A slightly late start, as I wanted to be sure of daylight before walking on the right-hand hard shoulder of the N-II. 10 minutes later I was off it, on a track I failed to find yesterday, under the railway line, taking me back to the river. Joyful dawn chorus in the morning mist.
The Tourist Office does not open until 10 so I went to a café where I ordered peach juice in honour of yesterday’s orchards (though this one was made in Germany). Then I found that St Peter’s Church was open – large painting of the apostle being crucified head down – and, still a few minutes too early, discovered a chapel of St James and prayed outside it.
The girl in the tourist office was happy to ring the hostal at La Panadella for me, so I now have all my accommodation booked.
I had failed to notice the instruction to walk with the river on my left, and ended up in a park asking for help from some teachers in charge of a large group of small children, one of whom wished me good luck in his best English. I found a way across the river, and emerged from the park just opposite an orange arrow, a good half hour later than if I had followed the guidebook. It was 12 noon before I reached the footbridge over the motorway, supposedly 7.2 km from Lleida.
Then I met a pilgrim, Daniel from Denmark, who had followed the Catalan Santiago route from Montserrat. We enjoyed each other’s company for a few minutes before continuing in our different directions.
I reached Bell-Lloc, my designated lunch stop, at 14:30, which turned out to be a popular time for the Menu del Día at a restaurant next to a garage. Russian salad, bacon, eggs and chips, and a readymade but rather nice ice cream cornet. I had the good sense to choose water rather than wine.
Came away feeling full and sleepy, and worked my way out of the town, crossing the railway and the motorway before finding a patch of shade for a brief rest. Sang some Easter hymns, in keeping with Week 4 of the Spiritual Exercises.
I walked on, past a solar power station, to a house where a man hailed me and drew my attention to a painting of pilgrims. He had some story about Barack Obama and a postcard, but I could not work out whether Obama had sent or received the card. The painting is reproduced in the guidebook. He told me it was 3 km to El Palau, so I carried on without stopping until I reached the town, just before 6.
In the Pension I have a single room with en suite, so I washed all the clothes I had been wearing that day, plus my sleeping shorts. Will try washing my fleece and nightshirt next time I have good facilities. Having had a good lunch, I ate up some odds and ends for supper. And so to blog.