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Spain, Catalunya, Barcelona

Barcelona to Vilassar de Mar - 25 km - Thursday 9th April 2009

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City streets followed by marine parade and beach paths. One road leg to bypass industry.

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Diary - Top

We had a lie-in of sorts. We left the house about ten minutes later than usual and started our walk in the dark. The dawn was slow coming because of low cloud. It was quite mild in the city but once the buildings thinned out, a cold wind from the interior gave us a chill. Then the sun got up and within an hour the cloud had burnt off and we were comfortably hot.

The walk was along marine parades and coastal paths most of the way. After an industrial zone, the railway ran parallel with the beach path. Every few minutes a cercania train would pass. To get out of the industrial zone, we walked through a road tunnel with a "pedestrians forbidden" sign. We could not understand why. There was a perfectly good footpath and the traffic was very light. Several runners passed us in the forbidden zone. Our target was Premia de Mar but we got there so early, we walked to the next stop. This was easy walking on the flat with warm sun and a cool breeze.

Back in Barcelona, Anne was nearly a victim of a pick pocket but she realised what was happening and gave her Ofsted Inspector / Head Teacher death stare. The girl chickened out without getting Anne's bum bag fully open. She would have been disappointed because this bag only contains food and drink and even this was gone at the end of our day. Apparently this type of crime and bag snatches are common here.


Last night was noisy in my part of the flat. I hear different noises from Neil although we both heard someone or something crashing to the floor in the middle of the night. I could also hear rain splattering down my tube (my window looks out on a cube of concrete rising the whole height of the building – not over attractive but giving much needed ventilation. I had a similar window in Alacant. Above us is a beautiful perkus (Yorkshire Terrier) with a lovely tail.

Today we didn't need to catch a train so we had a more leisurely start and I washed my hair. We set off at about 6.55 in the dark and made our way down to the port where we turned left. Much of the route was on non tarmac surfaces and it was pleasant even though there was a bit of a headwind.

When we sat on the kerb for our first break a runner stopped and asked if we spoke Catalan or Spanish and we said yes. He said we should not put our bags behind us as they would be nicked. I am beginning to feel like Whatsername when she was cycling round the world and everyone told her people would steal her bicycle. No one ever did although she did lose her pump I think it was in the USA.

Add in:

  1. A Back-up team on a walk is a bugger mainly because of the people e.g. you stupid bitch
  2. Being followed at 4mph must be ghastly and you can't go off road
  3. Having a sponsor means they call the shots
  4. You can't go off road – i said that.
  5. But 50 miles per day takes some doing. I couldn't survive on four hours sleep doing nothing at all.
    Interesting that Ffyona felt rejected as a result of a childhood of many moves. We had a similar experience although in our case it was other people who moved round us. I reacted differently and rejected everybody else instead – easier to get over because I felt in control – but surely a similar response to an unsatisfactory situation. Suddenly when I came back to the UK and went to a different school where pupils stayed. I suddenly found I had no need to reject anyone – some of the girls were nicer than others but all were OK.

I decided the reason we don't need a chalk line, in addition to not being driven away to camp is that we have Neil's GPS so we know exactly where we got to each day. It acts as a virtual chalk line. Also by using public transport you get dropped off where you got on.

When we had our second break on the banks of a river, we noticed that the wind had freshened, so we put on our cagoules while we were not walking. The wind had veered to the west.

We also noticed that the planes were again landing in the fine weather position. In the absence of teletext this is a very good weather forecast.

My abdomen played up in the night so today I am having activia again. There is yellow phlomis by the beach in bud but not yet in flower.

We get to our original target Premià de Mar by 2.30 and decide to go on to the next station to shorten tomorrow's walk. We come back on a different cercanía and get out at the Arc de Triomf. This now becomes our station. It is slightly further than Francia but not much.

On the steps leading out of the station, a girl stands one inch away from me and says right in my face as if wanting to ask me a question, "Eckskyuss mi pliss". I recognise this as a pocket-picking decoy. There is no need to snuggle up like that to ask the time or the way - and very purposefully push forward ignoring her. When I get to the top of the steps I notice that she or her partner has succeeded in opening my bum bag but not in emptying it – a tragedy for them because by the end of the day it contained only an empty bottle of fizzi gaseosa drink and a spare drinking straw in case the one on the carton of drink had fallen off.

It's what happens in every big city especially where there are ethnic differences. In France, I am usually OK but when I went to Paris with Val they got money from her handbag. She must look more like a foreigner than I do there. In Congo, I am extremely careful because as a mzungu there is nothing I can do to stop myself from sticking out a mile.

On the way back we pick up some fizzy casera drink and juice in an open all hours shop and then Neil spots a bollería with Mallorca tarts. We go in and top up our bread supplies as tomorrow is Good Friday and shop opening is unpredictable. We also get two tarts for supper and note that there are little dishes of roast vegetables already roasted. These will be lovely with the chicken when we get home late towards the end of the walk.

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More Downloadable GPS Files

KML Files open in Google Earth.

Home-to-Vilassar-de-Mar.kml

GDB Files open in Garmin MapSource

Home-to-Vilassar-de-Mar.gdb

GPX Files are in XML format and may be portable between different GPS receiver manufacturers

Home-to-Vilassar-de-Mar.gpx

GPS Babel

GPS Babel is a really useful tool for translating between GPS file formats.