Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Cambrils - Sant Llorenç de Morunys

GR1 Sendero Historico day 40.
Distance: 26.8km (1173.0km), time spent: 8:42.
Waymarking: For the most part good, disappeared before Castell d’Oden.
Weather: Nice at first, then more overcast.


I wake up to the fortieth day on the hike. Think about that! The chilly, but beautiful morning at Puerto de Tarna only a distant memory, days between filled with an endless line of experiences. Both good and bad. Day forty also means that I am getting nearer to the end, which feels a little bit weird.

The small hamlet of Racó, the baroque chapel to the right.

Out from Cambrils, I choose to follow John Hayes’ advice. The original route is supposed to go on a nasty path next to the car road leaving the hamlet. The road should be better, but given how less interesting it is to walk on a road, I wonder about how bad it is on the trail itself. Fortunately, it is a little trafficked road, but I have to follow it for the next 6 kilometres. The view was more exciting in the direction here, than from here.

View from the road, Castell d’Oden is situated on the top of the hill in the middle.

Through the trees on the sides of the road can I see the waymarks of the GR1, but that path does not look that bad. The road passes by above a small hamlet, Racó, with a small baroque chapel. It is first when I go through a tunnel that I get an indication why it would be better to go on the road, to avoid the tunnel and the road, the GR1 descends steeply down a hillside that looks sort of treacherous. The ascent is supposed to be just as bad, but confirm it I cannot, then I had to follow the original route instead.

Ermita de Santa Cecilia with Castell d'Oden above.

Finally I can leave the road and set my feet on the GR1 again, but it is a shortly lived joy. From Oden, the route climbs up in the direction of Castell d’Oden (but not all the way up), by a small farm on the way, the route disappears completely in the scrub. A hint that it probably was ok to take to the road, but now I become frustrated by having to fumble directionless around in the thicket to locate the path. I decide to walk the straightest way up to the ruins, for then trying to relocate the trail afterwards. The route then reappears, out of nowhere.

Castell d'Oden, the guardians at the old castle are now only trees and vegetation.

Castle d’Oden is lying with empty contents inside the remains of its walls on the top of a hill, some very few details of the adornments has survived. In a straight line from the castle, I see the viewpoint I stood on top of yesterday, Mirador de Serra Seca, behind there again, Montsec de Rùbies. That ridge has now followed me in the horizon a long time. It is an improvement of the view today. Below the ruins, lies Ermita de Santa Cecilia.

View from Castell d'Oden, Montsec de Rùbies still in the background.

I am not able to keep the same pace and energy level today as I did yesterday, a simple picture of the difference between waymarking and quality of the surface you walk on, not to forget the 40km from yesterday (or the 1150km in total that I have walked). After the ruins of the castle, the GR1 falls down into a gorge, steep down and up again. The trail later emerges up above several large and mysterious cages, which looks like the huge birdcages from one of the Jurassic Park movies. The cages belongs to Zoo del Pirineu. I hope that the aviaries does not contain any pterodactylus. Instead of flying reptiles, I encounter two large dogs that meets me with fierce gazes. They seem at first threatening, but suddenly changes to behave like we are best of friends. Taking place ahead of me on the route, as if to show me where the way goes, all the time stopping and looking back to check that I go the correct path.

The huge aviaries of Zoo del Pirineu.

Fierce has also the sky started to be, scowling in over the landscape, grey and dark clouds are floating in. Gustier, more wind. Clouds lands and takes off again, temporarily covering up the landscape and the cliffs above me. In the walls of the cliffs there are small holes and openings visible, caves used by the Moors (Coves del Moros). Out of the small hamlet Canalda, I meet again the cyclist from Cambrils, on his way down to look at the chapel in the hamlet.

Dark clouds over the cliffs that houses the Coves del Moros, old caves in the cliffs that the Moors hid in.

If it is only the fatigue that comes into play again, I do not know, but I have not been that thrilled about today’s walk. It has been nice, but it has somewhat just got to that level and stayed there today. When the route leaves Canalda, after first having find the correct way, the most pleasant part of the day begins. First through a small and charming woods, then in a u-turn beneath some cliffs with water running down its sides. In the rainy season, this would have been an even cooler walk, then I would probably have walked inside a small wall of water. Inner most there is a small water source, Font de les Esplugues. Further inside lies Salt del Torrent de la Perdiu, here has the water from a cascade cut itself into the cliffs, but now almost no water runs down the waterfall. In the spring, this would be a great sight. The route continues below the cliff walls, past several caves.

Here the trail goes in a turn underneath the cliffs, when there is more water it will be several cool cascades running down the cliffs.

From Coll de Jou (1470m), the name sounds Pyrenean like, the route goes steeply down on a cumbersome and broad path caused by many rolling stones. I could see Sant Llorenç de Morunys a long way down from the top of the hill, there are about 650 height meters down. In Sant Llorenç de Morunys, I have got a room at Casa Joan, but before I find that, I go for a small beer in a bar in the old town. The hosts at Casa Joan speaks a Spanish dialect that I cannot figure anything out of, nor does any of the Spanish words I know help, but we do manage to find things out in the end.

Salt del Torrent de la Perdiu.

Some places just appear in such a way that they provide a relaxed atmosphere, Sant Llorenç de Morunys is exactly that kind of place. In the middle of the small town lies the old town inside its intact walls that originates from the middle ages. In the afternoon and evening, I sit and relax on the terrace of a local bar. I sit in my t-shirt and thinks it is a nice temperature, but the Spaniards seems to feel it is kind of cold, they sit tightly wrapped inside thick jackets. I eat a good pizza for dinner at a small local pizza place, with an interesting wall painting as backdrop.

It has been a nice day, but not of the most exciting kind, where I believe the highlight of the day actually was the stay here in Sant Llorenç de Morunys.

Sant Llorenç de Morunys.

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