Friday, October 20, 2017

Spanish Pyrenees Walk 9: Garriguella to Pilau-Saverdera

leaving Garriguella


Let’s start with dinner in Garriguella on October 18, 2017. We had an adequate, fortunately inexpensive, meal at one place and figured to go there again. A big plus for us was they were open early. The other place kept “Spanish hours.” We walked over arriving around 19:00 and found it closed. The other place wasn’t open. A little bar/cafe was open but we couldn’t decipher the menu and what we could figure out wasn’t appealing. We were stuck. But we had noticed 2 grocery-type stores on the block. Time to find food we could heat up at the house-hotel we were staying at.  A butcher shop provided us with a pasta and meat dish along with a meatball dish; another shop yielded tomatoes and drinks. I am quite sure the total cost was tiny and once we returned and warmed everything up we actually felt we had a tastier meal than the meal at the resturaunt on our first night in Garriguella.  Now this wouldn’t have worked if we hadn’t had access to a kitchen with microwave and a hostess who was fine with our using the stuff. But the kitchen facilities did exist and she was fine so all is well that ends well.

We set out at 08:44 under heavily overcast skies. Throughout the night it had stormed including thunder and lightning. You could tell rain was still in the air, though as we departed the house it was only spitting just a little bit. The Inntravel notes say the walk is 17km and we agree with this number (I actually failed to turn on the GPS track right away so likely lost 50-100m but that’s not really much). The first few km of the walk would take us out of Garriguella first along the surprisingly busy paved town road to dirt roads that wound through farms slowly gaining elevation as they passed by olive orchards and vineyards (maybe).  It was becoming clear that if this were a cloudless day the views would be quite good indeed.
on trail

We continued on through the hills passing beehives and old Spanish civil war (Nationalist) bunkers that even under these cloudy conditions had superb views of the surrounding countryside. We could see a long way too.

After crossing a very busy road, likely the most dangerous bit of the hike,  we entered a natural park area and continued to climb along a dirt road. Up we went and the sounds of a rock quarry faded away. It was easy going and the weather though gray was still co-operating. I suspect the temperature had crept up a bit into the low-mid 60F range. It was nice hiking weather and we were making good time. 

At 11:30 things changed. The rain came. At first it was gentle but though it slackened from time to time it also intensified a fair bit too. We were first walking along a narrow trail between two paved roads and we had a little tree cover. We lucked out sometimes when in more open country as the rain eased a bit. That was especially true on a 400m or so stretch of road walk. But it didn’t last.  As we climbed a steep and rutted dirt and stone track that would climb for nearly a km to the top of a hill where lonely homes sit, one under renovation and the other occupied, in the rain pelted down. This was not a place you would want to get stuck.  It eased off some at the top but the wind picked up so we felt the chill as we paused to have snacks and keep the internal fires burning. 
heading to lunch

We were still having a good day even if the steep climb had made us nervous whether we were truly on the right path. As we walked across the top of the hills towards our next goal, a ruin of some sort, the rain tapered off completely. At the ruin - call it about11km I think - we settled down for a fast lunch. The sun even made a very brief appearance. Just enough to show a shadow or two but it didn’t last. By the time we hoisted our packed again (15-20 minute lunch ) that moment had pretty much passed.
mas vente

As we approached Mad Vente (Farm of the winds) we found we had entered another type of terrain: a tiny pine grove. Lovely.Our only complaint is that we got confused by the directions. But once we sorted things out it was an easy walk down a dirt road with what would normally be exceptional views of the Bay of Roses and the towns that dot the Mediterranean shoreline. Today you could see the sea but not all that well. 
Bay of Roses

Ermita Sant de Onofre

Perhaps just before 14:30 we reached Elmira de Sant Onofre (Shrine of Saint Onofre). According to the notes it’s about 2km from there to the end of the walk. It is a tough 2km. Specifically a solid 1.5km down what the notes warn is steep and rocky and requires use of your trekking poles. In other words: very slow going for me. I am pretty sure it took over an hour to make the bulk of the descent . I am sure Mom and Dad had lots and lots of time to wait. Though it had been a wet day the path, such as it is, was remarkably dry. It drains well and the rocks were surprisingly unslippery (unlike say wet cobblestones in a village street). I am still glad it wasn’t raining as I plodded down the slopes slowly descending something like 300m in the 1.5-2km distance. While ascending would have been physically tiring I think I would have preferred it as much as Mom would have loathed it.

