Day 4 – Monday 19th.
Besalu to Santa Pau around 25km ish and a few ‘hills’ which took 5hrs 30 ish….you can probably guess that I’m mostly walking, going as fast as I can just there’s a heavy pack (13kgs) on me and shaving weight off just is near impossible.
I could get rid of the stove and pans, not of any use without right gas (see previous post). But I hope to find gas…somewhere!
Besalu, the campsite is located out of the village 4km to the centre I trudge, it’s cold and packing the tent that was coveted in frost has me hankering for warmth and food. I need food, though once in Besalu I am evidently not so hungry as to have a burger from a vending machine, standards perhaps haven’t lowered enough – yet!
Meander around, it’s a pretty place, so much history just I need food so my focus is that. Shop found, food bought. I then look for coffee.
An hour spent pinching electricity and enjoying coffee and croissant perks me up.
On way out a buy a Spanish tortilla, all eggy goodness – lunch will feel like a feast. For € 5 a coffee, croissant, tortilla and free WiFi. I’m impressed and happy I didn’t choose the burger.
Back to the route, it climbs up a forest Road meandering through oak woods and peaks at a chapel in Ossinya.
Then I’ve a descent to the river bed, my lunch spot. Aware of time I savour as much of the tortilla but quite frankly just shoved it in my mouth and stomach says thanks.
Another climb, which isn’t easy, even if I could run you couldn’t here. This tops out at Col Salom then gradually descends towards El Torn.
An amazingly pretty and serene spot, farming land by the looks of it, I see a ruin and dream of living the good life for a brief moment.
The time is ticking till darkness descends and I need to get to the campsite near Santa Pau. By 5:30pm I’m there just as rain starts to descend I find the campsite closed. After a mini tantrum I go into town to see if there are any hotels or something.
It’s dark and raining harder I’m in no mood to find a spot…oddly it feels less safe to try and pitch once night descends. I like light to know exactly what’s around me. Last thing I want is to pitch up in someone’s back garden or worse a field for cows (shudders).
So I find info centre open at 6pm still, but the lady isn’t massively helpful. I wander out feeling despondent and try to call a hostel but they person speaks Catalan and obviously I don’t understand which is entirely my fault I know but it doesn’t make an easy exchange so I kind give up.
Wandering back through town I spot a place open, walk through the doors and am greeted by smiles.
Three ladies stand chatting (plus 2 dogs) one of the ladies is owner of the place but the two girls are guests. I ask for a room, not available, they then go into debates about where is best and phone the person I just spoke too. It’s a bit tricky as price is higher than I can afford for this trip (€40)…
The girls mention another campsite or maybe it was me. They then proceed to phone to check it’s open enquire about price (€22) still pricey but we’re in a national park so normal from what they say.
The two girls are on holiday from Barcelona both work in a hospital, Hazel and Lorena (sorry if I got that wrong) plus their two dogs Maggie and yep I’ve forgotten.
They then take me the 3km out of town to this campsite. Slightly out of what I am doing but their kindness is part of why I’m doing this too, i know there are good people out there just not always enough said about the simple gestures.
After a chat about what I’m doing we say our goodbyes.
I sign in, then go about putting up tent half under a shelter by picnic bench in the pouring rain (the shelter is good for my stuff not the tent.
The wifi is free and I make full use of it. Connections are important at this time of year. I want people to know I’m safe.
The rain falls heavily but the tiredness hits and I get a fairly good night’s sleep.
Day 5 – 20th December.
Planning how to pack up in the morning I decide to simply put everything in the toilets. I’m the only person mad enough to be camping. Therefore I’m in there bathroom for an hour trying to dry kit whilst using electricity.
Stuffed packed, the rain is light but that annoying get everywhere light.
Waterproofs on I’m off.
Aim is Les Preses.
I need batteries for the Spot tracker as it’s not happy. Though I’ve already changed batteries once so I hope this doesn’t happen again soon. Should last 7 days with good GPS signal.
The route takes me through the centre of the Zone volcanica Garrotxa national park. Easy going at first then a slippery mud fest followed by wide track then finally small Road into Les Preses.
Scenery is stunning, I pass the first walkers I’ve seen in 5 days.
The woodlands that house the craters are shrouded at their peaks in a fine mist giving an ethereal look, it feels peaceful here.
I march happily along. Today is short only 3hrs 30 and 8 miles no real notable hills just the muddy section.
Getting into Les Preses you are first greeted by an industrial estate. Don’t let this fool you, the actual town is nice, typically farming area and it’s surrounding landscape is beautiful.
Camping Natural, I’m greeted by a workman called Carlos who says pop your tent up and use the social room the owner will be here in about 1 hour (it was 2pm). So I do just that, warming myself up in the social room.
Once the owner Pere arrives, his English is perfect and we chat amiably about travels etc.
He is super kind, trying to find maps for me, telling me where everything is and says I can dry stuff in social room. Before he leaves for the day he gives me his number saying he’ll be back at 9am. He says in the meantime the owners son will be arriving to stay so I’ll probably see him around.
Shopping done at small but effective shop.
I go about planning what to do next…. I’m still planning. But getting there.
The owners son and his Girlfriend turn up, she’s from Germany and called Deike and his name is Jordà.
We chat a bit, mostly about what I’m doing but travels etc and there stay here for Christmas.
They then say they’ve a portable fire if I need it, maybe to stay in the social room as it’s raining more again. So I do just that, I de-camp to the social room.
We say good night and I thank them for their kindness.
My stuff is drying nicely…Finally managed to wash my clothes after 5 days of wearing same thing. It’s luxury.
And here I am cosy, enclosed in a room with heat, free WiFi and food. Tonight I had my first hot meal in five days too.
The kindness over last two days has made me a happy Gabby.