Was perhaps a bit rude about Ulldecona in yesterday's blog and it's much nicer than first impressions. Towards the centre there were some interesting art nouveau houses and a lovely baroque church.
|Church at Ulldecona|
Must admit I had assumed that after the walk through Valencia, Ulldecona to Tarragona was going to be a flat coastal walk. Well today completely contradicted that impression with a route over the Serra de Montsia range of mountains. This proved to be really interesting with lots of information on boards along the way. Essentially the walk firstly took you through some of the oldest olive groves in Catalonia, with trees dating back 2000 years to Phoenicians; through some natural evergreen oak woodland (i.e. pre-overgrazing and fire effected landscape, the cause of the shrub based landscape that typifies most the Mediterranean), and through some abandoned farming settlements which like much of upland Valencia had supported significant communities until the sixties.
The range gets to over 700 metres and although it wasn't a perfectly clear day the views were impressive. On the way up and looking back I could see across the valley with Ulldecona in the foreground, to the gorge I had emerged from coming from Moli l' Abad. Behind that I could see what was probably the La Creu mountain which I must have seen the day before yesterday. Most impressively I could see Penyagolosa which I had walked past in the rain 5 days with Christine and which is pictured on the blog from three days ago. It's dead centre on the horizon in the photo below, believe me.
|Views back to Ulldecona|
As well as looking back in time I could also see up the coast to Tarragona so from one place (slight poetic justice, you had to go up the hill a bit to see up the coast) I could see 9 days of walking.
Perhaps the most impressive view however was from the highest point on the walk, La Foredada where you got an amazing view of the Ebro delta. You could see the whole fan of the delta formed by the sediment flowing out from the Ebro river along with the cresent shaped sandbank beyond. From high up it looked like much of the delta is managed for agriculture although parts of it are important wetlands and form the Ebro Delta National Park.
Just to add to the view, which the photographs don't capture, was one of those windblown holes in rock the name for which has for the moment passed me by.
Sat at the top and had my lunch, an apple and a packet of crisps. The air was full of little flies which in turn attracted hundreds of swallows and swifts who were also having their lunch.
The walk down was also excellent. Deep valleys and through tunnels formed by the evergreen oak. Once on the flat however, and after such a brilliant walk, the sting in the tail was a five kilometre walk through the dead level land of the delta. Like the fens in Cambridgeshire although at least the sun was shining. One highlight was some waders in a flooded field reminding me that this is a very important area for birdlife.
for goodness sake, all that walking and only a packet of crisps and an apple for lunch. Please Juan could you give john some advice on eating properly while walking every day. He has this crazy notion that if he gets lighter the walking will be easier as he'll have less to carry. But he's wasting away!ReplyDelete
Christine, doesn't the guy have a stomach to tell him what to eat? My stomach demands at least a couple of sandwiches for a crude lunch in the bush, although it prefers a hot meal on non-walking days. MennoReplyDelete
well Menno, my stomach must be the same breed as yours. his stomach seems to be the strong silent typeReplyDelete