Monday, January 23, 2012

Perfect weather for weekend walks

Another really hot day. Yesterday we explored some new trails at Cap de Creus. We didn't get very far on the first, as a stone causeway linking two sides of a steep gully had collapsed. We turned around and tried a second trail but it quickly deteriorated into a narrow goat trail through the brush. By this time we'd had enough of a walk and headed out to the restaurant at the end of the Cap for a sangria. It  was lovely and warm out of the wind as we watched visitors from France with their landseer-cross dog, who were taking many photos  out to sea. We're not sure what they were looking for as all we could see was a cruise ship in the far distance. Apparently whales do come this far into the Mediterranean at times.

The next day at our usual coffee stop we ran into an English couple we had met the previous week and had a great chat. They shared some of their favourite places to visit in the Pyrenees. Having said our goodbyes we set off to make the most of another gorgeous day, with a trip to the ruined convent  Santa Quirze de Colera. This is in the middle of nowhere surrounded by mountains, but right by the convent is a really great restaurant filled with local Spanish and French people. As we sipped beers outside on the patio waiting for a free table, we could smell  the meats cooking on the grill inside. The sun beat down and I wished that I was wearing shorts, but that  just wouldn't be done at this time of year. Finally we got seated.Lunch was a beautiful foot-long garlicky Catalan sausage and lovely, crispy, non greasy french fries, not too many just the right amount. This was accompanied by half a litre of the house red for 2.50€. You can't get a much better deal than that.

If we had planned this better we would have walked first and then eaten. Instead we forced ourselves up a steep incline on very full stomachs. As we neared the top we could hear the sounds of the ubiquitous cow bells and finally there they were. These cows were on their own farm land eating grass and low lying shrubs. As we looked in to the valley ahead we could see the farm. We were passed by some French people who had also eaten in the restaurant. They may very well have been walking back to France, which was just across the valley and over the next ridge.

By now we had walked off our sausages and it was time to return to the car. It was a much easier walk down the mountain than up and as a bonus it was still quite warm. I would like to know if vineyards once covered these hills as there is very little evidence of terraces and no farm ruins. We will have to return on a Saturday when the convent is open for tours to find the answer to this question.

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