Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 22 - Requesens to Port de la Selva

54km, 1350 metres of ascent
After the fantastic long day yesterday, I set out this morning feeling absolutely done in, with rock bottom energy levels and struggling for motivation.

I got virtually no sleep last night with the violent gusting winds, and the wind has still not abated, so Requesens is feeling a dour cheerless place.

I decide I need to strip off some clothes to myself going, and the second I stop two young German guys storm on past. This is just the jolt to the system I needed, since I hadn't seen any hikers for about 3 days.

I quickly catch them up, and we switch places a few times, but it is far too windy to be able to speak, however a bit later down the trail we re-convene and enjoy chatting as far as Sant Quirze de Colera, which makes the miles fly by.

The Germans take a siesta at Sant Quirze de Colera, and I visit the bar for a drink and to discretely eat the rest of my food. It is just after 1pm when I start hiking down the road towards Vilamaniscle in the full scorching mid-day sun. I am feeling quite frazzling, and the fatigue suddenly swamps me now that I'm back on my own.

I am struggling to walk in a straight line down the road, and the screaming wind means I can't hear if any cars are coming, so it doesn't feel entirely safe. I stagger onwards until I finally concede defeat and slump under a tree to rest my eyes and brain. I only doze for a few minutes, but suddenly feel completely awake again just from allowing my system to shut down.

Vilamaniscle comes and goes. I am passing vineyards now and entering a new arid type of landscape. It reminds me of California. I stop at Sant Silvestre briefly, but I have run out of water and need to get to Llançà for a drink. I pass through the Coll de les Portes 230m, and the Mediterranean Sea is spread out before me. It feels hard to believe that I have just walked across Spain.

Arriving in Llançà I feel frazzled from the scorching heat and scouring wind, and dive into a blissful air-conditioned supermarket buying one of every type soft drink. Kilian Jornet conveniently called it a day at Llançà on his recent trans-Pyrenees jaunt, however the GR11 carries on for another 27km, with almost another 1,000 metres of ascent, if you want to finish at Cap de Creus.

I tried to enjoy the 500m climb after Llançà to reach Sant Pere de Rodes. Suddenly I was surrounded by cars and regular tourists. Back into civilisation.

The descent from Sant Pere de Rodes monastery to Port de la Selva slices through all the hairpins and drops you right at the seafront, and 22 days after leaving the Atlantic, I had reached the Mediterranean.

I still needed to hike a good couple of kilometres along the coast away from Port de la Selva to find the Port de la Vall Camping, but at last I could stop and relax.

View GR11 - Day 22 in a larger map

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