Saturday, 26 November 2016

Saturday 26 November – Quart (Girona)

Where’s Colin? He’s in the Municipal Aire in Quart, which sits just to the SE of Girona.

For the last two days we’ve been only about 15km north of the border with Spain and with our continued trajectory southwards, today we crossed that border. We did so at Le Perthus, a busy shopping street which sits atop a pass in the Pyrenees. It’s a place we would have walked through in July, at the end of our trans-Pyrenean walk, if my poorliness of the tummy hadn’t caused us to reroute down the Tech valley. On that reroute we walked along a cycleway that runs just off to the side of the D914. Today we drove the D914 in the other direction. That was a bit odd, as we had no notion when we walked on through a lashing thunder storm there, just 3.5 months ago, that we would be back again so soon.

In spite of huge almost-empty car parks being at our disposal, we didn’t stop to sample the retail ‘delights’ of Le Perthus, but instead drove on through the abandoned border checkpoint and for a short while there was no indication that we were in a different country as all the cars were still French. That didn’t last for too long, and soon we were remembering the quirks of Spain – like mandatory speed limits which take you down to 50, 30 or sometimes even 10kph just because there’s a bit of a bend in the road.

Had I paid any attention to the Spanish guide book before I chose today’s destination, then we probably would have stopped in a couple of places further north of here. They may still get a look-in, if we decide to return to the UK via the east side of France, but in the meantime we are only going to backtrack the 7km to Girona tomorrow.

As for today’s destination, the main reasons why I chose it were: a) the places I had originally wanted to go are too high up in the Pyrenees to be warm enough for us to want to go there at this time of year; and b) there’s a via verde (ex-railway line) cycle route that runs through this town, which I thought would be a good place for a bit of a run.

At a glance, it didn’t seem like the town would have anything else to engage us, but actually, after I’d trotted along the railway line (being a bit alarmed by how my outward leg was downhill and fearing for the return, which turned out to be easier than I expected), we took a walk around and found that we seem to be in a rather well-to-do sort of a neighbourhood. Admiring big, nicely presented houses is always a good way to spend an afternoon stroll, I find.

Only one photo today and I’ve left it to the end as I feel a bit bad that the only photo I took today gives an unfair representation of the town. The reason I took it is that it captured in one photo two of the things of which we expect to see a lot in Spain (based on our wanderings in January and February this year): houses abandoned part way (in this case a long way) through being built, and extensive graffiti:

(As an aside, we've suffered two mini floods in Colin this week, neither causing any real problem beyond a bit of mopping and wet carpets. The one was of a nature we've experienced a couple of times before and we suspect it's related to using the shower when Colin is sitting on a certain type of slope. I have a solution and will implement it when we are next home. The other mini flood was contained within the wet room and had us stumped. There was no way we could see that it could be coming from outside and neither could we see how it had resulted from using the shower. Usually when the carpet in there gets wet it's because one of our drinking water bottles has leaked, but that wasn't the case this time. Today the mystery was solved. For the first four and a half years of ownership of Colin we didn't use the bathroom sink (a fold down job) because there’s a much more functional sink a step away in the kitchen. In June I did use it a couple times, but only with tiny amounts of water. This week I used it with a lot of water. Today I discovered that when Colin was manufactured 8 years ago he was left with some hardboard shavings that fell down into that sink's plughole. Over time, undoubtedly before we even bought him, that partial blockage was augmented by soap deposits until the whole plughole was blocked. The water I thought I'd poured away this week thus stayed in the back of the sink, sloshing its way out as we drove. The blockage is now removed, the carpet almost dry and we hope the mystery of the flooded wet room is solved).

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