The third day on the trail took me from San Feliu de Guixols to Palamos, mostly along the coast on easy paths – 18 km, with just 350 m in uphill climbs – which was not a bad thing after the first two intense days. There were some horrifically ugly resort towns today but, at the same time, some fantastic walking along coastal paths beneath the walls of beautiful villas overlooking the sea and the rocky coast.
For the first time, the sky was overcast and it wouldn’t be long before the rain kicked in, but it was never very heavy until I got to Palamos where it was bucketing down. The trail out of San Feliu first led to the beautiful Cala Jonca and then followed the clifftop before reaching the bay of Sant Pol with its long beach lined by a few spectacular villas. It was a very peaceful spot at this time of year but I imagine it must be packed in summer.
At the end of the Sant Pol beach, the trail joined the Camino de Ronda de S’Agaró, a very wide and pleasant track built in the 1920s and 30s to provide access to villas along the coast and luxury hotels. There were some very spectacular residences in this area. I also met a couple of German lady hikers who pointed out an octopus moving around in the sea among the rocks below the path – the first time I had ever seen one in its natural habitat.
This path ran for about two kilometres, with flights of steps leading down to the sea now and then to bathing spots. It ended at the Sa Conca beach where I discovered another of the “joys” of following a coastal path – trudging across a sand beach with a heavy pack! Thank God for hiking poles as they proved to be a great help on such terrain.
After that, it was back to the modern world of soulless coastal resorts with the hideous development known as Platja d’Aro. A line of huge, ugly tower blocks facing the sea along the beachfront promenade, over 95% of them deserted in the low season, unappealing restaurants with menus in English and Russian, and absolutely nothing to offset the ugliness of the place. The rain got a little heavier on this section, adding to the appeal. I stopped briefly to cover the pack, but spent as little time there as possible. Especially as the following section, closely following the coast again, looked as if it would be particularly beautiful.
And indeed it was – one small bay after another with unspoiled beaches that could only be reached on foot. The Cap Roig beach with its tiny promontory topped by pine trees reminded me of Monterey in California.
Despite the cloudy weather and drizzle, this was my favourite section of the trail so far. I loved the way the path hugged the coast, rounding headlands and crossing beaches. A real delight.
However, this charming section came to an end with the 4 km walk along the promenade leading to the centre of Palamos. Not as ugly as Platja d’Aro, but pretty charmless all the same. The rain got heavier and heavier and by the time I reached the centre of the town, I was more or less soaked. It took me a while to find the hotel that was a short way out of the centre. An odd place, a throwback to the 1960s, but comfortable all the same and with plenty of space in the room to hang up my clothes to dry.
Luckily, when it was time to go for dinner, the rain had eased off. I first went to a bar for a vermut before finding a terrific pizza place run by real Italians a short way back along the promenade. A very good day, despite the soaking.