Once we were at the bottom it was fairly straightforward, with some fits and starts and asking for help, to find the hotel Niu de Sol. My room doesn’t seem to have any solid stone walls but Mom and Dad do. It is clearly another ancient building that has been nicely re-purposed.

We won’t have any real time here in Pilau-Saverdera to explore. It appears to be sizeable and yet retains that air of old-ness. We know people are about as we can hear them from our second floor hotel rooms. Some dogs bark now and then too. We have had a very satisfying dinner at the recommended resturaunt and we’d have had coffee and desert had they come back to our table in a more timely fashion. Perhaps it is just as well that I , at least, did not as i feel pretty full. I’m not quite sure what Patanegra is but it was a tasty cut of meat, well seasoned with vegetables and potatoes. Mom and Dad enjoyed their dinners too. 

It has been a very good day with a walk that though tougher than some was certainly well worth it even though it did rain for 75 minutes or so.

Distance 17.35km (a bit short as I didn’t start the track right away; likely 17.5km)
Ascent: 550m
Descent: 505m
Moving time: 6 hours 18 minutes
Stopped time (parent’s would be longer): 1 hour 8 minutes
High temperature upper 60s. Overcast with 75 minutes of moderate to hard rain.

Photos
1. Leaving Garriguella.

2. We’ve been walking for an hour and though we can’t see much it has been enjoyable walking so far.

3. Coming up on lunch time. We’ve left the renovated house and occupied house that both sit lonely on top of a hill well behind. The rain has ceased and we are ready for lunch.

4. At Mas Vente Mom and Dad are figuring out where we go next. The directions were a tad confusing.

5. It is hard to see much but the Bay of Roses is down there. The Meddeterranean Sea.

6. Looking back towards the Shrine of Saint Onofre. That is a nasty path winding up the slope to the shrine. Very slow going for me to make my way down from there.

Spanish Pyrenees Walk 9: Garriguella to Pilau-Saverdera

leaving Garriguella


Let’s start with dinner in Garriguella on October 18, 2017. We had an adequate, fortunately inexpensive, meal at one place and figured to go there again. A big plus for us was they were open early. The other place kept “Spanish hours.” We walked over arriving around 19:00 and found it closed. The other place wasn’t open. A little bar/cafe was open but we couldn’t decipher the menu and what we could figure out wasn’t appealing. We were stuck. But we had noticed 2 grocery-type stores on the block. Time to find food we could heat up at the house-hotel we were staying at.  A butcher shop provided us with a pasta and meat dish along with a meatball dish; another shop yielded tomatoes and drinks. I am quite sure the total cost was tiny and once we returned and warmed everything up we actually felt we had a tastier meal than the meal at the resturaunt on our first night in Garriguella.  Now this wouldn’t have worked if we hadn’t had access to a kitchen with microwave and a hostess who was fine with our using the stuff. But the kitchen facilities did exist and she was fine so all is well that ends well.

We set out at 08:44 under heavily overcast skies. Throughout the night it had stormed including thunder and lightning. You could tell rain was still in the air, though as we departed the house it was only spitting just a little bit. The Inntravel notes say the walk is 17km and we agree with this number (I actually failed to turn on the GPS track right away so likely lost 50-100m but that’s not really much). The first few km of the walk would take us out of Garriguella first along the surprisingly busy paved town road to dirt roads that wound through farms slowly gaining elevation as they passed by olive orchards and vineyards (maybe).  It was becoming clear that if this were a cloudless day the views would be quite good indeed.

