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 Walk Across Europe

2009-02-21 - Trip 14 - Leg 109

Spain, Catalunya and Tarragona

Torredembarra to Cunit

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21.1 km today.
144.9 km this trip.
2157.9 km from start.
0 metres minimum height.
10 metres maximum height.
17 metres ascent.
11 metres descent.
 Track Log: Logged.
 Travel: Train.

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Pleasant coastal walk followed by long busy resort sea front promenades.

We got the 7.04 from Salou to Tarragona and Barcelona (Francia) but we picked it up at Port Aventura. This station is nearer our house but the lights were not working so we waited for the train in the pitch dark. It arrived late too so we wondered if it would ever come. No one else was waiting on the station.

Soon after dawn, we started walking east out of Torredembarra station. The route was pleasant to begin with. We walked along hard sand at the water's edge. Anne got a wet foot when a wave came up. She counted the waves and, on-cue, the seventieth wave very nearly wet her foot again. So every seventh wave is bigger but every seventieth wave is exceptional. On this stretch there were nice villages and sea front walking routes.

Later in the day, we reached the start of the golden mile. We walked for ages through busy sea front promenades. This could have been a lot worse. We might have been doing it in Blackpool or Great Yarmouth. At least here it was warm and sunny and the people were polite.

At Cunit, the carnival was being assembled. There were floats and sound systems and people in costume. Shrove Tuesday is the main day so we will miss it.

We were brave and bold and have decided to catch the train at Port Aventura. We got there in no time as it was much nearer than the main station. All trains seem to stop there so we were surprised when it got to 7.15 and no train had come. Meanwhile the station was in complete darkness. I tried to find my little torch but failed to do so. Has it fallen out on a walk, have I put it in my case or did I fail to bring it in the first place. I was sure I put it in for the walks that might have included tunnels and maybe took it out when those days were over.

Luckily Neil had also decided that torch should be added to the mustang protocol so he in put two piles and we rechecked on the station notice. There was no evidence that a train was not expected. The signal had changed to green however and it seemed unlikely that this would happen if there was no train expected. In the end it came and we were all happy. It was 12 minutes late which is most unusual.

I shouldn't speak too soon but I seem to have a spring in my step today. At last my feet and new sandals have become compatible. I was 100km short of getting them walked in when we set off. A week with flu didn't help and neither did snow when even I ditch sandals for shoes. Next time I get new sandals I shall start to walk them in immediately and then put them on one side ready to bring into use when the previous ones get too flimsy to risk wearing in difficult terrain.

Our walk today is mainly along the beach. There are occasional marine parades to give a change of surface. It is cold first thing although the wind is light and very soon the sun comes out and it warms up to around 18 degrees. Very comfortable for going along and warm enough to sit down if you can get out of the wind.

We can tell we are getting into northern Europe. There are signs telling us not to climb on the groins and a notice saying danger of falling off a precipice. Both yesterday and today we have seen pancreatic maritime plants (sea daffodils). These were falsely called ophrys (check on photo ). It will be lovely to see one of these in flower. We have seen the similar canariensis in Tenerife and one very much gone over on the Mediterranean but never in full flower.

Walking along the beach is usually easier near the water's edge and this means you risk getting wet feet if you don't pay attention. This eventually happened to me. It was a lovely day and I didn't mind at all but I decided to conduct an experiment and began counting the waves as they came in. Sure enough on the 70th I had to make a dash for it as an extra big wave came in. Neil was intrigued by this and when he later had a near miss he also did a count and the same thing happened. An experiment for Brainiacs perhaps although they should not have the luxury of being able to escape.

Since walking on the sand Neil has had started having trouble with his sandals. They collect sand between the sole and the lining. Every now and then he has to stop and shake them to get the sand out. They are not comfortable. One of the attachments has broken which fasten the upper to the sole so the walk has ended in the nick of time for him. He will have new sandals next time. We are going to do some longish local walks in England, weather permitting, so he doesn't have the same problem I had.

We have arrived at Vendrells. Did Pau Casals come from here? There is a museum dedicated to him. Neil says he can't see more artifacts here than in other places. I don't think he was joking. We have lunch under a tree which Neil insists is not a tamarisk as they are evergreen. Is this true even further north. The incipient leaves look similar. Any way it failed to act as a windbreak and we didn't stay long after we had finished eating. My cold is definitely on the mend as I had a terrible coughing fit in the middle of lunch. It went on for ages and is one of my end-of-cold indicators. If only we had been going to stay a second week – no cold and comfortable sandals. Too good to be true.

At Calafells, it is (sorry was) heaving. (Neil doesn't like the historic present. These villages are on the Barcelona Cercanias route and make a good Saturday destination for a day out. Even the N340 might have been quieter. Sometimes you could hardly make headway for the crunch. Actually it was great to see people of all ages and a multitude of dogs all enjoying a lovely day out by the sea. Lent begins next week so this is carnival weekend. We had seen children having school outings on Friday, some younger ones on the beach and some older ones in a Jungle Adventure Playground at Mora. In the evening we also saw children going home from school dressed up ready for what ??? would call the phallus (failles). On the walk to Tarragona we had heard the band rehearsing.

Once we arrived in Cunit we were treated to a preview of all the floats. There were dozens of them lined up beside the railway so that as our train pulled out we saw more and yet more of them. Each was towed by a tractor and was mounted on a small trailer. The floats were relatively simple in design and self-made. In my view they were all the better for that.

As we were now off the Medium distance train route we have to change at Sant Vincenç. The ticket office and railway bar are run by one person – what a brilliant idea. We couldn't attract the attendant's attention so Neil went round to the bar side where she was doing some washing up. He then attracted her attention and pointed her in the direction of me on the other side where the ticket cossack was.

We went in a double-decker cercania as far as Sant Vincenç and then changed for our usual train. We were able to get a timetable for Line 2 trains to Barcelona ready for Easter. They are very frequent so our first four days will be quite straightforward. The thermometer reading is 20 degrees. What a lovely end to a perfect week. Neil seem less on form today. Is this because his holiday is nearly over or is he sickening for something. Pretty much everyone in Spain seems to have a terrible cold. I wouldn't have thought he would be catching mine because I've had it too long but one of our fellow passengers or shoppers could well have passed one on. He brightens up after getting a few one-to-mes and pozor-vlaks but his nose has started running.

We decided to get off the train in Salou so that we could check bus times to Reus Airport on a day when there was someone in the kiosk. The first bus out is at 8.15. Many buses go to Reus but not to the airport We decided to see if 8.15 is early enough for our flight and if not to get a taxi. We got back and checked. 8.15 would probably be all right but not if it were late or failed to come. We don't like being pile for plane departures. We decided to have a quick soup and then go out to find a taxi. While we were having it, the doorbell rang. It was Pilar. She couldn't come at 8 so she was bringing our deposit back. I said she had just caught us because we were about to go out and find a taxi. She very kindly rang up for us but you don't seem to be able to book in advance. We'll have to ring in the morning.