Sunday, 15 July 2012

A Catalunya Sunday

At the end of this morning's Vinaròs service the noise out in the street was unusual for eleven o'clock on a Sunday morning. It was the sound of motorbikes, shiny classic motorbikes all in immaculate condition, assembled in a nearby parking area, before travelling to an event somewhere else. It was a great sight, but I was too busy to get my camera out at that particular moment.

The N340 was quite for my drive up to L'Ampolla for the next service and I arrived in sufficiently good  time to circle the streets of the barrio several times looking for suitable parking, as Mass in the Parish Church had not yet sent worshippers on their homeward journey. Third time lucky, I found a place near the station and was able to get a cafe con leche in the station bar. I ordered in Spanish, only to realise that the only language in use at that time was English. The place is run by English people and must do well from English speakers living in the town.

After the Eucharist, we made a short journey to the beach area on the north side of the port for a parish picnic lunch in an olive and carob tree orchard just by the beach, belonging to a churchwarden. The land was meant to be a campsite, but the project was resisted by a municipal authority with development ideas of its own, and withheld necessary planning permissions. Surrounding land is now built on, so the orchard offers an open green space right next to the beach, suitable for parking in the shade during siesta, or for a picnic lunch. There were about fifteen of us altogether. I was delighted to find that one of picknickers was from Mont-sur-Rolle, half way down lake Geneva, an area we've enjoyed visiting in times past to stroll through terraced vineyards in spring. I fell into conversing in French with ease and pleasure, if but for a short while. 

On my drive home, I stopped off in Amposta, a town set on the south bank of the Ebro river (Ebre in Catalan). On previous trips over the N340 viaduct, east of the town, I'd noticed canals running on both sides of the river, but these weren't visible in the detail of a landscape which included huge bright green rice fields, fed by their own irrigation channels fed from a canal. Apparently the Ebro river Delta is one of Spain's most productive rice growing areas. So much to explore.

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