We continued on through the hills passing beehives and old Spanish civil war (Nationalist) bunkers that even under these cloudy conditions had superb views of the surrounding countryside. We could see a long way too.

After crossing a very busy road, likely the most dangerous bit of the hike,  we entered a natural park area and continued to climb along a dirt road. Up we went and the sounds of a rock quarry faded away. It was easy going and the weather though gray was still co-operating. I suspect the temperature had crept up a bit into the low-mid 60F range. It was nice hiking weather and we were making good time. 

At 11:30 things changed. The rain came. At first it was gentle but though it slackened from time to time it also intensified a fair bit too. We were first walking along a narrow trail between two paved roads and we had a little tree cover. We lucked out sometimes when in more open country as the rain eased a bit. That was especially true on a 400m or so stretch of road walk. But it didn’t last.  As we climbed a steep and rutted dirt and stone track that would climb for nearly a km to the top of a hill where lonely homes sit, one under renovation and the other occupied, in the rain pelted down. This was not a place you would want to get stuck.  It eased off some at the top but the wind picked up so we felt the chill as we paused to have snacks and keep the internal fires burning. 

We were still having a good day even if the steep climb had made us nervous whether we were truly on the right path. As we walked across the top of the hills towards our next goal, a ruin of some sort, the rain tapered off completely. At the ruin - call it about11km I think - we settled down for a fast lunch. The sun even made a very brief appearance. Just enough to show a shadow or two but it didn’t last. By the time we hoisted our packed again (15-20 minute lunch ) that moment had pretty much passed.

As we approached Mad Vente (Farm of the winds) we found we had entered another type of terrain: a tiny pine grove. Lovely.Our only complaint is that we got confused by the directions. But once we sorted things out it was an easy walk down a dirt road with what would normally be exceptional views of the Bay of Roses and the towns that dot the Mediterranean shoreline. Today you could see the sea but not all that well. 

Perhaps just before 14:30 we reached Elmira de Sant Onofre (Shrine of Saint Onofre). According to the notes it’s about 2km from there to the end of the walk. It is a tough 2km. Specifically a solid 1.5km down what the notes warn is steep and rocky and requires use of your trekking poles. In other words: very slow going for me. I am pretty sure it took over an hour to make the bulk of the descent . I am sure Mom and Dad had lots and lots of time to wait. Though it had been a wet day the path, such as it is, was remarkably dry. It drains well and the rocks were surprisingly unslippery (unlike say wet cobblestones in a village street). I am still glad it wasn’t raining as I plodded down the slopes slowly descending something like 300m in the 1.5-2km distance. While ascending would have been physically tiring I think I would have preferred it as much as Mom would have loathed it.

Once we were at the bottom it was fairly straightforward, with some fits and starts and asking for help, to find the hotel Niu de Sol. My room doesn’t seem to have any solid stone walls but Mom and Dad do. It is clearly another ancient building that has been nicely re-purposed.

We won’t have any real time here in Pilau-Saverdera to explore. It appears to be sizeable and yet retains that air of old-ness. We know people are about as we can hear them from our second floor hotel rooms. Some dogs bark now and then too. We have had a very satisfying dinner at the recommended resturaunt and we’d have had coffee and desert had they come back to our table in a more timely fashion. Perhaps it is just as well that I , at least, did not as i feel pretty full. I’m not quite sure what Patanegra is but it was a tasty cut of meat, well seasoned with vegetables and potatoes. Mom and Dad enjoyed their dinners too. 

It has been a very good day with a walk that though tougher than some was certainly well worth it even though it did rain for 75 minutes or so.

Distance 17.35km (a bit short as I didn’t start the track right away; likely 17.5km)
Ascent: 550m
Descent: 505m
Moving time: 6 hours 18 minutes
Stopped time (parent’s would be longer): 1 hour 8 minutes
High temperature upper 60s. Overcast with 75 minutes of moderate to hard rain.

