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 Walk Across Europe

2009-04-14 - Trip 15 - Leg 119

Spain, Catalunya and Girona

Fornells-de-la-Selva to Flaca

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23.9 km today.
222.7 km this trip.
2380.6 km from start.
34 metres minimum height.
370 metres maximum height.
349 metres ascent.
435 metres descent.
 Track Log: Logged.
 Travel: Train.

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Busy trunk road 6 km. Woodland hills overlooking Girona 12 km. Quieter roads 5 km.

The alarm was set to 04:30. By 05:30 we were waiting for the first train. We had to wait over 15 minutes so we will set the alarm later tomorrow. We got the Cercania from Arc de Triomf to El Clot Arago. There we changed to the Regional Express. Apart from the early hour all was fine. At this time of day, the stations are fairly quiet but by no means deserted.

The walk started with 6 km along the N11 trunk road. This was not pleasant but we managed to find short stretches of parallel pecuarias or agricultural access roads. We were also able to walk on the safe side of the crash barrier. Early on this stretch, we needed to cross the road. There was a solid queue doing about 20 km/h. After gesticulating and nearly getting run over by many vehicles, a lorry driver with half a clue realised we wanted to cross. He slowed down enough to let us through.

Later we waded, knee deep, across a river only to discover we had missed our turn so we waded across again. Always check the GPS and map before getting wet! Later we had to wade the same river yet again but this was planned and led to our correct route.

We then had 12 km through wonderful wild hills rising to 1000 feet. These were covered in pine, oak (cork, holm and english). There were more wild viburnums and strawberry trees (Arbutus unedo). This was as delightful as the N11 was horrible. We had fine views over the City of Girona. With the warm dry weather, the Pyrenees had disappeared into the haze. These hills contain wild boar. We saw disturbed ground where they had been rooting around and a number of paths, too low for humans. We could see their tracks in the drying mud.

The final leg was along the C66 trunk road. This was less busy than the N11 and we found parallel roads for most of the way. At Flaça station, we ate the rest of our picnic before getting the train home, arriving rather late.

Neil has said that today's walk will be long and not very nice so I am poised for the long haul along hot dusty roads. The walk starts well. There is mist in the air and everything is very atmospheric. After a very short bit of road through the village and crossing the N11 at the risk of our lives (Neil put his arm out to ask something to wait for us and eventually a kind lorry driver did or we would still have been waiting now. We climbed over the crash barrier and walked through the short grass beyond. There was just enough dew to cool a hobbit's toes. Actually our feet were soaked.

Eventually we got onto a lovely track which led down into a tureen. Here our path was blocked by a swiftly flowing river. Our feet were already wet so we unzipped our trouser legs and waded through. The water was freezing – ice melt from the Pyrenees but we got safely across. Only then did Neil recheck his GPS to see where we needed to go now. Our route was not across the river at all so we now had to cross back – just as freezing as the first time. Our feet and legs ached with cold for some time afterwards.

At our first break, the sun had got up and we could see Neil's feet actually steaming. Mine were colder so they didn't steam. The only time I have steamed was when I went to a rehearsal to sing at a wedding after having been tipped into the River Waveney when Marie, a good friend and work colleague all but capsized the boat in her efforts to stow everything away quickly. I also smelled like a wet dog but it was either that or miss the rehearsal.

We now crossed the Riera de la Teula using a bridge this time. I keep trying to see another pinguiola flower but fail. Nor do we find another black flower that Neil saw. We are on the PR192 and climbing through a forest. Why Neil said the walk was not nice I don't know because it is quite stunning. There were men at work pruning the trees and clearing away brushwood. This will reduce fire risk and give different plants a chance to thrive.

We see Mont Sant Miquel on our left just above us at 390 metres. We are at 370 metres. We see tracks which we think are made by wild boar, There is a lot of evidence of them having been busy rooting for delicacies. After this wonderful stretch we ended upon a road and Neil said there were six kilometres of it. By now it was hot and the heat was beating back up at us from the tarmac. For some reason the surface of roads is also much less pleasant to walk on. This was what I had expected the whole walk to be like. It was duro duro. I suggested a five – minute sit to cool off and Neil sent me in front to find chairs because he knew there wouldn't be any. Very soon we entered the village of Bordels and there on the left was a clearing with lovely seats which I headed straight for.

As it happened that was the end of the horrible road as we could now use side streets and the old road for the rest of the way to the Flaça turn off. From then on the road was much quieter. If I had known the stretch along the road was only short it wouldn't have felt so duro.

We had supper sitting on the seats in the station and then caught our train home. Neil cooked up a proper supper but I just had ice cream and went to bed. So it wasn't a not nice walk at all but, like all the others, one of the nicest ever.