Saturday, October 21, 2017

Spanish Pyrenees Walk 11: Going to the Sea

We had a late start today. Our taxi to the starting point of the walk arrived at 09:45 and in about 30 minutes dropped us off at a spot high in the hills not far from an old American, maybe now Spanish, military base. I suppose it must still be in use because a large radar station sits atop of mountain not that far away. The sky was overcast but the weather report promised it  would clear up as the day progressed.  At first we would have to hope for spectacular views of the coves and bays of the Mediterranean Sea below.
overcast morning. Mom and Crab Claw Cove

We were walking along an old mountain road and so were able to set a brisk pace. This is pretty wide open countryside.  Rocky, scrub filled,  hard to imagine farming ever happening here though we passed an old ruin or two of farmhouses. The clouds moved off and the sun came out making the promised views much more obvious.

Our first lovely view of the cove that the hamlet of Monjoi sits in was a nice treat. Just 1.5 or so kilometers away we were promised, by our Inntravel guide, that a cafe sat on the beach waiting to welcome us. It would be the perfect time for a late-morning coffee and pastry if we could have them. The trail left the road and wound down switchbacks, sometimes a little stony, towards the hamlet. Occasional sounds of life drifted up but it didn’t look like much as we descended. The sound of surf steadily increased and the gorgeous blue green of the cover drew us on in. Too bad the beach doesn’t compare to the lovely color of the water. Not much of a beach except in name only. And, sad to say, the cafe not only was closed but gave all signs that it had been for quite a while. 

We climbed out to the coastal road, a surprisingly busy road where we probably saw a dozen cars go by over the next couple km, and began to walk around the headlands to our next good stopping point

That turned out to be at Casa Rapla.. We left the road walk for what turned out to be a bit tougher segment than we expected. Dropping down into a modestly rocky narrow valley only to climb out again before coming in a few hundred meters to the cliffs of a cove in which a fancy hotel sits. This hotel was also cited in our guide as a place to eat. The path wound down once again somewhat stony parts to the barely-a-beach and the hotel. It is clearly fancy. It is also clearly  a place to go for a meal but  If you want a modest lunch you best go elsewhere. If you want even just a start of ham and melon be prepared for sticker shock. Unless we misread things that starter was 25 euro. Must be some super melon and super ham. Even just getting a couple dishes of tiramisu flavored ice cream and one big beer was a challenge. I would swear our waiter forgot about us. It just should not take minutes and minutes to place the order and then get a bowl of ice cream. At least it was tasty and the setting was nice. But we knew we would be feeling hungry by the end of the walk as the picnics provided by the hotel in Pilau-Saverdera were mediocre to say the least-an interesting idea of a takeout box of pasta, a hard boiled egg, and a small tomato. 

Up and out of the hotel cove. Perhaps the steepest bit of ascent of the walk was on the first road and then stone path. Since the temperature had steadily risen to about 80F we felt it as we climbed to the top of the land once more. When we came to a coast road we were at about the 10km mark: 5 or so kilometers to go.
Cadaqués in view

The rest of the walk was pretty much entirely on the coastal road. It’s a dirt-gravel road that is well built and pretty quiet. Now and then Cadaqués would pop into view. We could see the whitewashed buildings curling around the bay from quite a ways off.  Eventually we were walking through the resort town and feeling a bit underwhelmed. Maybe it was because it is a resort town that we felt that way. Maybe we were just tired. It would turn out that our feelings were misplaced but I am getting ahead of things.

It is a very nice bay that the town sits on. It’s a bit of a shame that you have to take some care of the ever-present motorcycles and scooters and some cars that zip on by on the narrow bayside road. We passed numerous restaurants , a casino, and more. We found La Notta, a oh so fine smoothie and snacks place, and that was wonderful. A few hundred meters further around, that is northernly, the bay and we found the Playa Sol Hotel. Hurray.  
smoothies at La Botta

Cadaqués from La Notta

This was a charming walk even if a lot of it was on country roads. I can imagine it being a lousy walk if the weather turns on you as there would be no real cover from wind and rain. However, our mostly sunshine-filled day though warm was lovely.
Cadaqués st night

Distance:  15.7km
Ascent 322m
Descent: 704m
Moving Time:  5 hours 20 minutes
Stopped Time: 1 hour 32 minutes includes way too much time at the fancy hotel for ice creams; and maybe 15 minutes at La Notta for those lovely smoothies).
High Temperature: 81F under mostly sunny skies

1. It looks more threatening than it actually is. But it was a touch cool and breezy so Mom was wearing a bit more than she would otherwise do. In the distance you can see Crab Claw Cove.

2. Montjoi and the very sheltered cove. Too bad the cafe bar was closed. The hamlet looks like it barely exists. But it was a nice walk down to it nonetheless.

3. Can you tell that we are dealing with a rocky descent? A lot of the land hereabouts is stony and full of scrub. This is definitely not a lush region.

4. Like photo 3 but a bit farther along. We are soon going to climb up and walk a couple hundred meters on headland before dropping down into the cove of the fancy hotel. 

5. Mom and Dad with a first really good view of Cadaqués some 3km distant.

6. Smoothies; what a treat and intriguing way to package them.

7. Standing just outside La Notta and looking at a portion of the town of Cadaqués. 

8. Just after sunset in Cadaqués. The view is from just outside the hotel Playa Sol. 

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