Photos
1. Leaving Garriguella.

2. We’ve been walking for an hour and though we can’t see much it has been enjoyable walking so far.

3. Coming up on lunch time. We’ve left the renovated house and occupied house that both sit lonely on top of a hill well behind. The rain has ceased and we are ready for lunch.

4. At Mas Vente Mom and Dad are figuring out where we go next. The directions were a tad confusing.

5. It is hard to see much but the Bay of Roses is down there. The Meddeterranean Sea.

6. Looking back towards the Shrine of Saint Onofre. That is a nasty path winding up the slope to the shrine. Very slow going for me to make my way down from there.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Spanish Pyrenees:Figueres

A special guest post from my parent Judy and Jonathan Knight. 

dancer?

Today, October 18, we decided not to hike but instead visit the Dali Museum in Figueres, about 10 miles  southwest of  where we are currently  staying, the village of Garriguella.  But how to get there? Bus schedules were not good and so a taxi seemed in order.  Our hotel owner offered a third choice: she was going into  Figueres and would drive us there.


We arrived in Figueres  about 10am and following street signs quickly found the Dali Museum.  The museum was designed by Dali, and there is no mistaking that the building is a Dali work as well as devoted to his work,as the attached photos plainly reveal. The highlight of the museum visit was a special exhibition of jewelry designed by Dali. We did not know about his interest in and creation of jewelry. In a word, the pieces are stunning, so much so that we purchased a catalog of the jewelry exhibition providing more details about each piece.


After the museum visit  (we were there for about 2 hours),  lunch was next, easily found given the profusion of restaurants in the center of Figueres.  Before our visit to the city, we had not known of it or the Dali museum.  A visit to both is recommended, with train time from Barcelona to Figueres about 1 1/2 hours.

Dali museumfascade



To return to Garriguella we got a taxi at the train station. The ride was no more than 20 minutes. 


The attached photos were taken by Kenneth. While he got less out of the visit to the museum than we did, his photographic skills exceeded ours.


Judy and Jonathan

Spanish Pyrenees Walk 8: Vilartoli to Garriguella


High spotty clouds dot the sky and we are hoping for somewhat cooler temperatures than we have seen. From the overview of the walk we think it should be an easy one as well as one with some interesting  things to see. Our driver dropped us off at 09:44 at an intersection near the hamlet of Vilartoli. He would continue on to Garriguella to drop off our luggage. 

We hoisted our packs as a friendly dog came to check us out and soon we were walking up a farm road passing grape vines as we looked for the small blue rock piles that would mark the path to the dolmen in the area. Finding them we followed the dirt paths between vineyards up a small hill to a set of dolmen. One, in particular, was in perfect condition.  These millenia-old stone structures are the entry ways into what I think could be fairly elaborate tombs for more than just one person or family. we also passed by an intriguing , much more modern, round stone shelter with a tiny door that I find hard to imagine a use for. I suppose fieldhands use it for something but it really was a tiny seeming door that you’d almost have to wiggle through to get into what looks like a large (and very dark) shelter. 



By this time into the walk, call it a kilometer, we had picked up our unwanted companions for the day. Flies were out in force and, if possible, more irksome than the day before. Clearly we were unable to outpace them even as we continued to walk farm roads and some minor paved roads through more vineyards, sheep pastures, olive groves, and so on towards the village of Espolla. The cafe/bar we passed in that quiet small village was a bit tempting but it was stuffy inside and still pretty early in the day so we just kept on going. We were making fine progress as the hiking was on dirt or concrete minor roads. No vehicle traffic. In short order we were approaching the village of Rabós and this , once again very quiet, village had more to offer.
village of Rabos

Rabós sits on a hillside. Like other places we have walked through it feels old. Many solid stone buildings, a modest village square (actually had a few people in it)  and a Romanesque church. The church bell tolled the time as we took a break on a park bench.  We found an open tiny grocery store and got some cookies. The selection was small. I don’t think I saw any fresh fruits or produce their.  Mom and Dad noticed some lovely buildings and you wonder what they’re used for today.

