When plans change.

Today I was due to fly back to Barcelona to start, again, the North to South run, amble, trip thing.

Plans change, life happens, and I’ve found other things to hold my focus whilst still keeping in sight my original plan.

Since returning after a short stint running along the GR2 (La Jonquera to Aiguafreda) and part of GR5 (Aiguafreda to Montserrat) I’ve had to think long and hard about what to do, what is the right thing.

Given that I gave everything up to do this trip I came back into uncertainty, it has not been pretty, it’s been rough.

I’ve had days where I’ve felt completely lost and have hidden myself away in my own self pity.

Spending time trying to get yourself on your feet is not an easy task when the reason you are in the situation is mostly down to your own choices. Looking at yourself and owning the mistakes you made is like looking in the mirror after a really heavy night of debauchery.

Scary!

Don’t get me wrong, Spain wasn’t a bad choice, but how I went about it was far from perfect, I hurt someone close to me. I don’t believe in regrets, I chose to go, I picked my path and I live with that.

Obvisouly I couldn’t have forseen the tooth saga, seriously the last thing I thought during a run of 1100miles across mountains and plains of Spain is teeth being the reason I didn’t finish.

Lots of work to be done to pay for new teeth…..whatever work comes my way I am taking it (within reason of course).

Going back to basics again, starting afresh. Moving out, new job, new friends. Building myself back up, figuring things out along the way.

Still the fact there’s an empty seat with my name on a flight today makes me a little bit sad.

Stuff happens. Onwards.

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The kindness continues.

Day 6, 22nd December.

Leaving the campsite Natura I decided hiking up from Les Preses to take a cycle path for around 5km.

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I was full of pastry and general happiness at the last night as had met such lovely people. Sleeping in a ‘social room’ rather than outside in the pouring rain plus have a heater to dry stuff made the world of difference.

The cycle track finished at Sant Estee d’en Bas and the I wandered towards Hostelets D’en Bas before starting to do the climb up towards Falgars den Bas.

1 mile up and 1500ft (500metres) and I was at the top of the limestone cliff at Falgars d’en Bas.

Someone slightly mad had made that route up. Ridiculously steep especially with my pack.

The day was chilly but beautiful, though rain was on the horizon so I hurried (as much as I could with my pack to Pruit.

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The area at the top of the cliffs is open pasture, a rolling countryside plateu that just seems like another world.

The signs aren’t so great and I soon end up a bit lost, I spy a road of sorts and head towards it, realising that I’m actually far from where I should be.

My mood darkens as the clouds come over. Timely. Though there’s a rainbow on the horizon, always hopeful.

I find a fountain (font) fill up and trudge on, wondering what to do as my plan had been to get to Rupit that day.

The land around as I said is pasture mostly, cows and sheep take up the vast space.

I start to get forlorn, thinking I need to find somewhere to sleep. The rain has stopped after an hour but darkness is coming.

At 5pm I opt for climbing a fence and descending just off the road to camp around some bushes.

I don’t feel safe but it’s the best I can do.

The night goes fine despite my heavy mood.

I  not bothered by anything or anyone.

Day 7, 23 December somewhere near Rupit to Vilanova del Sau (aka friendliest village ever)

Waking up to a clear yet chilly morning I make sure I’m in my way just after sunrise at 8:30am to Rupit, which I know now is 2miles away.

Getting there a bakery is open, I’m relieved and my mood perks up, amazing what food can do.

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Into the village centre I go in search of wifi as I need to know if the next place has shops open for more food.

I find a cafe that’s open, and am welcomed by the Owners Laura and John. They make a space at the table next to the fire then go about asking what I’m doing which is tricky as my Spanish is bad and Catalan is worse.

They have WiFi so I use Google translate…. Technology is wonderful sometimes.

Laura, let’s me charge my phone and we try to communicate as best we can. I am thankful for their openess and I would love to stay longer by the fire but must go.

So I set off, a short uphill back to the cliffs and it’s not long before I am greeted by the best views so far.

It’s amazing. I’m on a plateau, green pastures that rise and fall gently opposed by the abrupt and jagged edges of the cliffs to the other side. Mile after mile of cliffs, some rounded others sharp and jutting.

All steep yet teaming with life, birds swoop around me going about their day as they should.

If I were to stop here I’d be happy.

I continue, smiling, talking to myself, happy with the day and the general feeling I have.

Passing just 2 hikers I make my way to Tavertet.A small hamlet on this amazing plateau. Everything quiet and closed, I stop for a spot of lunch. Find another fountain, a regular thing so far in Catalonia are the fountains and the water is good.

I chat briefly with a man with his dog, or rather he chats to me about the route down as I nod and try to understand.

The way down is superb, fun single track that skirts the cliff edge, zig zagging through the oak woods passing boulders and overhanging rock.

About an hour after I’m at the reservoir Peunta de La Sau. It’s around 3 pm and the sun is low thus giving such an amazing colour to the cliffs that I am sure my grin is bigger than my face. It’s just lovely. There is no-one around.

The silence is so beautiful, it matches the surrounding area perfectly.

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I climb up again, after crossing the damn bridge up some steps and then take a route that leads to a road for a bit till I see the Gr2 again and follow a forest track that gently descends to a stream almost stopping at what looks like a kids camp site, make shift shelters next to the route, tempting but I continue which I’m glad I did aa two guys on motor cross bikes pass me not long after.

It’s 5:30pm now and the night is here, I spot somewhere but it’s so close to the next village I have my doubts. So I wander to the village.

Vilanova de La Sau.

A pretty village above the reservoir. A bakery is still open and I ask about places to stay. The lady (Eva) asks her daughter (Paula) to translate and says there’s nothing open but the local town hall may be able to let me stay in there.

So I see Juan the local major I guess and he let’s me use the room for the night. An hour later I’m part of a yoga class led by a French lady called Crystal, much needed after 6 days hiking.

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Crystal then gives me her takings from the class for charity.  I’m taken aback and almost so no. The kindness of people is strong here.

I meet a lady called Ainhoa who had Cancer at 37, 2 years ago.

The next day (Friday) she has opened her home to me, to shower and have breakfast. I am continually amazed by how lovely people are. How kind strangers can be.

It is touches my heart. ❤

#kindnessofstrangers #villanovadelsau #northtosouthspain #bestvillageever