THE GR7 BACKWARDS! CATALUNYA Tercera part.

Cabra del Camp – Vilalaverd                                                                                                 March 20th

Was up early and made breakfast before leaving the casa which had been home from home. Rather cloudy morning and cool to start, was glad of that extra thin fleece I’d packed. I must say the GR  signing in Catalunya has been good and even getting out of the villages in a morning has been easier than usual. Walking towards the hills I had to pass under the motorway via a tunnel with excellent graffiti.

Motorway tunnel

Motorway tunnel.

From here my ‘up to date’ guide and map said turn left but the GR7 way marks said right so that’s the way I went. I learn quickly to follow the signs despite my ‘up to date guide’.

Early mist on the Serra de Jordn

\view back to Cabra and the wind turbines.

\view back to Cabra and the wind turbines.

Soon I was on an obvious track going round the north of the Serra Carbonaria. Views started to open up across the wine country of Barbera de la Camp and up to Montblanc [ my hotel for tonight]

Montblanc in the distance.

Montblanc in the distance.

The forest track climbed and then traversed above the village of Prenafeta, now below some impressive looking limestone cliffs. I think this area gets a higher than average rainfall ….

….the track continued to traverse around the hill side and then dropped abruptly into the village of Lilla. There was nothing open here so I stopped for a snack below the village.

Lilla

Lilla

Setting off again the signs don’t match with the map – so I follow them religiously on an unlikely path through  a quarry and on down the ‘wrong’ side of the valley. This proves to be the right way and soon approaches the reason for the change of route – the new high speed train route goes across the hillside. The high speed routes are fenced off completely so you have to find a permitted way across or below them.

As I continued down into the valley I knew there was a train at about 02.50 from La Riba to Montblanc, it was obvious I wasn’t going to make it. I approached another town, Vilaverd, and I banked on there being a station there.

Approach to Vilaverd

Approach to Vilaverd

Luckily there was and the train [not the high speed version] arrived within 5 minutes.

I was soon wandering into the maze of the old town of Montblanc to find my hotel.

Hotel Fonda Cal Blasi

Hotel Fonda Cal Blasi

What a great place it turned out to be. Friendly hosts, comfy room with orthopaedic adjustable mattresses  and great food. After a rest had a wander around the walled town, quite impressive with all the main gates into the town well preserved.

Walls of Montblanc

Walls of Montblanc

It is said that in front of the tower of Sant Jordi that St. George killed the dragon! There were good views over the town from the ruined castle on top of the town.

\view south over Montblanc.

\view south over Montblanc.

Back at the hotel a good evening’s Catalan meal was taken along with conversation with a delightful Canadian couple exploring the hills in the area.

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