Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Settling in

We arrived at Reus fifteen minutes ahead of schedule, having flown at what must have been the highest altitude allowed for a commercial jet. I've only seen the world below look so small on transcontinental flights. The cloud cleared from Bordeaux onward to allow a superb view of a Pyrenees. Reus airport is small and undeveloped by ordinary standards, with just one runway and three baggage carousels, and a quarter of a mile walk from the aircraft around several large building to reach the terminus. Apparently few flights arrive here outside the holiday season. It reminded me of flying to Hania in Crete back in the nineties.

Michael and Pamela Cowdery met me, and we drove along the motorway south as far as the turn off for Vinaròs, and then made our way along the coastal road to the Chaplain's residence (aka Vicarage), a well appointed new build three bedroomed house in a terrace of four, just five years old. Once they'd showed me around they kindly left me to sort myself out. After I had phoned home, I went out in search of the nearest shop to get some additional provisions - the kitchen had been left well stocked, but I fancied some fresh vegetables to cook with. I couldn't find the local shops, and so ended up walking into Vinaròs town centre, where I found a traditional greengrocer open with everything I was hankering after.

On my way I discovered that the house is only five minutes walk from two different beaches, and twenty minutes walk from town. There's a week long fiesta going on at the moment in celebration of the town's two patron saints - St John the Baptist and St Peter. There's a huge noisy funfair in a sea front park which can be heard from home, and goes on until late. From here on, the holiday season begins.

After a round trip of over three miles I cooked a sort of paella topped with salt cured sardinas for protein and flavouring, a little like anchovies. It was gone ten thirty by the time I sat down to eat, and a meal was most welcome. The ritual of cooking something as soon as I arrive in a new place rather than eating out  goes back many years with me, probably to teenage scouting expedition days. 

I'm here, and there'll be a lot to pick up in the first few days. We start tomorrow morning when I get to be introduced to the church council.

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