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 Walk Across Europe

2009-02-17 - Trip 14 - Leg 105

Spain, Catalunya and Tarragona

LAmetlla de Mar to Hospitalet de LInfant

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22.1 km today.
66.9 km this trip.
2079.9 km from start.
0 metres minimum height.
123 metres maximum height.
306 metres ascent.
292 metres descent.
 Track Log: Logged.
 Travel: Train.

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Pecuaria by the Autovia. GR92 past road works. Nice views. Traffic noise.

We got the usual pre-dawn train from Salou. This time we got out at L'Ametlla de Mar. It was close to freezing and there was significant wind chill. The sky was clear blue in the early dawn.

We headed south, away from the station, then turned east and soon north. This manoeuvre took us under the railway and the autovia. Then we headed east along the pecuaria, parallel with a large water pipe line. Often the land covering the pipe was nicer to walk on than the road. This easy and direct route ended unexpectedly after about 6km. Google Earth showed our path continuing and indeed it did. However the padlocked gate and high fences did not show up so we were stuck.

We diverted south, back under the autovia and railway and then headed east again. Instead of an empty lane with mountain views to the north, we were now walking through a housing estate. Soon a ravine forced us towards the coast where we had first lunch in the lee of some bushy dune flora. We also spotted a GR 92 route signpost so we knew where to go after lunch.

We followed the GR 92 which was well waymarked until we reached the new autovia works. Here we followed a track that may well not have been the GR 92 long distance path. This path was steep and strenuous. It had also been diverted by the gigantic cutting needed for the autovia. The route was still present though, and should remain after the autovia is complete. We crossed the autovia because the fences had not yet been erected and there was only light construction traffic. We could have used the new bridge but that seemed less fun.

Our route down into Hospitalet de L'Infant was blocked by the new TGV railway line. We found a way through but we had to walk along the N340 main coast road for about ten minutes. It's a pity that new construction works are allowed to block traditionally used paths. A small change in the fence layout would have left the route open.

I managed to do some worms this morning in spite of waking up somewhat dull after yesterday's marathon. It was 27.7km and then you have to add three more to get from the house to the station. That's over 30 which is a lot if you are off colour and wearing new sandals. Neil however came in last night, had soup and sandwiches, then a shower and did all his laundry.

This morning it is fresh. There is a waning crescent moon and the sky is clear. This bodes well. In the train the thermometer reads between 2 and 6 degrees. When we get out at Ametlla there is a tramuntana blowing. Neil says there was one forecast. It is very cold. We weave our way out of town and end up on the pecuaria beside the motorway. This is noisy but the scenery on our left is lovely. We are able to follow this route for a long time and make good headway through the morning.

When we stop for a break in the lee of some pines we have a bask which is a real treat. It was warm yesterday afternoon too but we didn't have time to savour it. The walk is characterised by a water pipe which surfaces every time the track goes down into a tureen.

Eventually our way through is blocked by a high gate and impassable fence. We head down towards the sea and have our first lunch on the beach. Again we stretch out and even drop off to sleep briefly. We are back on the Via Augusta and GR92. We follow this now to the far side of the motorway where the path climbs up through the Col de Baguera. This route is almost very nice. It is spoiled because a new road has been cut through and all the workings have carved up the country side. It will improve when the plants have grown back.

We now head towards a service station and hope to find a way to L'Hospitalet from there. We find that our egress is blocked by the new Alta Velocidad line which is ready except for its tracks. There is no way through so we head back round and see again a red house with a little tower that has been in our line of sight for some time. After about 30 minutes we are back level with the service station again. Various attempts to go parallel with the motorway fail through and in the end we go down towards the sea. Along this descent we pick up GR92 signs again which we had lost earlier. I suspect the route is bisected by the new road and railway and has not yet been re-routed.

Our time on this stretch was much less advantageous. We moss the 16.39 but are in good time for the 17.59. We wait on the platform and until the sun goes behind the mountain it is pleasantly warm. The cossacks are shut so we have no tickets. We get them on the train. Once in Salou we go to Mercadona and do our shopping. Today the shops are open as we are back much earlier.

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