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 Walk Across Europe

2009-02-20 - Trip 14 - Leg 108

Spain, Catalunya and Tarragona

Tarragona to Torredembarra

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17.2 km today.
123.8 km this trip.
2136.8 km from start.
0 metres minimum height.
55 metres maximum height.
145 metres ascent.
173 metres descent.
 Track Log: Logged.
 Travel: Train.

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Very nice coastal paths and beaches. Small villages. Nice weather.

Today we got an even earlier train heading east. The 7.04 to Tarragona and Barcelona (Francia). At first light we started walking east out of Tarragona station. We soon encountered a bakery where we stocked up with integral bread. We expected this walk to be rather dull. In fact we had diverse weather, terrain and sights, starting with the well preserved Roman amphitheatre.

The day started gray and cold with a threat of drizzle. There was wind too. This weather suited the first promontory where there were ruined buildings. We walked round the coastal cliff perimeter where there was an old but well maintained security fence. We had hoped to walk through the site but there was no possibility. Furthermore a security car stopped and the driver inspected us most closely, even getting out of his vehicle. This made little sense unless the buildings were being used for some sinister purpose. Ideas popped into our heads including a vampire colony or an interrogation centre - the sort whose very existence is denied through official channels. We hope we never discover the truth because then we would most likely have inexplicable accidents.

The rest of the walk was less daunting. The weather improved. There were woodland paths, cliff-top paths, beaches, picturesque villages and we kept away from road traffic for most of the day.

We caught a train back to Salou after basking in the late afternoon sun.

Today we had to set off extra early as the train goes 20 minutes earlier in the easterly direction. Neil wanted to set off ever so early but I persuaded him to leave at 25 past. Then he wanted to go ever so fast as he said we had only two minutes to spare. When we got to the station we had over 20 minutes to wait. We didn't even need tickets as we had got returns. He was partially vindicated however when the train came in 5 minutes early and even left early. Luckily it was a mild morning and it was quite pleasant waiting on the platform.

When we got to Tarragona, the road surfaces were wet and it was blowing a gale. Neil stopped to put on his cagoule and woolly hat. My cagoule was already on. We had to go quite a long way to get to the other side of the railway line. We didn't feel able to emulate a couple of of youngsters who had climbed over the wall the previous day even though there was a pallet there to make it easier. This turned out to be a good thing as it meant we passed the Roman Amphitheatre which is one of the things Tarragona is famous for. It also meant that we passed a bread shop. It wasn't really open but the lady was glad to serve us and was surprised when we wanted two baguettes and not just one. We get quite peckish on our walks.

Eventually we were able to get down to sea level and walk along the beach. Then Neil's lovely path through was blocked by a huge gate. This meant going round the rocky outcrops beyond the fence. Behind the fence was a derelict building and it was a surprise that the barrier had not been breached. Nearly everywhere there had been a hole it had been repaired. We sat down for a quick break. No sooner had we done this than a car behind the fence turned up and the driver got out to give us a filthy look. Neil out stared him. Is this an MI6 interrogation Centre. Are the Americans going to buy it to replace Guantanamo Bay or does it belong, as Neil thinks, to vampires. We shall never know.

We enjoyed the rocky outcrops although they do slow down the pace. In between the rocky outcrops there are beautiful sandy beaches. In one a lady was catching caracoles using two sticks and Neil wondered if a wire to set up a current which makes the shellfish emerge. She certainly had a good tin full. We reached a second place where the way through was blocked by a gate. This time it was obviously a holiday camp. We have never tried to book a holiday bungalow. Maybe I'll give it a go in October. Again we went round on the seaward side.

The narrow path lead past precipitous cliffs through scraggy metre high pines stunted by the wind and when this comes to an end we scrambled up a vertiginous rock face to the pine woods above. The walk is surpassing all my wildest expectorations. Before coming here I had just finished reading the Fever trees of Borneo where an old guru says the root of all dissatisfaction is desire (check this anon). This walk has left nothing to desire.

Beyond the tall pines was a wood like a tropical rain forest – all lush with creepers and lichen. And then we came to a cistus garden – too early for the cistus to be in flower although Neil has seen one pink one this holiday and I later saw a few petals which had recently blown off. We had lunch here enhancing our sandwiches with freshly picked thyme and watched the clouds gradually lift and the sun start to peep through. We carried on downhill towards Mona. On the way we saw one tiny daffodil in flower. Was this the first of many or was there just the one. As le petit prince knows one flower is much more beautiful than many.

For tea we had a Malteser egg. Neil was not familiar with the advertisement where a young woman working in an office feels the need to flash open her blouse after eating a Malteser because they aren't naughty at all having so few calories in them. This does not apply to the eggs however as they are mainly chocolate with just a few Malteser crunchy bits in them. No need to strip off then.

I have broken my knif and failed to bring a replacement. Will this reminder make sure I remember to put one in tomorrow. Neil has a Kartoffel in his sock that Mike and Jane gave him. He will have to leave it behind. My socks too are not what they were. Close to Torredembarra instead of going straight into town we decided to go round yet another promontory with a Japanese style lighthouse on it. Here we met a lovely labrador who had every intention of jumping up and, as he had just been leaping about in a stream of water, I preferred him not to and prevented him using my newly acquired Cesar techniques. They worked a treat as they had done a couple of days ago when the dogs ran off. This one didn't run off but she didn't jump up either. The owner then said Ningun problema and I said Quiero mucho a los perros using the personalised form to show that I regard them almost as people. She seemed surprised but pleased.

We get the 15.55 from Torredembarra and go all the way to Salou so we can do our last shopping. We have spent hardly anything this time compared with Christmas but I don't feel we are on short commons.

We forgot to turn off the main heating this morning. This is a bugger as we seem to get only two one hour bursts a day. This is mean when it's a cold day and would be even more so if we were in some of the time. Coming from Torredembarra we note that it is not only Crambrils which has an extra "r" the announcer also says Trarragona and Prort Aventura. This leads to several minutes of sillyness where we add an extra "r" to all our wrords.