Time continues to fly by for us here in Spain. Can’t believe it will be a month on Monday that we’ve been here.
UPDATE: This is all old news. It is now NOVEMBER 6. This story happened weeks ago! We snuck away to the Pyrenees to see another part of the region. It was most definitely cooler, mountainous, gorgeous and we loved our 4.5 mile hike along a beautiful gorge – Ruta de las Gorges Carança.
Cameron had been asking for a good hike – and he got one. It was challenging, stunning scenery, a little dicey, dangerous and Cameron approved. David took a couple videos as we clung to the safety rope along the cliffs. At maybe three to five feet across at points, this mama was grateful the kids had something to hold on to. At the highest I am guessing we were probably 300 feet above the gorge. The whole thing seemed a bit surreal. As we hit what we assumed was the halfway point (yeah, no helpful maps or blazes along the way) David, ever the responsible dad and husband, reminded us that rain was predicted and we needed to pick up the pace. When it was safe to do so and we were not perilously clinging to the side of the mountain to avoid plunging into the gorge, we jogged and tried to make double time. And…just as we finished putting our pack in the truck and climbed in the car the rain began to fall. We would NOT have wanted to spend any time on a rain-soaked trail.
David navigated the switchbacks in the rain like a champ. We also used the time to teach the children an important life skill….how to use an atlas. A-T-L-A-S. We bought one the second day in the city for a couple of reasons. First – you never know when your signal is going to drop and your mapping app quits on you. Second – google maps doesn’t make it easy to spot what might be a cute little mountain village or a town you should quickly research and visit. Grateful that our car had awesome navigation, but we did notice what looked like a neat mountain town off in the distance – the atlas helped identify said adorable town so we headed over to Font-Romeu-Odeillo-Via.
A tuckered Cameron zonked almost before we were out of the parking lot after the hike. Lilly and David volunteered to do the reconnoissance mission in the cold, pouring rain while I selflessly stayed in the dry, warm car so Cam could continue to snooze. Mission accomplished. A rain-soaked Lilly returned to lead us to a cute, warm restaurant. The waffles, crepes, cappuccino and hot chocolate with whipped cream warmed our innards and fueled us for a walkabout. The town was virtually void of all visitors, but we were grateful for the few enterprising shop owners who kept their doors open. Forgot to mention that we were in France. We actually kept jumping the border from Spain into France all weekend, mostly because of a funny little island city of Spain surrounded by France. Click the article to learn about that!
Anyway – we had success finding a few tasty French cheeses, a bottle of local beer and another bottle of local liquor from a lovely French woman who graciously helped us. She didn’t speak English and I don’t speak French. She just kept telling us to use google translate when her French didn’t quite translate for me. It wasn’t until 20 minutes into the conversation that it occurred to me that we were minutes from the Spanish border and she might just speak Spanish. Yep. We had a good chuckle since we could have simply been chatting in Spanish the whole time. Our conversation continued and turns out that when two people speak broken Spanish to one another you can communicate pretty well – and no one judges the grammatical errors or conjugation flaws!
The next day we headed back to Girona and showed the kids the church and old town. We previously visited this area with our dads (see Octogenarians in Spain blog) and used it as a chance to recreate some photos. The kids stood in for Lou and Denny. As we climbed and wandered the kids appreciated that their grandfathers made it up the dozens of steep, stone stairs and around the hilly city! I’ll try to upload a split shot of our recreations later – poor David has been tasked with that one.
Today, September 11, is a Catalan holiday. (remember I said I drafted this long ago, just roll with it). We wandered a bit just to see what the locals would do to commemorate the day. Typically there would be upwards of one million residents filling the streets to show their support for an independent Cataluña, but the pandemic curbed most of the big plans. Keenly aware that we didn’t want to find ourselves in a huge crowd or near any sort of riots (we haven’t heard of any) we wandered different neighborhoods to observe how folks were showing their Catalan pride. Lots of folks wearing their flags as capes, one small, very orderly and spaced out march (pro-Communist I might add). Here are a couple of interesting articles about the significance of the day in this region of Spain and an explanation about the different flags flown here in Cataluña. We spent a good amount of time at a local coffee shop reading to the kids and discussing what it means for Barcelona, Cataluña and Spain as a whole. Interesting stuff.
OK. So that has you caught up through September 11, nearly seven weeks ago. I’ll try to catch up again on our next adventures. But, know this: our days are filled with exploring, schoolwork, coffee shops, people watching, researching cities near to us, road tripping (when and where it’s safe), checking out markets, eating on sidewalks and late night walks to the best darn gelato shop in the city.
More coming. I promise. – I am racing to play catch up. Writing the blogs is the easy part – uploading the right pictures is really dragging me down and causing all the delay.