Nice woodland roads. Agricultural tracks. Waded across El Ter. Little traffic.
We got the 06:02 Cercania from Arc de Triomf to El Clot Arago. There we changed to the Regional Express and headed towards Flaça. Only a few yards outside the station, the quiet little country road became very pleasant to walk along in the dawn chill.
We soon approached El Ter. This river showed up on Google Earth and there were few crossing places. Ominously, the side of the road heading away from the river was very wet. As we rounded the corner our fears were confirmed. The river was in spate and overflowing its normal piped route. We waited for a vehicle to cross so we could estimate the depth. The water was certainly flowing fast. Several cars approached, turned round and scarpered. The crossing was wide too. Eventually a car risked the ford. The water was not as deep as we feared so off came the socks and zip-off trouser legs and we waded across. The water was very cold and our feet and ankles ached. Fortunately there was a solid concrete roadway and it was not slippery. Had we fallen in, it would have been thoroughly dangerous. We have often waded fast flowing tidal creeks in north Norfolk. These were warmer, less wide but deeper and faster flowing so the risk we took was not that great and quite well measured..
The rest of the walk was calm and pleasant. There was one rain shower but it soon cleared up and became sunny and warm again. Most of the route was on tarmac country lanes with next to no traffic. We got off the tarmac for a couple of stretches. The terrain was undulating without big hills. We walked through fields, woods and small villages. The railway was always nearby. There were lots of wild flowers and the spring foliage on the trees was lovely. We listened to bird song including a cuckoo and we saw a woodpecker. There were plenty of signs of wild boar activity.
Today we got up a bit later so as not to wait so long at the Arc de Triomf station. Neil was still ready well before I was but I was on time nevertheless. We got return tickets for the first bit to be en règle and used our returns to get to Flaça. There was a security guard on the platform so we left the station through the ticket office rather than going along the platform and slinking out at the end.
The route to the level crossing was quite circuitous but it did mean we saw a little market being set up. The temptation is always very great to buy something but not a good idea as you have to hump everything for the whole of the rest of the day. Today's walk led quickly out of town and down past a water mill. The mist was rising over the valley and the trees were at that stage of coming into leaf when every one is a different colour. Further south we didn't see that so much because fewer trees were deciduous. We saw horse chestnuts in flower much earlier than in the UK and carry on past a tree nursery until the road dipped down into a valley. Here the river which normally goes under the road through peeps was instead pouring over the top. Many cars turned round and aborted but a few brave or foolhardy ones drove through. We went through the same routine as yesterday but, as our feet were not yet wet from the dew, we also took off our socks as well as our zip-off legs so we have something warm and dry to put on after our soaking. Indeed we are thinking of adding a spare pair of socks to our kit while we are in cooler lands.
The water was no less icy, and crossing was much longer with quite a strong current in sections. We kept to the upstream side so if we fell over we could retrieve ourselves before going over the weir. Unlike a river bed which is usually stony and uneven, the road surface beneath the water was smooth and level.
Beyond this at Sant Jordí, we had a break and I phoned Jane. My attempts to do it in the evenings fail because I am nearly dead by then so I decided to do it in the morning on the walk and took her number with me to do that. She was three sheets to the wind too. Perhaps I had got her up. As it was past 9 and I had been up since before 5 it seemed a civilized time to me. I eventually decided I had either got the wrong number or was talking to someone else so I said is Jane there and she said this is Jane so I said I'm Anne you know the one you were going to go from Port Bou to Cerbère with. Oh yes, we were there. We arranged to meet at 9.25 at Port Bou station if she could get transport. Her offspring were staying at the moment and had hijacked her car.
The walk continued through woods, forests, glades and fields. The wheat shimmered in the sunlight. For a while, the sky darkened and rain threatened. We put on our cagoules and erected our umbrellas but it soon passed over and became a lovely day once again. This is a very juicy valley. There are lichens on the rocks and ferns in the crevices. Even our man at Sils had said Aquí hay mucho lluvia.
We have lunch at the edge of a wood looking over a valley. The wind here is cool but later we had a lie down in a poplar wood as the sun had come out again and it was a lovely day. We discovered that there were only five more kilometres to do and we decided to aim for the 15.03 train which would get us home much earlier. The last stretch was just as beautiful. We climbed a hill, passed through a wood and reached the River Fluvià which is at the bottom of an impressive gorge. The village was just beyond and we had half an hour sitting on the platform until the train came in.
We wonder if any of the train drivers are getting to know us particularly those who may have seen us previously on the Tortosa and Valencia stretches. Today's walk loosely followed the railway line all the way.
Today I declared myself fully recovered from the succession of six viruses which I have had through the winter. Today the whole walk was a pleasure and even the road sections were no hardship. Tomorrow's walk is longer and heads back towards the sea. I can't wait.
Plasser und Theurer Tamper = Plassermatic tampon or so Neil says.
On the way home the train set off and after tow or three metres stopped again to let a man the driver has seen run for it get in. That wouldn't happen in other lands. The air is thick. It will be a lovely day tomorrow Neil says.