Costa Brava – Day 2

Another day of perfect weather for the second stage in the trail, from Tossa de Mar to Sant Feliu de Guixols – 21 km with a total of about 800 metres uphill (because I took the wrong turn at one point).

After a terrific breakfast at the hotel (breakfasts in general would be excellent until I hit the French border), I set off around 9. All the way along the trail, it would be hard to make an early start because most places didn’t serve breakfast before 8. That could be a problem in hotter weather and I usually like to leave by 8 at the latest when hiking, but with the long days and fairly temperate weather, it didn’t really bother me.

The trail first led me through a weekly market (mostly clothes) before it headed uphill  into the woods behind Tossa. It was a long, steady climb on dusty tracks, following the Spanish GR 92 hiking trail. There were lots of beautiful and very old cork oaks all along the way.

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A trail signpost in perfect condition

The truly remarkable sight of the day was the ruined chapel of Mare de Déu de Gràcia, stuck in the middle of nowhere at a fork in the path. According to the guidebook, this ancient hermitage was destroyed by Napoleon’s troops at the start of the 19th century. All that remains now are a few walls covered with simple crosses left by passing hikers or pilgrims. A very moving spot.

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Mare de Déu de Gràcia

Unfortunately, I hadn’t noticed the line in the guidebook about making sure to take the right track after the chapel and I ended up staying on the GR 92 by mistake. I realized this after about an hour, heading higher and higher when I was supposed to stay on the level. Because of this, I never got to see another sanctuary destroyed by Napoleon’s troops and rebuilt since, but I did have a fantastic view back over Tossa from around 500 m.

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Tossa from 500 m

After an hour’s nap in the shade of a tree – one of my favourite things to do on a hike – I continued to follow the GR 92 through the woods until hooking back up with the Travesia path just after the Sant Baldri chapel. Shortly after, I took another wrong turn (the trail markings were not always clear) and continued on the GR 92 which brought me into San Feliu de Guixols via an inland path rather than the coastal one that I should have been on. This was no great loss as the GR 92 followed a green and fertile valley full of allotments and small farms that was very pleasant indeed.

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Allotments and small farms just before San Feliu

San Feliu de Guixols turned out to be quite a pleasant little town with a few interesting old buildings, a quiet pedestrian centre (off season, there were very few people around), a comfortable hotel (the Can Segura) and a wonderful restaurant where a Franco-Algerian chef made terrific food (La Vermuteria) in a very funky setting. Dinner cost a lot more than the previous evening, but it was definitely worth it (and I deserved it after the day’s efforts!)

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