We are preceded by a woman who seems to know where she is going and she turns left before the road. I wonder if she knows something we don't and indeed she does because once we reach the main road and turn left we repeatedly see her walking along parallel with us. By following her we could have avoided a substantial section of fierce road. We soon turn right to rejoin our canal and we follow this pretty much all the way to the sea. The canal is dry but sometimes we have the benefit of a little stream. We keep switching from one side of the canal to the other to avoid tarmac and traffic. Half way along we get some tarts. They are pastis with some sort of thick pale jam in them. On leaving the shop I put them in my pocket and Neil starts howling. He wanted a tart now. The pastry is delicious and crisp. The filling still unidentifiable but nice enough. Later it my turn to howl. We have reached a signpost that says 19.7 km to Ametlla. We are still not half way there. Neil is calm because he has a route worked out which is only 9.9km. So that's all right then.
We go through Ampolla and make our way down towards the beach. It is good to see the sea again. We have lunch behind a sea wall. Today at Neil's suggestion I am wearing my waterproof trousers not because rain is forecast but because they are warmer. I wonder if I will regret this as the sun now it is migdia seems to be coming out as promised. Still it's OK for now.
We pass the port and then head slightly inland to follow the railway line. The idea is to follow it all the way to Ametlla. Google Earth is an amazing tool but does have some shortcomings viz the lady's route this morning which we would certainly have taken if we had been following our noses. This afternoon it transposes that the pecuaria along the vlak is on the far side of the fencing and is for the benefit of people maintaining the railway track. This is not all bad news however because we now rejoin the GR92 and this path leads us up and down round rocky coves and outcrops and pine woods.
The views are stunning and the sun is now pretty much out. My waterproof trousers are too hot and furthermore they do not have shaped legs so you have to hitch them up if you want to take a bigger stride than usual. I see a blue rush flower - one of my favourites. It is a pity that this walk came at the end of the day and when I had a cold albeit suppressed. My legs are heavy and I have no energy. We are going to miss the 4.06 train and probably the 5.35 as well. Not that this matters in any way.
I have been needing to do a sausage all day and have been putting it off thinking I can can get home and do it there. Now I decide I must do it here. Two feet long no wonder it was beginning to feel urgent. I find a huge stone to bury my detritus and continue much relieved. Eventually after one or two narnulas we get back to the railway line and more or less follow it all the way into Ametlla. We get tickets and sit down to wait for the 7.17. We make and have a cheese sandwich while we wait.
I am finished and I'll crash into bed when we get home. The train arrives on the far platform so we have to cross the line again. Now in Salou we need one or two things but we are approaching northern Europe and the shops are shutting all around us at 8 o'clock. We should have gone to Mercadona after all. We still haven't seen the Hotel Belvedere our putative landmark although we have seen many others. Neil brings me a cup of vegetable soup which I drink and then collapse for the night. My favourite kind of walk. It had everything.