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Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Where are your walking companions when you need them to vote stay?

Last night the three of us had our last meal, sitting outside in the central square, in Tarrega. Since Aisling has to finalise return to work arrangements, go to a wedding, and see family and friends before returning to Liverpool it had been prearranged that, with Mary, she would fly back on the 6th July. I felt quite emotional this morning at 6.30am as they left for their bus to Gerona airport. I was losing not just my family, but more importantly, my two walking companions. When the arrows disappear and there are several roads to choose from, when you have walked past a town instead of staying and the sun is up, it is at times like these that your true walking companions call you a "dick" or indeed worse, and you have to agree. It was a solo walker, in sombre mood, who tried to leave Tarrega and find the trail to Cervera. No arrows to be seen, no signs and any locals I stopped were not interested in an Irish man, mad enough to walk in this heat. A decision was made when I saw in the distance the A2 motorway and the N11 running almost parallel to it. I would walk the N11. Since most traffic is on the motorway I had quite a pleasant walk along the side of the National road and very soon passed the towns of El Talladell and then Fonolleres on my way to Cervera and the end of today's walk. Arriving in Cervera before midday created a moment for thought. Should I stay and explore this amazingly beautiful old university city or should I keep going and take some of the kilometres out off tomorrow's long 40+K? The decision was taken when I found out that there was hotel accommodation at the highest point of tomorrow's walk, La Panadella, and it would shorten tomorrow by 15K. The walk from Cervera, although through some outstanding countryside, was more remarkable for the heat than the large golden carpet of wheat that covered  the landscape as it seemed to move over the small hills before disappearing into the horizon. The path dropped down to the infamous N11 and after another two kilometres I topped a hill and there was La Panadella. Was someone having a joke? With the multitude of beautiful towns and villages we have encountered during this trip I am stuck at a petrol filling station. Yes a petrol filling station, on top of a hill, with a cafe and a very basic hotel. It is a service station for truckers and yes I did spell it right, before the comments start. On a positive note I'll see the match tonight and tomorrow will take me even closer to Barcelona.

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