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 Walk Across Europe

2009-04-12 - Trip 15 - Leg 117

Spain, Catalunya and Girona

Blanes to Sils

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22.9 km today.
173 km this trip.
2330.9 km from start.
41 metres minimum height.
293 metres maximum height.
344 metres ascent.
398 metres descent.
 Track Log: Logged.
 Travel: Train.

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Woodland hill paths. Agricultural access tracks. About 2km on busier roads.

We used the coastal cercania train for the last time in the morning to get to Blanes. The walk to Sils goes over some hills, about 1000 feet high, and the return journey is on a different railway line in a valley further north.

The walk was very nice. Away from the coastal strip there were more plants to see and fine mountain views. The views didn't last because it started to rain. This was English style rain. Light but persistent and it went on for most of the day. In spite of this, we got some good flower photos and stayed fairly dry under our umbrellas and inside our cagoules. We found some new plants and have little idea of their names.

The rain also reduced the number of quad and trial bikes using the woodland trails. The mountain bikers are quiet apart from their "Bon Dia" greeting. The motorised trail users flash past in a roar of noise and smell without acknowledgement. To get really quiet walks, the terrain has to be vehicle proof.

This was our last trip on the rodalies (Catalan for cercanías to Blanes. Today it was dry in Barcelona but had rained in the night. We got the 6.18 train to reach Blanes at dawn. Our route took us out of town and up into the hills. It stayed dry for the first hour of our ascent and then the rain set in and it stayed wet for the rest of the day. So much for my idea of a rain shadow.

There was little opportunity to sit down but I didn't mind because my blisters are now all under control. No more Rohan sandals after these. A week of blisters each time you walk any distance even after they are walked in is not good. So far Merrills are the best. Hi-Tek are comfortable but don't wear well. Ffyona still had blisters when she got to Calais having almost finished her walk around the world. Was that her footwear or does there come a point where the distances are too great for your feet to recover. She was on 30 miles a day at that point – more than double our average.

My notes for today were written on the back of Neil's duplicate boarding pass paper and the ink has run so the worms are pretty much illegible.

Our journey was made entertaining by a group of black boys from Africa practicing their Spanish and Catalan pronunciation by mimicking the recorded train announcements. They did a great job.

Today we heard our first cuckoo and saw celandine, small white lilies or a type of galanthus, three-cornered leeks, a black flower in the shape of a cowl but on a longer stalk with leaves up it, thin sticky leafed cistus with no flowers, viburnum a petunia, violets and stitchwort.

Last night Neil had a bit of trouble in his bed. I often put an egg out for him as a goodnight snack in the tradition of the Rocamar Hotel in Portugal who left a chocolate on your pillow wrapped in paper saying boa noite on it. Were they sponsored by a firm of dentists? Unfortunately he failed to spot it even though I put it on the blue sheet rather than on the multi-coloured duvet. In the night he felt a nobbly thing in his bed and investigated it. The egg (a lovely caramel one) had melted and seeped out of its paper into the bed. He had some laundry to do. I must find a safer place for the egg in future. I don't mind about the laundry but what a waste of an egg.

Today's route took us past fields of onions, alcachofas, beans and wheat. We passed though pine woods and poplar groves. We saw babbling brooks and fast-flowing streams. Early on our track was shared by cyclists, other walkers and quad bikers. Later on we had it all to ourselves. The views were lovely in spite of the rain. My umbrella is certainly coming into its own this trip having just come for the ride last February.

Today we saw a new small purple flower and big blue irises.

The train back went by an inland route mostly less picturesque than the coastal route. It should improve beyond Sils. We were surprised because the train was small and heaving with people going back to Barcelona after the weekend. Our tickets were for Sants but we got out at El Clot and got a Line 1 train to the Arc de Triomf. We shall discover tomorrow whether that was illegal. If it was I'll get returns for that short section.

We rang Mini to say Happy Easter. She seemed on good form. Ian had dug out some plants for her and she is excited about getting summer bedding. We'll do that soon.