Ascent: 1150 metres (Cum: 42200 metres)
Time taken: 10.8 hrs including 2.5 hrs stops (Cum: 307.7 hrs including 60.4 hrs stops)
Weather: the clear early morning sky quickly clouded over, leaving a warm overcast day and no need for STC
More of the same really, with today's paths rather gentler in nature than yesterday's, and cork woods replacing some of the pine forest.
The morning was spent on Stage 41 of Brian Johnson's guide book. Nobody else was on the path or road or anywhere. The first people I saw apart from at an earlier café were the nice staff at El Fau bar-restaurant in Maçanet de Cabrenys. They welcomed me in and fed me a huge lunch for €12.
Getting going this morning was a bit of a faff. The tent normally slips into the bottom of the rucksack via a zipped opening, but the zip has broken so now the tent has to go in first, not last, which is a bit of a pain. Early starts are also harder by virtue of the sun rising later. Mick and Gayle will discover this as they make progress along the GR10 route in France.
One of my little toes is sore. There's always something! It must have been that interminable concrete road that the feet were subjected to last night.
I was wondering how German Martin was getting on - he should be finishing around now - and I was later pleased to receive his comment confirming his success. Presumably Ian and Jules will be next to finish, a little ahead of me. Finishing parties will not be overly sociable. (Mine will be in Argeles with David and Jan.)
My second breakfast was the juiciest pear ever, outside the Església de Sant Feliu de Carbonils - an empty shell that was home to an enormous stag beetle.
Around this time I noticed the sea. The Mediterranean looked really close. How come it was going to take me so long to get there? A glance at my guide book confirmed that GR11 doesn't choose either an easy or a direct route. For example, this morning I was moving steadily north rather than east.
Mullein and brambles, with long rose runners drooping like vines in the jungle, waited for any unsuspecting GR11 walker to give him a good scratch.
I stopped at 12.15 for a coke at Restaurant Moli d'en Robert. The staff saw I was hungry and rushed up with a menu. Catalan salad was duly ordered, then "We don't serve lunch until after one o'clock."
I'm glad I moved on. El Fau was excellent and it had wifi. I have to say I continue to be less than impressed with the EE/Orange service around here. It has been virtually non existent for days, though I have received a few text messages, mainly from EE trying to sell me a data allowance I then can't use... So I'm afraid this posting won't have gone in time for your breakfast, Conrad.
(Later - EE let me buy some data - will it let me use it?)
Swifts were active today in the clearings I passed through, busy building up reserves for long journeys. I wonder whether our Timperley swifts are still around.
This afternoon, as yesterday, GR11 finally gave up trying to find good paths and resorted to the road for 4 km. Not as bad as yesterday's concrete but a little tedious all the same. The route seems better planned in the off-road sense in the Basque country.
I'm about 50 metres off the dirt road to Santa Eugènia in a wood. Not unexpectedly there are mosquitoes. They are leaving bloody messes on the inner tent when I kill them. I'll no doubt find the bites later. The actual site is better than last night's, but writing this dripping with sweat sealed in the tent isn't quite as nice as last night's restaurant venue. There's quite a bit of dirt road traffic, and voices. I wonder whether I've been spotted.
Early morning near Albanyà
Special privileges for GR11 walkers?
First sight of the Mediterranean
Can Barris country house - one time seat of the Presidency of the Spanish Republic
Next Day - Day 44
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