Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 20 - Can Planas to Albanyà

39km, 1380 metres of ascent
By 6am I was shattered from the electric storm lasting all night. Needless to say, the Can Planas woman didn't bring me a cup of tea, so I packed up the soaking tent in now drizzly rain, and plodded on down the muddy slippery trail to Beget.

It was 9am when I reached the ancient little village of Beget and of course there was nothing open and no shop. I went to the Hostal El Forn but there were no signs of life. Then to my astonishment the Can Jeroni actually appeared to be opening for business. I felt a bit ridiculous going into the restaurant in my stinking wet clothes, but the staff were very friendly and helpful, and brought me this morning's newspaper showing the strange outcome of yesterday's Tour de France stage on the Col du Tourmalet where Contador put his arm around Schleck as they crossed the line, like it was all planned.

The café con leche at Can Jeroni was good quality but nowhere near enough, so I went back to Hostal El Forn which had now woken up and grabbed another coffee. As I checked out the local newspaper, I saw a familiar site on the front page. It was the view down onto Núria where I had started yesterday, but the photo showed Kilian Jornet romping to victory in the Olla de Núria race that happened 3 days before I arrived.

Anyhow, I didn't need reminding of superstars who can run across the Pyrenees in 9 days. I needed to get moving in the direction of Albanyà.

Today's hike was a strange contrast to all the previous days. The weather and my lack of sleep probably didn't help much, but the walking was just unrelentingly dull and depressing. A muddy slippery track surrounded by dripping trees, creating a general feeling of claustrophobia and disorientation.

The only cheerful thing that happened all day was that the sun came out briefly as I walked past a field of sunflowers at Can Ferrers. Luckily just before Albanyà, there is a fantastic fully-equipped campsite called Bassegoda Park that even had an open supermarket, so I spent a quiet night here.

View GR11 - Day 20 in a larger map

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