Oct 21, 2016
Today our group, again led by Pablo, ran about 25k (15.5 miles) from just outside of Girona into a town called Peratallada which means “carved stone”. We saw remnants of a castle, many old stone walls, a moat, and a church, along with some highly ranked contemporary restaurants which suprised me! Not that the food in Spain isn’t impressive, you know I love it; but there were multiple receivers of the Michelin Star award (hallmark of fine dining and restaurant quality) right in this small town as well as some surrounding areas. Apparently Catalonia and the Costa Brava area are quite renowned for their food expertise.
It is important to note that we drove to start our run today (just 15 minutes outside of Girona), but all other days we run right from where we awaken to our next destination. It’s a point of pride and specialty of Running Costa Brava that the majority (almost 100%) of trip participant travel is done by foot. Pablo continues to remind us, with all seriousness and respect, that it’s the way our ancestors traveled and it pays homage to the history of mankind (all cultures) to rely on one’s own locomotion to get places. I like this sentiment.
Today the terrain was less rocky and steep and therefore more run-able the entire time. We still stopped for some breaks, photos, and halfway through we stopped for a while at a lovely stone bar/cafe where some of us had Cafe con leche and some had “una canya (spelled phoenetically)” which is a small glass of beer. This way of running is so different to me; when I run I do not stop for coffee, food, beer, or visits. I enjoy chatting with others while running, I like to pause and take photos but my history of running has typically been training for competition or for fairly rigorous exercise. Though I’ve been becoming more flexible with my need for training and competing, I haven’t gone so far as to stop for 45 minutes halfway through a run, sit down to talk and drink coffee. So I have to say this is different for me, and could be frustrating except that it’s super-fun! It’s a wonderful way to see more of this country that I love, meet new people, and still get some exercise (so I can turn around and drink more coffees and eat more pastries, of course!) And our guide Pablo is extremely interesting with all his knowledge of the area as well as his great, easy-going attitude that it’s quite contagious to just go with the flow. This is so good for me!
When we made it to Peratallada, we were led to our hotel which was lovely and welcoming. It had an inviting outdoor seating area which Sally and Chad and I utilized post-shower for well over an hour as we had some great conversation while eating through all the delicious snacks we had purchased yesterday while shopping in Girona.
Then we walked around the town for a bit to explore, but not a lot was open. It is definitely becoming off-season for this area, and unlike the small towns that line the Camino, there isn’t a regular stream (even if it’s petering off) of pilgrims walking through needing food and lodging. By evening it was very quiet in the streets.
Our group of six met at 8pm for our planned dinner at the well-rated restaurant located right within our hotel. It was delicious, and I enjoyed the engaging conversation between us 3 Americans and the 3 Brits on topics ranging from free 5ks in the UK called Park Runs, to legalized marijuana, to America politics, to the practice and culture of tipping servers in America, Great Britain, and beyond. The three gentleman who are on this trip are really interesting, well-educated, nice people and it’s been fun for us all to get to know one another and learn more about their country and perspectives just through running and dining together.
Tomorrow it is supposed to rain most of the day. The Brits told me running in the rain is so normal for them; their skin is basically waterproof – haha! I, for one, packed my good running rain jacket and plan to fare better than last year’s uber-rainy day that I experienced on the Camino when my poncho ripped to shreds and I walked soaking wet for 5 hours!