Leaving the Abbot Oliba Route, we head east walking for a week in the foothills of the Pyrenees through the volcanic zone of La Garrotxa (“Rough Land”) to visit the small, isolated medieval villages. With a rainy climate in the autumn and daily 5pm storms the forest flourishes and the countryside is bright green.
Camprodon to Beget
Camprodon to Beget: 16.2km, 5 hours, 400m descent.
In parts this was the finest walk we’ve ever done. In other places, tough going with missing waymarks. Published as a 4 hour walk, it took us 5. Two lovely Romanesque chapels along the way were a bonus.
There was no road to the medieval village of Beget until the mid-1960s. The pueblo consists of 30 houses, 2 bridges across the stream and a beautiful 13th century Romanesque church, all made of stone.
Beget to Oix
Todays walk started with a pretty path out of Beget but after an hour deteriorated into a narrow track, washed out by rain and seldom used, going uphill forever. About 12km, 3½ hours.
We stayed at the La Soleia d’Oix camping near Oix (PRON “Osh”). Surprise, surpise. Our good friends Raul and Mayra had left an excellent Empordá (NE Catalunya) wine in our room for us. Felt better right away!
Oix to Castellfollit de la Roca
Oix to Castellfollit de la Roca: a pleasant and easy walk – 11km, 2½ hours.
Castellfollit de la Roca is located on a narrow basalt cliff 50 meters high and a kilometer long. The old town dates from the Middle Ages, with narrow streets and buildings constructed from volcanic rock.
Olot to Santa Pau
From Castellfollit de la Roca we took the bus to Olot and started walking to Santa Pau through the La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park: ~12km, 3½ hours. A lovely walk along quiet country roads and paths through Fageda d’en Jordà National Forest.
Santa Pau to Besalú
Santa Pau to Besalú: 18km, 5+ hours; a nice enough walk but harder than we expected. Now we are in jungle, nothing like the “Spain” we know.
Besalú, with its 12th-century L shaped Romanesque bridge was designated as a historical national property in 1966. The town, expanded during the 10th & 11th Centuries, goes back to Roman times.