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Thursday, 7 July 2016

Getting harder near the end.

It was an early 6 am start in order to get some serious miles in before the heat of the sun. Starting in La Panadella this was a long and at times quite boring walk along the side of the N11. It struck me,that all the traffic is now thundering down motorways, in this case the A2, and the wide national roads are relatively empty of traffic except, that is, for cyclists who now have these excellent roads almost to themselves. My walk was mostly downhill and the miles fairly flew by as I first approached  the village of Santa Magadalina del Cami where I was fortunate to find a small cafe and had the pleasure of enjoying a coffee, sitting outside, and watching the village awaken. The next town to pass through would be Jorba, about 8K away so you can imagine my surprise when after an hour of walking I came upon the service station, Jorba, and couldn't believe that that I had travelled so quickly. The answer came about 3K later as I walked into the delightful and picturesque village of Jorba. Service stations are traditionally some distance from where they are called after, silly me. The sun was up so it was time for a cold drink before leaving Jorba and making the final stretch that would lead me to the city of Igualada. Walking down a tree lined avenue that led towards the centre of this city, which according to the large welcoming sign, was the capital for Spanish leather work, I was yet again amazed at the beauty and indeed cosmopolitan atmosphere of a sizeable city that honestly I'd never heard of. Maybe that's just a sign of my ignorance and everyone who reads this already knew Igualada is the capital of the Spanish leather industry. Walking through Igualada further strengthened my belief that our thinking that we are advanced and everyone else isn't, is so wrong. A city that treasures its historic buildings whilst at the same time embracing modern concepts was evident to my eyes. All to soon I was leaving the outskirts of the city to follow the road leading to the famous monastery, sitting above the Spanish landscape, on top of the holy mountain of Montserrat. The advice is that you should use the road, " for pilgrims it is not at all advisable to take the mountain trails". I therefore walked along the N11 until St. Paul de la Guardia where I branched off on the road to Monserrat that stated the distance as being 12K. Three hours of uphill walking and I would be there at around 5pm.  It was definitely uphill, in very high temperatures, on a corkscrewing road, with no space allocated for walkers and large coaches and cars swinging around the bends to and from Montserrat. The scenery was stunning but fear of being hit by a coach or car, concentrating on the climb and enduring the heat, meant that appreciating the beauty of the surroundings was well down my priority list. Imagine my anger and frustration when, after two hours of hard graft, I encounter a sign informing me that Montserrat was now 3 hours and 15 minutes walking time away. What could I do but keep walking. Forty minutes later and on rounding a bend, there it was, the magnificence that is Montserrat, my final destination. These signs need sorted. Honestly, I was to tired and hot to spend time at the monastery and went down to the beautiful little village, Monistrol de Montserrat, where I am staying at Hotel Restaurant Guillaimes. This evening, fully recovered after a shower and dry clothes, I enjoyed an exceptional meal created by Joan and Jordi, in the company of Michael from Belgium and Peter from Germany. Tomorrow I will explore Montserrat followed by Manresa and then the adventure will be over.

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