Thursday 5th May Montserrat to Navarcles

Good job I had the extra day in Monserrat as I was able to spend most of yesterday afternoon rejigging the route around the available accommodation. Basically I'm having to walk 6 days in 5 with two big days, today and tomorrow, to fit around what's available. Today was 38 kilometres with 700 metres of climb and I think tomorrow might be even longer. Worse thing is my feet have become painful again, I think it's walking without sticks.

I'm now on the GR4 all the way to the border although for some of today I was also on the GR3. I think the GR3 is a St James Way variant going from Figueres, via Montserrat to Santiago, another pilgrims way. If I don't get lost I've got about another 150 kilometres of walking to do in Spain.

Today's walk was good, a nice first couple of hours walking around the Montserrat mountain, and really unpleasant bit in the middle when you crossed the busy valley at Sant Vicent de Castellet, and then a better afternoon as the route takes you on a huge detour to get inside the Parc Natural de Sant Lorenc (etc etc - the name of the park is a long as the detour). Actually I've been in two Natural Parks today because Montserrat is one as well.

The highlight of the first bit was the mist burning off from around the mountain, some wonderful views. I've also got a real soft spot for fields of barley which have just come out in ear and there was an abundance of those this morning.

Looking back to the Montserrat Mountains

Fields of Barley

The middle bit wasn't nice, this is a really busy part of Spain, and every time you come down from the mountains your walking through a housing or industrial estate. Today it was mainly industrial. The signs were pretty good, you can see the GR sign on the lamppost below, although it seems like someone with a giant tin of pink paint has been trying cover up as many as possible.

The joys of long distance walking

I wouldn't say that the Natural Park was the most spectacular I've seen but maybe its designation has something to do with its proximity to Barcelona. There were information boards everywhere describing everything and today a huge party of school children were making the best of it. That's a 13th century church below, another one without any windows.

Approach to Navarcles

Abandoned church

The last bit of the walk, into Navarcles was along a long gorge with a river running along the bottom, very pleasant. Four Spanish walkers, male about my age, or slightly older, carrying big bags, were coming the other way and were all wearing those Lycra leggings. Makes you think.

Staying in the Hostal Montane in Navarcles. Must admit I really like these sort of places and seemed to stay in lots of them in Andalucia. It doesn't have a website and barely registers when you do an Internet search. Because it's so hard to find you tend to think it must be a dump. It is however absolutely fine, has a bar where they do food, and a restaurant, and is, like all Spanish places, spotless. It's also very cheap, which is good because I've been struggling to keep in budget recently.


  1. The Spanish like their Lycra - don't be afraid.
    You seem to be having good weather,so you'll enjoy passing through the Pyrenees.
    Your feet will be sore with the distances you are doing, just enjoy sleeping rough if need be. Food always appears when you need it!
    Bon voyage en France.

  2. If food appears when you need it, your needs must adjust when crossing the border. The French eat two hours earlier than the Spanish (breakfast excepted). Sorry for your feet - try a cream called Gehwohl. Menno