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Spain, Catalunya, Tarragona

L'Hospitalet de L'Infant to Salou - 24.3 km - Wednesday 18th February 2009

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Straightforward coastal walk. Very windy and cold at dawn. Warm later.

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Diary - Top

We got the usual pre-dawn train from Salou. The hotel train from Granada always pulls into Salou just before our regional express leaves. Today we got out at L'Hospital de L'Infant. It was cold and very windy. A Mestral apparently. The sky was clear blue in the early dawn with a few rose pink fleecy clouds. Instead of dawn bird song, we had wolf howling sounds from the wind.

We headed south, away from the station, then turned east and soon north again after crossing a small ravine. This manoeuvre took us back to the railway line. Then we headed east along the quiet road parallel with the railway track. The road was tree lined and relatively sheltered although we could hear the wind howling in the roof tops and rattling the shutters. Occasionally a gap in the trees and buildings would send huge gusts that threatened to topple us.

Later we walked along the beach. The wind began to drop and within an hour we had taken of our wooly hats and gloves. Then the cagoule went, soon followed by the fleece. Finally the zip-off-trouser legs. It was shorts and tee shirt weather. We were able to bask in then sun and even drop off to sleep on the sheltered sandy beach.

The walk was straightforward. Some storm damage from the February 60 year storm was evident. We had to climb over a fallen tree and some rocky places where the path had washed away. These obstacles were not difficult to bypass. Most of the wreckage we saw on TV six weeks earlier had been cleared away or repaired. Some repair works were still in progress.

We walked and limped all the way to our rented flat in Salou. Anne had uncomfortable blisters, possibly due too new all-terrain sandals but more likely due to the lengths of the walks. The weather in England had been bad and there was little opportunity for training walks in the days preceding our trip. Possibly the cold makes the feet less resilient too.


We seemed to have difficulty getting going this morning. Neil didn't wake up until his sheep alarm woke him. I didn't wake up until Neil brought me my breakfast. Even then it seemed a struggle to get everything together for the day. Nevertheless we got to the station at a similar time to yesterday so it wasn't as bad as all that. The lady in the ticket cossack had to get me to repeat the name of the station where I was going. If the cossack had been open in L'Hospitalet I could have got returns and saved this humiliation. The second time I said it with the intonation and pronunciation of the woman who does the announcements on the train. This worked a treat. Mind you on the train she says Propera parada Crambrils for Cambrils so she isn't totally reliable.

When we alight at L'Hospitalet there is a howling gale which we discover in the evening was a moderate to strong Mestral. Funny that we had been talking about them only yesterday and wondering if we'd get one in France and how we'd know it was one. Well I could hardly stand up and when we had to go down a rough slope to the beach it was really hard to maintain equilibrium. Neil got out his cagoule and his woolly hat. It wasn't actually all that cold. 9 degrees in the train so I didn't mind not having mine. I expect it will be dry for the whole week as I have added a little umbrella to my solutions.

At 7.45 the sun came up. The sky had been most impressive while we had been in the train - really rosy-fingered. Then the temperature gradually began to rise and the wind began to drop. My feet were killing me today. Whether it is because the sandals are not sufficiently well walked-in or whether it was because we did over 30km on day 2 or a combination of both I haven't had felties like this since Matalascanas. There too, the walks were long and my sandals were made by Teva which I have never bought since. These sandals are Rohan and ought to be OK. They seem smallish for 39s and I have blisters all over my heels and little toes doubled in size by fluid. Wark wark I can hardly work.

I failed to say that the wind was broadly at our backs and was less strong than the one we had approaching the Estrecha de Gibraltar which puffed our cheeks out like a roller coaster. Neil unzips his zip-off legs today. It is warm enough for me too but I can't summon up the energy to do it even though we have a plethora of breaks as we are not catching a train this evening.

The walk starts along the railway and when this fizzles out we go down to the beach. Walking on soft sand is hard work but we could quite often walk along the edge of campsites which were newly grassed ready for the summer. This disturbed no one as they were deserted except for the water sprinklers which caught Neil as he passed. Then it was back to the beach and along the sand or when there was a rocky outcrop over the rocks.

At one point you could see where the winter storm had washed rocks and trees away. In one of the campsite there were about a dozen pussycats arranged in a circle having something to eat. One pussy sat on the other side of the hedge - an outcast. At one point we see a miserable algarve algarving. It was teetering on the cliff edge. Perhaps it thought it had better do it now before it got washed into the sea. Most of our route is the GR92 but there is one section in Cambrils where it differs. I must look this up when I get back to see where it went and whether we would have preferred it. Eventually we get back to Salou and we have the rest of our chicken some baked vegetables and couscous followed by ice cream. I don't like this flavour much. I hope we can get Häagen-Dazs in Barcelona. Neil didn't know the only Hungarian joke.

Once upon a time, a man found a penguin wandering around the streets of Budapest. He took the penguin to the police station and asked what to do. The police were too busy to deal with the penguin themselves so they suggested he take the bird to the zoo and gave him some money. Later that day, the man reappeared at the police station and the penguin was still with him. The policeman said "Didn't you take the penguin to the zoo?". "Oh yes" said the man. "He enjoyed his visit to the zoo but now he'd like to go somewhere else".

It is said that this is the only Hungarian.

Tomorrow we get a lie-in and then go to Tarragona. This walk is shorter so perhaps my feet can reinstate themselves.

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KML Files open in Google Earth.

L-Hospitalet-de-L-Infant-to-Salou.kml

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L-Hospitalet-de-L-Infant-to-Salou.gdb

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L-Hospitalet-de-L-Infant-to-Salou.gpx

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