After a poor night’s sleep due to the heat, the first order of the day was to venture into the local Lidl, conveniently across the road from my AirBnb to try and find some plasters for the blisters on my left foot and a new iPhone cable to replace the almost useless one I’d brought with me. I succeeded with the plasters but no joy with the phone cable so I followed GoogleMaps to a local electronics store, which turned out to be closed despite its stated opening hours. I thought about not bothering but given that the phone/iPad hold all my information for the trip decided that it was worth continuing onwards to the next shop on offer in the opposite direction to today’s planned hike, after stopping to patch up my feet! As luck would have it, I rounded a corner to find a ‘dollar store’ type emporium and could see a display of cables from the street. Problem solved, it was time to turn around and head southwards along the beach.
The first 3km or so were indeed along this very long stretch of beach and I began to feel that I would never leave Palamós.
A middle aged gentleman (I feel I must stop saying this as I may be classed as middle aged myself now) passed me 3 times on his roller blades and there were plenty of dogs being walked. The forecast was for rain today and there were a spots but nothing that amounted to a shower. Finally the end of the beach came into sight and with it the promise of some more interesting scenery.
Almost as soon as the path left the long beach and turned a corner away from Palamós there was a drop down to a small rocky beach. It was clearly sign posted with a cross indicating that it was off the walking route but I was keen for a small sit down to enjoy the solitude and view. I was joined about 2 minutes later by a couple walking their chihuahua, who was sporting an Adidas hoodie (well, I think I may have imagined the hood) who was very interested in the macadamia nuts I was enjoying for my breakfast.
I’d been a little unsure what to expect from this stretch as from the map it looks rather built up. The great thing about this coast though, is like a good ecosystem, it is built up in layers and to each their own habitat. At sea level, some stunning coves each differing from the last. After 3 days it still surprises me how one beach will be fine sand, the next rocky and the next large grained sand. A little above sea level are the paths, hugging the hillside and dipping down to wander along the beaches. Higher still are the houses I could see marked on the map, but they mostly didn’t intrude, although they often have their own beach access via the main paths.
I find the pathways between the beaches almost as appealing as the scenery itself, and there was plenty of variety today, including a few tunnels through the hillside. There was one place where you had to clamber over the rocks between one beach and the next, and timing was key to avoid a splashing.
Although the plasters had helped I was struggling a bit because of the blister on the sole of my foot and never managed to get into a comfortable walking rhythm, frustrating as my legs were full of energy. The scenery was fantastic, though, and I stopped for many photos along the way. I was amused to come across one small beach whose sign had been ‘updated’ to indicate that nudists were at large and photography was therefore prohibited. With not a single nudist in sight I disregarded their instructions!
As I approached Platja D’Aro the anticipated rain made its appearance. By this point I was beginning to think that walking the whole distance to Sant Feliu might not be the smartest idea, particularly given the two longer days of hiking (with plenty of climbing) still to come. My plans having been very much determined by availability of places to stay and public transport back to Barcelona at the end of the trip I knew that today was also the easiest day to cut short as the bus I’d taken to Begur stopped at Platja D’Aro, S’Agaro (the next town along) and Sant Feliu. With two possible exit routes in mind, I thought I’d stop for lunch and see how I felt.
Finally I rounded a corner and Platja D’Aro was in full sight. Never have I been so glad to see a rather uninteresting looking beach town! Even this close to town there was a fantastic little beach with glorious clear water and I really wonder why people are attracted to dull, long, sandy beaches. Although, as it was raining heavily by this point there was nobody sunbathing anywhere.
I didn’t spend any time trying to identify the best lunch option, but simply took advantage of the first place I came to. It was bright and friendly, but there was only myself, two North American girls and a middle aged Brit at the table next to me who somewhat disconcertingly held an audible, but incomprehensible, conversation with his beer throughout the duration of my meal. I’d intended to take advantage of the menu del dia but having been handed a full menu I choose from that instead. The challenge of being a solo traveller in Spain is that many dishes are really intended for sharing, and certain items, such as paella are generally only available for 2 or more people. Given they had the option of a single person paella I had to go for it although I knew it wasn’t likely to be the best one as a result. I also ordered a portion of patatas bravas ignoring the advice ‘dishes for sharing’ at the top of the page. Well, they were delicious, and despite the vastness of the portion I ate them all, and still found plenty of room for my paella. Having noted yesterday that drinking at lunchtime was probably not the best of ideas with an afternoon of walking ahead, I nevertheless ordered a glass of red wine in the knowledge that my walking day was done somewhat sooner than expected.
Having polished off this vast quantity of food I looked at the bus schedule I’d so helpfully stored on my phone. I nearly deleted it having completed my journey to Begur, but I’m glad I didn’t. There was a bus due in 20 minutes, and the next one wasn’t wouldn’t be along for another 2 hours, so I packed myself up without a coffee and headed out into the pouring rain. The waiter looked horrified as I left and suggested I stay a little longer. ‘Autobus’, I replied sadly to explain my rush. ‘Ah, si’, said he, and let me go. Thankfully the bus stop was only a 5 minute walk from the restaurant and in no time I was on my way to Saint Feliu de Guixols. Although I may have missed some more good scenery the weather was miserable and I was also saved some trekking through town which looked decidedly uninteresting.
20 minutes later I was in Sant Feliu and found my hotel easily, just a few minutes walk from the bus station and opposite the monastery, which I thought I might investigate later. The hotel wasn’t staffed, but a quick phone call and the very friendly owner arrived. His English being much better than my Spanish we were able to converse a little. He looked rather impressed by my plans for tomorrow, which is slightly unnerving, but I am hopeful my foot will be feeling a little better and the weather more in my favour.
The hotel room is basic and old fashioned, but has everything I need, namely a bed (two, in fact!), a hot shower and an electrical outlet. There are very comfy sofas downstairs where there is wifi access, but it took me a while to check those out as having warmed up in the shower I fell asleep for the rest of the afternoon. The rain never did stop, so I probably wouldn’t have have gone out exploring anyway. Finally around 8pm, which is still earlier than most Spaniards would go out for dinner, the torrent came to an end and I ventured out for some food. Most of the options I’d identified on Google Maps were closed today but I found a tapas bar that looked promising. When I arrived the waitress was stood outside smoking and there were no other customers at all. I decided to stay regardless and soon had a plate of Pedron peppers and some delicious garlicky razor clams in front of me. The bar brightened up with 3 more customers during my meal, and I savoured a slow coffee whilst writing this post.