When we left the village for the farm track through a vineyard  we looked back and up to see Rabós and its fortified church standing proudly on the hill above. I can easily imagine this as a prosperous place , as those things went, several centuries ago. Today I wonder.

The farm lanes would eventually turn into a trail that we would follow for a couple km. While the trail is waymarked it doesn’t get much tender loving care. It is overgrown but at least the plants aren’t full of sharp pointy bits. We walked through valleys and across two dry streams with our ever-present swarms of non-biting flies. By now the clouds had cleared away and the temperature was pushing the 80F mark.  A shady area just off the trail provided our lunch spot. A quick lunch so we didn’t have to deal with the annoying flies.

When we climbed out of the valley, not much of a climb, we got some wind and that pushed the flies back. Hurray. We also got more expansive views. You might argue they weren’t great views, no majestic mountain ranges or views of the sea, but expansive nonetheless. After a quick break for a snack in Delfia our walk would take us on more farm roads passed very large fields with the village of Garriguella  visible in the distance.
fields around Garriguella

We worked our way around those fields to a paved road that for the last several hundred meters would lead us into the center  of Garriguella.  It is bigger than the other villages but my first impressions are that there isn’t all that much here. Somehow it feels less interesting that  Santa Pau let alone Besalu. I hope this is a false impression. Maybe tomorrow we will se it in a better more complete light. 

(The walk to the resturaunt for dinner didn’t really improve my view of the village but then dinner itself, though inexpensive, was only mediocre).

Distance: 15.3km
Ascent: 169m
Descent: 235m
Moving TIme:4 hours 33 minutes
Stopped Time: 40 minutes
(Ascent number are about 100m lower than the guide notes. The walk was 700m shorter than the guide said).

Photos
1. An intact dolmen. Photo by Judy

2. The main feature of Rabos is the fortified church you see on the right. 

3. Large fields surround Garriguella. Our last couple km took us atop bd and through them. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Spanish Pyrenees Walk 7: Above Cantallops

This walk had a bit of everything and that isn’t necessarily good. After a lovely hot breakfast, what  a pleasant change from the merely continental style breakfasts we have been having, we got ourselves ready for the circuit-hike of the day. We expected it to be another very warm day with a high temperature touching 80-82F (it did). However, at the start of our walk around 09:20 the sky was mostly cloudy and the temperature was cool. We strolled on down into Cantallops (Can-ta-lopes) and through the modest sized village. We believe they have some industry in the form of vineyards but at this time of a Monday morning at least it was awfully quiet. We found our way to a dirt single track that had a snail (scallop, isn’t the scallop shell used on Camino de Santiago paths?) shell along with more common yellow waymarks. We began to climb through the hills up the valley. I’m glad it wasn’t too hot yet because though the climbing wasn’t strenuous it certainly got my sweat glands working. Over the next couple km we gained a couple hundred meters and when we remembered to look back were treated to some fine views of the valley below. 

We tried to find , admittedly not too much effort was expended, some of the dolmens in the area. They represent burial grave sites from the 5th century. 
Dad and a cork tree

We continued working our way up. A castle was visible in the distance. But only now and then as we worked our way through cork oak forest trails. The tantalizing sound of a stream could be heard but we never really did see it.

