The adventure on foot (a mix of running and walking) that follows was once again prepared thanks to the content of the book on Weekly Mono-Training Technique published by Fusta: UltraTrail with Mono-Training.
I should mention that the Travel Trail detour was entirely feasible thanks to the Weekly Mono-Training strategy, given its infrequent nature, which allows for outings even during travel, ensuring solid progression in any situation related to long-distance walking!
In front of the Salvador Dalí Museum
This year, I was on the brink of skipping my walking adventure. The original goal was Cadaqués, but upon examining the various routes, I found that it was inaccessible due to a bypass road that blocked every easy passage... I had chosen that destination because it was relatively close to the camping area and the birthplace of the painter Salvador Dalí. An artist I've admired all my life for his completely unique works, including melted clocks, which today could easily be compared to some computer-generated graphics!
Route map for the outbound and return journey
No problem, as I discovered the Dalí Museum in Figueres, not far from my location, just under 18km from the camper parking spot. So, everything brightened up, and every motivation sprang back to life in my mind.
On the morning of Saturday, July 29, 2023, I woke up at 4:30 AM, hastily prepared my backpack, supplies, and everything needed, had a good breakfast while being careful not to wake anyone in my family, and then I set off. However, as soon as I stuck my head out of the camper, I realized that at 5:15 AM, it was still completely dark, and I was also without a headlamp. No problem, I waited in the garden for a while, enjoying the unusual silence of the campsite, and then took a few steps towards the sea to watch the sunrise...
Before dawn, looking towards Cadaqués
A few weak rays of light on the marshland
The sun making its entrance on this new hot day
At the first light, I set off just before 6:00 AM, leaving Camping Nautic Almata near Sant Pere Pescador, deep within a natural park... A beautiful place.
Sunflowers before the sun's rays
Sunflowers shortly after the sun, well-oriented!
My journey took me in the dark through vast rice fields, with only one wrong turn a few kilometers from the start. These deserted country roads would have been impossible to navigate without GPS directions, but the advantage was the still very cool weather, given the early hour. Going further, the rice fields turned into sunflower patches, and it was fascinating to see them with their heads down in the absence of the sun, and then as soon as the first rays appeared, they lifted to follow our star. Soon, the dirt roads turned into paved ones, and I continued along the edge to reach the first village, "Fortià," which appeared ancient with its imposing Church situated on a gentle hill in the historic center. But as I passed through and headed towards the outskirts along the main road, it became an extremely modern town.
Impressive Church in typical Spanish style
I continued for a few more kilometers, following the asphalt, and then I took another well-maintained dirt road. Here, as time passed, I started encountering some people on bicycles. I entered another village that was labeled "El far d'Empordà" on the map, another village with a grand Church. I love examining the older religious sites; the Churches in Spain have an imposing yet "rough" appearance due to the typical stone colors they're made of. I moved on and soon entered a heavily trafficked road, with the powerful four-lane bypass mentioned earlier in the background, and on the horizon, the city of Figueres began to appear, my destination.
Sant Jordi i el drac, from Merce Riba
I didn't lose heart because the kilometers of this adventure were not many, and they flowed smoothly under my feet. I crossed an overpass and also encountered the first person on foot, whom I greeted as I passed (buenos días). I caught a glimpse of the first houses on the outskirts on both sides, and after a few tens of minutes, I realized I was about to enter the city center.
The people approaching the center appeared calm and uninterested in me (a person running with sticks and a backpack), occasionally walking. Keeping an eye on the GPS, I tackled a short ascent, and suddenly, I saw the Dalí Museum building in front of me, which I had previously only seen on the web. I stopped in the adjacent square to occupy a bench and had my small meal (the only one of the adventure). A coffee at the bar was a must, even though my Spanish was really poor; I spoke in Italian, and they understood me perfectly on the first try!
I began the return phase, perhaps a bit faster this time due to the slight descent, but I also took almost no videos or photos, which had characterized the slowdowns on the way there.
However, after 10:00 AM, the heat started to be felt, and instinctively, my eyes kept searching for water, even though I still had some left in my water bottle, but I couldn't find any!
Step by step, I retraced all the points I had seen a short while ago, and when I found myself in the rice fields, the heat began to be truly intense, even though it was dry. There, I noticed some irrigation pumps and thought I could use them to cool down, but their configuration prevented me from doing so, so I continued despite it all.
I approached the campground, and this stretch was truly unbearable due to the high temperatures, making the road of a few kilometers seem endless.
I conclude this beautiful adventure with an artistic background that anticipates my visit to the Dalí Museum, which I will do on the last day of my vacation. I can't wait, as this experience will undoubtedly lead me to recreate one of his works.
I completed the journey in a total of 5 hours and 51 minutes, covering a distance of nearly 37km. It may not have been a long adventure, perhaps more of a training run, but it further convinces me that the Mono-Training Technique can evolve into something systematic for Travel Trail adventures around the world. As soon as I am free from my study commitments, I believe I will explore this idea in-depth with travels far and wide, visiting distant places on foot.
Below is the detail of the reference links related to my ultratrail and trail
Very long distances | Routes | Competitions | Solo adventures | Publications | Training strategy | UltraTrail eBook