Thursday, 8 December 2016

Thursday 8 December – Olot, Sant Joan les Fonts, Castellfollit de la Roca and Girona

Where’s Colin? He’s in the Municipal Aire at Quart, to the S of Girona. That’s not exactly where he (or we) expected to be tonight.

Today's first stop was back in Olot, parking just as the Via Verde (ex railway line, now a leisure route between St Feliu les Guixols and Olot) leaves the town. From there we took a jogette, and a fine one it was, as we ran along the valley with hills all around us and a glorious sky above. It was a bit nippy, mind, after a hard frost overnight.

By the time we were finished and second-breakfasted, the parking area was filling up with people taking advantage of today being the second public holiday of the week - a fact which has tricked my mind into thinking that every day is Sunday.

Our next stop – Sant Joan les Fonts - was much quieter (clearly no popular walking/cycling routes around there!). I knew nothing about the place when we arrived, choosing to stop there only because it was en-route, and the main points of interest we found were the medieval bridge and the church (monastery?). I tried from many places to get a representative photo of the latter. This is the best of a bad bunch:

A snap that doesn’t even start to do justice to what a fine building this was

The stop wasn’t a long one and soon we were heading off for Castellfollit de la Roca, a place which had been recommended to us by the chap manning reception at the campsite. Thanks to the power of t’internet, it’s rare that we find ourselves going somewhere without any prior knowledge of where we can park, but it seemed at first glance that the scant information I had for this place was duff, as the car park we found looked like it was reserved for customers of the nearby bar. In the end it took us three passes through the town before we found somewhere suitable to leave Colin (by which time Mick was thinking about having a sense of humour failure and I was feeling like I was getting to know the locals so well that I should wave at them as we passed).

The little that I had read about Castellfollit mentioned that the old town is positioned on the edge of basalt cliffs, but initially we couldn’t see that feature. It turned out the reason for our failure to see was the blinding sun being right in our eyes when we looked in the right direction. After a spot of lunch followed by a circuit of Walking Route #13, the sun had moved sufficiently that I could manage a snap in which you can at least make out the cliffs and the town, even if not the detail:

Before we got to that point we had walked up to and through the town (which really does perch precariously on the edge of that 50m cliff), and had admired the views from the viewpoint to the left of the church (as you look at it in the above snap):

On our way back down to the valley we also stopped so that I could oooh and aaaah at some cute kittens: 

I didn’t notice the sign at the time, which says ‘feral cat feeding point’

The verdict on Castellfollit was that it was a good recommendation, and after our hour or so there (the walking route was only about a mile and a half), onwards we went to Girona, where we were a week and a half ago. It was a town we rather liked, and as it was nearby, has a running route we both liked, and had somewhere we knew we could stay, it made its way into our itinerary for the second time this trip.

We thought that arriving at gone 4pm on a public holiday there would be space in the huge car park, but we were wrong. Instead, we stationed ourselves in a supermarket/cinema car park a short distance away, with the intention of moving later in the evening. However, as darkness started to fall, our car park started filling up too, which: a) made me feel bad that we were taking up four spaces (bad design of car park for larger vehicles; four other motorhomes were doing the same); and b) made me think it was going to be noisy into the night, with people coming and going. We have no idea what was making Girona so popular today (I can find no trace of a town event on the internet) – perhaps it’s just a popular Christmas shopping day? – but it most definitely was busy and getting busier.

Voicing a thought that, maybe, when we couldn’t park in the place we wanted, we should have gone to the official Aire at Quart, just 8km down the road, was followed by swift movement. A minute and a half later, as the evening went from dusk to dark, we hit the road. We got the last motorhome space here, although there would have been two others available if some ignoramus in an oversized vehicle hadn’t parked right across three slots.

Knowing that the car park in Girona starts to fill up at 7am, we will be on our way early tomorrow morning, to make sure we get a space.

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