In time we came to a mountain road which we would follow northerly and it got us to within a km of the castle. We chose to continue on. We saw numerous cows wandering the roadside or sometimes just laying alongside the road -tails and ears constantly flicking to try and keep the flies at bay. One constant of the walk today were the flies bouncing off us. Irritating. Annoying. At least they weren’t biting flies. Why were the cows up here? I certainly saw no land they could reasonably graze.
cows on the road

Our road walk would take us past the ruins of the Santa Maria church. That church was a pilgrimage destination up through the mid-19th century. People came to pray for a certain type of wind whose name I’m not sure of. But for reasons unknown that practice faded and when combined with the de-population that has struck this region the church fell into dis-use and several decades back whoever decides these things just decided to let it go to ruin. Many stone buildings we have passed have been restored, many in ruins. 

We passed more cows. We continued descending towards a stream. We actually crossed a bridge over a stream with running water. Too bad we could not dangle our feet in the water. By this time though clouds were breaking up and the temperature was certainly rising.  We were a bit more than halfway and had some modest ascending on a trail truly full of spiny plants to contend with. Over the next kilometer we climbed and then for a while we descended and then popped back out of the col de Medas where we had tried to find the dolmen earlier in the day. 
distant cadtle

By now the clouds were gone and the air temperature was clearly heading to that 80 plus mark if it wasn’t already there. We could have descended the sane path we climbed this morning but we took the somewhat longer but far easier road descent. The first 1.4kms were on mountain dirt road. Easy going. Then we turned onto what I suppose could be a 4x4 track. For the next 1.75km we continued on down. It took a half hour but felt longer. We were getting tired and the long stretches of just up or just down can be wearing. Besides the views weren’t all that interesting. We were all coming to the point where we were wishing for the end to arrive. The few hundred meters along paved roads into the oh so busy (not) heart of Cantallops to have ice cream and drinks was a chore. The final few hundred meters from there to the hotel was a chore. Sometimes walks whose end you know is in sight just drag more than they should. It is a phenomenon related to the watched teapot never boiling.

An all right walk though not a great one. Now as I sit in my room typing this I’m wishing dinner wasn’t the better part of 3.5 hours away. I just wish the flies would find some other place to be. We were told that a couple of weeks ago when the temperatures had dropped to what would be normal at this time of year, the flies and mosquitoes were gone. They returned with these unusually warm days. 

Distance: 15.8km
AScent and Descent: 420m
Total Time: 6:18
Time for breaks: 1:03 (we had a couple breaks where we pondered directions more than we might otherwise have had to do. Today the directions , or at least our ability to read them, wasn’t as good as usual). 

Photos
`. Harvesting of cork trees is done here. The lower portion is the inner layer exposed after harvesting. I think the tree re-grows it’s bark in 7-10 years. 

2.  Cows, cows cows.  We saw several wandering the mountain roads today. 

3. The overcast has lifted and we are heading back to the village. We had a chance to look back from where we had been and you can see the castle we didn’t visit in the distance. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Spanish Pyrenees: Rest Day (day 7)


I am sitting in my posh room in Hotel Canxiquet (Can-chi-let)  feeling quite sated after another very good supper. The village of Cantallops (Canta-hopes) though tiny shines just a few minutes downhill from here and way off in the distance what we think is a combination outlet strip mall and mega truck stop glints. The sky is pretty dark but we don’t see much in the way, if any, of stars though the Moon when up is still quite bright. It’s been a restful day.

We spent the morning exploring a bit more in Besalú. We had planned on visiting Figueres but the bus schedule , from what we could tell, did not work for us. So insteaad we spent time in Besalú and then came earlier to this large, though seemingly pretty near empty, hotel on a hill above Cantallops. Our impression that Besalú is a bustling town that does a serious tourist trade was re-enforced though we remain unsure why this is the case. I suppose it doesn’t matter but you wonder sometimes how things develop. It was a nice way to spend a sunny clear morning. Seeing actual grocery stores and some very nice little shops that sell all sorts of goods from Knick-knacks to fine leather products was enjoyable.

When we were dropped off by our taxi in early afternoon at the hotel it was time for lunch. What a meal. If we had lost any weight up to today I bet we made good inroads on gaining it back. Lunch was very good from the salmon rolls to pork; the small starters to salad; they made very good food. Like our first hotel, back in Mollo, the food (lunch and dinner at least) are clearly going to stand out here. I expect that breakfast will be basic “continental.” 

