Monday, 30 July 2007

El Port De La Selva

I am writing from a cafe on the beach with lovely views of the Med so you would think I have made it but not quite. The GR11 requires me to head back inland down a remote but important peninsular (like the Wirral really) called Cabo de Creus, so another 16km tomorrow. Like software, it is the finishing touches that make the difference.

After my last post I awoke at 5am to escape as much of the heat as possible, and as requested a breakfast was left for me in the dining room. Flasks of coffee and milk, bread, cheese, meat, pastries, juice etc. All included in the price. Try getting that in a travel inn. next time you are in the area.

Then on a tough day through steep, rocky and thorny tracks to Requesens. The old farm house, where I had dinner sits in the shadow of the castle and would once have serviced it. Many remains are still intact, including the fountain which feeds the old laundry washing stones. You can still make out the Latin inscription `Hotpoint´in the stone.

The old terraces where just suitable for camping, and my book mentioned that the resident bull is apparently harmless. This appeared so until another walker arrived with a dog. As we chatted, the bull charged the dog, which ran past my partially constructed tent. Walking poles, pegs and guy lines went flying, but my tent survived. I slept poorly after that.

The following day was more heat (35 degrees in afternoon) and my camping site was in the grounds of an old Monasterio St Quirze de Colera in the shadow of Puig Bonic. Lovely. However a restaurant had been built 200m from the Abbey and I got there just in time for late lunch. When getting water from the old font, I noticed large mother of a wild boar feeding 5-6 young. They seemed to ignore me but I have some good photos I think...

Camping was an issue since the was ground stony, thorny and hot. Animal mess fouled any flat areas. So I climbed into the old Monastery grounds and explored. It had once been fortified, and one old towers with battlements survived. The ground was flat, clean and safe - perfect.

Once the cafe closed I was alone to watch the sun go down and illuminate the hills. Bats came out, and so did groups of wild boar to scavenge around the cafe. The owners had chained 3 guard dogs which made a lot of noise but ran into their kennels when the boar came too close. I felt sorry for them as the pigs fouled the area where the dogs ate, so I chased them away. The dogs did not appreciate this, and chased me away, then fouled the areas again to reassert their domain. Back in my castle I watched the cafe wars between pig and dog and drank hot chocolate from the tower. Two other walkers arrived late on, walking from the other direction on Day 2 of the route, and we chatted for a while.

Today I arose at 5am again, but by 9 it was in the late 20 degrees. I could see distant views of the sea to the East, when I turned around a hill and, below me sat the beautiful, blue Mediterranean. Almost running I got to a rocky beach took off my boots on a waded in. Looking around, I noticed a great deal of female form. In the mountains, any women tend to be sturdy and clad from head to toe in Goretex; these wore no goretex at all - none ;-) Don´t worry Tracey, God knows what I looked like, with dirty dusty trousers, cut forearms with walking poles attached, salt ringlets circling my shirt and hat, straggly beard and back-pack with several water bottles sticking out.

Just checked the BBC news and I can not believe that you all seem to be getting on fine without me. We even have a new PM and I missed the vote!

So I finish tomorrow. Then by several connected buses, trains and planes I will be home and intend to reach my doorstep on Thursday without taxis or collection; I am not sure why it just seems fitting to do so.


Anonymous said...

Can see the headlines now, hairy yeti invades Mediterranean beach as bathing beauties look on !
Well done Barrie, you made it.
Now the tricky bit trains, buses and planes and the good old British weather.

Anonymous said...

well done Barrie, am just enjoying reading this with the APPH guys at Runcorn, can't wait to welcome you back with open arms....

just make sure you have a shower and a shave


Anonymous said...

Well done Barrie, not that it was ever in doubt but you made it!

Fantastic blog, we have been following it closely.

Bet the bus/train/plane bit doesn't go to plan. Is the Wirral ready for you?

Hope to see you soon

Anonymous said...

Hi, great to read this, although I haven't finished yet. I am planning to do the GR11 in August/September for the charity sustrans and am very much inspired by your efforts. I am still in the early stages of preparation but if you are still reading this blog, could you send me an email address. Mine is, so that I could ask you a few things?