Inland route to avoid oil refineries and industry west of Tarragona.
We got a lie-in today. Our walk started from our own flat so we didn't need to catch a train. We headed north out of Salou aiming to avoid the worst of the coastal industrial belt between Salou and Tarragona. With a slightly later start, we did not shiver with cold so much.
Most of the walk was pleasant but not "hearts desire". To our left we had the plains and mountains. To our right, we had oil refining and storage and other heavy industry. The GR92 long distance coastal path coincided with our route for part of the way. The mid morning temperature was pleasant and it was very sunny.
Even Tarragona was nicer to walk through than most cities. For a start it is quite small. There are well laid out squares and the traffic was not too bad. In addition out route went past a nicely landscaped river bed with clean water flowing and watercress in the channel. We walked past the museum with tombs and Roman remains on display. After more Roman relics and occasional glimpses of the port, we reached the railway station. Here we basked in the sun for a while until our train back to Salou arrived. For a change, we got out at Port Aventura. The walk home from this stop is shorter and nicer than from the main station in Salou.
We did get a lie-in and we set off at about 7.45. It is a quiet day and the sky is completely clear. We leave our block by a different door and almost immediately find ourselves in front of the Hotel Belvedere, the one Pilar gave us as a landmark and whiich we have failed to spot hitherto. I was beginning to have a secret hope that we wouldn't spot it at all. After about ten minutes we get to Fort Aventura station. It is much nearer our house than the other one but there are no shops on this side of town. The roads out of Salou are wide and fairly empty. We have a pavement until we get to the road which runs alongside the railway line and then there is a narrow track along the grass verge which is obviously the route everyone uses.
I had woken up this morning with a really sore throat and a hacking cough. Is this the tail end of the previous cold or the start of another. What is gratifying is that my feet seem to be willing to have contact with the ground today. It is nice when they are like that at least at the start of the walk. Our route takes us round the back of a lot of oil installations and we eventually find ourselves back on GR 92. Considering we are so near the town the route is remarkably rural. We pass a hazel orchard (does one call them orchards?). Here we get out of the way of a large truck who seems to want to turn in, I offer to open the barrier but can't find a way to do it. I had thought he would have a key to the padlock but actually he was just trying to find a woo through avoiding the installations as we were. He had to turn round and go back.
We pass almond orchards, and later a large open space where there are obviously markets and fairs. Neil finds a toilet on the far side. My feet are holding up or is this hubris. Once we get into Tarragona itself they begin to play up again as they always do on a hard surface where there is a lot of traffic. We don't find a tart shop or a chicken shop that is open so we are glad we had our own sandwiches. We have a break on a seat near a roundabout before the port.
A man behind us is manoeuvring a very large and long pipe onto a barrow. He spots two sturdy men walking past and gets them to come down to give him a hand. They leap over the wall and do so. As we set off we see the man negotiating the roundabout and then haring off down the N340 coast road ahead of us. He didn't ask us to help. We must have looked too feeble. Meanwhile the two sturdy men sauntered off looking very jaunty. This was health and safety insanity. Cars and lorries were swerving out of the way to avoid the man with the pipe. The N340 is the main Mediterranean coast road. Imagine wheeling a barow with a wide load along the North Circular Road.
We pass the port but don't get to see any of it. It is set well back behind buildings. We have yet another break at a children's playground and there we see a variety of toddlers with their parent or grandparents. There is a nice range of interesting toys but all the children without exception were crouched down playing with the sand covering the ground in the play area. The official toys were all being ignored. The one exception is a very young child who can only walk with assistance and he is being shepherded round the various toys by a doting grandparent. The child looks puzzled, probably because he is now in the playhouse and there seems to be no sand although he is sure he saw some earler.
We get to the station at about 1.45 – in good time to catch the 2.35 back to Salou. I get a couple of Clara magazines for Spanish friends in England. There is only one more occasion when I shall be able to do this. When we go with Easyjet there is no problem but Ryanair have a strict weight limit. We find a place to wait in the sun. Neil photographs a lot of trains and I just sits. The train is really full but as we are only going one stop we go to the end and stand by the doors. Half-way along a kind man offers me a seat. I thank him profusely and tell hime I am getting off at the next station. If one of the young people hogging the seats and bleeping their text messages all the way had offered it I wold have taken it even just for the few minutes which remained of our journey. We got off at Port Aventura and made our way home. It is remarkably near. This station is not on the timetable and not all the trains stop. So we can use the station coming home but dare not risk it on our outward journey.
We have been sharing ice cream. It is the sort where you split the container in two. We were abstemious and made it last two days. We were shocked later, to read on the packaging, that there were ten portions. It should have lasted us five days!