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Greetings from Spain!

June 22, 2016 0 Comments

Since our last report we’ve hot-footed it through Italy, stopping for a few days north of Pisa, on the west coast, to walk the Cinque Terra, as Lynn has already reported.

It’s five villages, grouted desperately to a schist hillside, with a three or four km walk between. Two of the tracks are closed due to rock slides three years ago, so I was desperately disappointed not being able to trudge the other two! It’s hard going, and after rain, the steps were quite slippery. I found a few things compensated for the inconveniences though – like a stopover at each village for a snack and a little drink, the shape of some of the behinds strapped into impossibly small shorts, and the views over the Mediterranean Sea!

The track reminded me of a combination of Lord Howe Islands “Goat Cave” walk, the back walking track up North Brother Mountain, Mid North Coast NSW, and “The Flower Bowl walk” at Camden Head NSW. Pretty hard going – a good way to get the heart pumping.

The area is heavy with tourists and this is more than a month before they come in droves. It would be a steamy, hot shuffle in a month or so. Best time is now, put it in your diary.

Afternoon thunderstorms continue to wreak havoc with our bush camping prospects. We’ve motelled (penzione) and camping half the time, to save pissing about in the wet. It’s given us a good opportunity to talk to domestic and international travelers at the campground. Romanian, Dutch, German, English seem to account for the bulk. All happy, all with a sense of humour, all surprised to meet a couple of daggy Aussies, a long way from home, in their own car!

Bush camping is a treat, as Lynn is picking rosemary, or dill, or strawberries or parsley around the site, adding to the taste dished up.

Shooting is a regular night activity, so every third bush camp is shared with a chorus of shotguns. This activity starts after 10pm, after they have had dinner.

We’ve slotted easily into the French and Spanish way, up late, maybe lunch at 2pm, dinner after 8pm. Last night I was making notes in the daylight at 9.30pm! I’m not sure what time the sun comes up…

We spent little time in Italy after Cinque Terre. A few days and we were reading French road signs. An unseasonal wet French spring kept us on the move, heading east to Spain. In France, at two separate, non-flash restaurants, I had the best duck meals I can remember. At the first of the restaurants, the waitress was absolutely timing service to the clientele perfectly. Poetry in motion.

After we hit Spain, we had a look at the Salvador Dali museum – what a character he was! Then we saw on the map a country we’d ignored called Andorra. A little place, in the Pyrenees, jammed between France and Spain. So we went for a look. Not disappointed: The capital is tightly packed in a steep valley. Plenty of innovative old and new building work, a place that thrives in the winter, with skiing.

That marked the turn in the unstable weather for us. As we have headed south, off the Pyrenees, the weather has stabilised and dried out.

Spanish VistaThe north east area of Spain, below the Pyrenees, is stunning. An absolute belter of an area for you to wander about. Green, rich, mountainous, it seems to have anything you want to keep you interested. Far better than I had imagined.

Further south is broad-acre farming, then further south is desert ranging from good enough to grow olives, down to rock, cactus, gorse and dry river beds.

We’ve just had a swim in the Mediterranean and are on our way to Granada.

Next report soon!

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