Cantallops seems tiny. We found the local cafe/bar which had a few people, including another couple doing an Inntravel trip, enjoying afternoon drinks. Other than that place I don’t think we really saw anyone. In fact, the liveliest people we saw were I guess the prostitutes (we assume though hard to see what else they were) hanging out on the minor highway a handful of km short of the truck stop. One even gave us a wiggle as we went by. I wonder what the laws on solicitation are here in Spain.

Tomorrow we return to the walking. We will do a circuit-hike of about 16km. We have options to do a couple excursions but I doubt we will. One is to a castle that we might be able to see but can’t explore as it is closed tomorrow. Also if it is as warm as it was today that will likely affect how we feel. The heatwave is continuing and as far as I know tomorrow will be much like today which means sunny, clear and quite warm for this time of year.

Spanish Pyrenees Walk 6: El Sallent to Besalú

parents in El Salient

The morning dawned overcast and cool. Our first day with weather anything other than clear and warm. We understand that this part of Spain is experiencing something of a heat wave. Average temperatures should be considerably cooler than we have been feeling. Today I doubt it really got much above 70F until the sun eventually did break through the overcast and the clouds moved away. But at the outset of our walk things were much cooler at least compared to what we had seen. 

Our taxi dropped us off just outside the village of El Sallent where we joined the GR2, walked past a house with what seemed to be an exuberant and maybe dangerous dog before joining a paved road that we would follow for several kilometers to the hamlet of El Torn. The road wound through farmland but was pretty uninteresting. El Torn is quite tiny though large enough to have a church and civic center. But beyond the couple of tiny dogs we saw no people in obvious evidence. We continued on more gravel roads which were rather uninteresting.

In time we joined a mountain path that took us up and over hills that were full of scrub forest and briars and brambles. We met a fellow, with his two dogs, doing some  pruning. He has lots of work to do. The trail continued to be rather uninteresting. The forest was scrub bushes and small trees with little distinctive character like the dark woods we climbed through on walk 5.
frutos

It wasn’t a hard walk just unexciting. The rocky dry streambed we had lunch at was a nice place. But after that we returned to a winding gravel road that would eventually take us past the church of St. Fruitos which is a couple kilometers outside of Besalú. More road walking and then narrow woods trail and then road into town. Besalú is certainly the high point of the walk. By now the sun was out and it had warmed well into the 70s and we found hundreds of cars and camper vans parked outside of town. It’s clearly a town with a thriving tourist industry.  Most visitors probably from Barcelona about 140 km away. 

This is another distinctive hotel just outside the town walls and on the east side of the Fluvia River and is a little worn but nice enough. We joined the throngs of people strolling through the town to explore a bit. The L-shaped bridge with portcullis is certainly a standout feature. We couldn’t really see the old Mikva which is one of 2 or 3 still in this part of Spain (though not used I think). Jews that once thrived in the town were forced out in the 15th century in just a couple of decades.  We also saw a bit of an artisan market. Besalú has a population of some 2,000 people but it is clear that tourists come to visit though we aren’t quite sure why as the town isn’t near the sea or mountains. 
River Fluvia in Besalu

evening on the Besalu bridge

A not terribly exciting walk but a very nice town.

Distance:  14.4km
Ascent: 240m
Descent: 429m
Total time: 6:10
Break Time (not moving): 58 minutes (bit surprised by that amount).


Photos
1. Mom and Dad in El Sallent.

2. After dinner at the restauraunt the hotel recommended where we had a pretty good meal in a very elegant setting we walked back across the L-shaped bridge which is wonderfully lit at night.

3. Looking east from the Jewish quarter towards the river Fluvia and the 13th-century bridge. 

4. The bridge over the Fluvia not long after sunrise the following morning.