A short but good night of sleep. I had good reception last night and started researching about how to get home from Banyuls already. Not so easy. To any decent airport you will have to take a train for 3.5-5 hours. And the train schedules don’t really match with the airline schedules. Well, that took a while. I have to leave Banyuls between 10am and 12pm to make it to Barcelona or Toulouse on time for the last flight. So the option of doing an extra long day today and then getting into Banyuls and out again tomorrow was not an option anymore. Even with an extra long day and with getting up super early tomorrow would have not brought me in town early enough to also take a shower, wash and dry my cloth for the travels. That made it a bit easier today.

I still hit the road early enough to benefit from the morning temperatures.

I also decided to go through Amelie-les-Bains-Palalda instead of Arles-sur-Tech since I had the feeling the route had only been chosen to offer a Refugio at the end of the day. But I wanted to go further anyways. So I hit a dirt road towards an old castle. When I came over the saddle it took me a while to realize what I saw. The sun was up already and still there was a big sun spot close to the horizon… It was actually the reflection of the sun in the sea. The Mediterranean Sea!

Wow. The first time I did see the ocean again after three weeks now. Pretty amazing feeling I have to say. It felt good. I am also totally fine with the hike coming to an end now. And the end was tangible now…

We are closer to the Mediterranean now and there was free-hiker-buffet everywhere.

And when I came through the last village on my way to Amelie, Montbolo, an elderly lady started talking to me from her front yard in French. I didn’t understand anything which she realised as well. And then she gave me the international sign for “drinking” and with the few words we both knew in English and French it was clear that she offered me water if I needed any! The first Trail Angel!!! 😍

After 15 hard kilometers on dirt and tarmac road my feet and joints hurt. But I was in Amelie now and time for breakfast. A liter of milk, a Magnum ice cream, four yogurts, a peach, two Sprite and a Red Bull were enjoyed in this lovely spot.

I also witnessed an (almost) fist-fight of two old guys. Unfortunately I did not understand what the argument was about since it was in French. I continued eating.

I hit the road again and started the 1.300m climb up to Roc de Frausa.

The trail started out gently and well marked. Also nicely shaded.

At one point of time I must have missed a turn off even though it felt as if I was still on the same good track. Once I realised it was already too late to go back and find out where that was. I continued – now downhill a bit 🙈 – and was spit out on a dirt road again which I had to climb up again. Not too bad but still cost me half an hour. It was boiling hot again today! 33C in Amelie. So sweat was running down my shirt and shorts again. I hadn’t taken any water on the climb since the map showed an good amount of streams on the trail. But when I had passed the first ones and they were bone-dry I realised that my next water point could be a few hours away. I was not too worried but I could feel the first signs of dehydration already. Muscles were cramping up a bit, I felt a bit dizzy and so on… Over 3h already without water on a big climb in this heat sweating like a beast…

And then suddenly the ground in front of my feet was wet. There must be water somewhere . And yes, the water was pressing out of the soil next to the trail. But not enough to pick it up. So I dug a bit, created a puddle and used the old leave trick. What a relief! Ice cold spring water!

The rest of the way up – again – was a lot of bushwhacking and unpleasant climbing. I am not the biggest fan to climb in the forest anyways but paired with a shitty trail. It was an ugly fight up there again on the last 2km. And then – guess what.

No view at all clouds had pushed in while I fought my way up. Again 🙈

Well, I needed a break. At least I had waffles and the “view”…

The way down through beautiful beech forest was nice again.

But all the moisture in the air and grease, oil and dirt on my cloth and equipment makes it a very unpleasant setup. My shorts haven’t dried in two days now – a mixture of too much grease in them and the moist air. Whatever I touch it all gives me sticky fingers right away. There is nothing dry anymore… Well, one more day.

And almost as on a round of golf when you are about to throw your clubs into the pond on hole 16 after a horrible round you get some lucky shots on 17 & 18 which keep you from throwing the clubs and make you come back.

Walked into Las Illas at 7pm with enough time to continue a bit. But I had enough for today. A bit too frustrating. There was a lawn in the middle of town where thru-hikers were allowed to pitch their tents – a fountain, toilet and even a free shower! A bunch of hiker-trash had pitched there tents already and we had dinner together and chattet about the trail and life on the trail. The campground even has light! Unfortunately I pitched my tent right below it… 🙈