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Posts Tagged ‘Mediterranean’

Our daughter has been over for two weeks holiday so we eventually got to the seaside book and all.  Writing put away for a short while just relaxing eating out and generally enjoying ourselves.

The past week had been eventful, her birthday, a meal out with a friend and my wife getting stung.  In between this there was Petanca plus a club meal, then we had Sunday lunch at the beach, returned there for an afternoon and got rained on by a small cloud in full sunlight lol.

So on the last day of her visit  we went to the seaside again for lunch and a swim.  Now I know most parents show photos of their offspring or tell tales of ‘when she/he was small’….  Here’s a story.

Our daughter has always been an avid reader so it is no surprise to us that a book goes with her.  Whilst here she has been reading my books on the computer (including the ones in progress).  A long long time ago in a country far far away we took her sailing.  Unfortunately on our way out of the Medina on the Isle of Wight the propeller became dislodged.  ‘Over the side’ I said, she looked at me then her mother stood firm and said ‘I’ve read Jaws you go!’.  After some coaxing she went over and pushed the prop back, she has not let me forget it either lol.  So when we decided to go to the little seaside town my wife and I stayed at when we first arrived here, she donned her cossi grinned and said ‘don’t get any ideas this is for sun bathing, remember, I’ve read the book’.

We arrived at the coast on a sunny day found a good restaurant and sat down.  Muscels followed by paella, washed down with white wine, plus fresh bread green olives then ice cream and coffee. This was our choice of menu of the day eaten whilst looking out on the harbour. Well my wife and I were, you know who had her nose in a book.

From where we were sitting we had a good view of the harbour which is also a thriving fish port, Whilst we were lunching the Tuna trip boat arrived. This boat takes people out to the fish farms where red tuna is farmed and you can, if you so wish, swim with them.

On the beach I decided to brave the water it had turned a little chilly.  After a paddle I was joined by daughter, who stood looking left and right. ‘What you looking for?’ as if I did not know.  ‘Nothing just checking’ was the reply.

So we stood for a while letting the water surge round our feet.  It was then I noticed a swimmer coming along in front of us  ‘Jaws’ I said.  Well she decided retreat was the better part of valour then saw ‘Jaws’.  Well getting my own back now and then is quite fair. This was her last full day and we all enjoyed it very much.  Mum drove us home and to the airport the next morning.

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I had been promising my wife we would take a trip to the Delta to try for some photographs of birds and other things for a story I’m writing. So when we woke and found that although very windy the sun was shining and it was warm we decided to go. On the way we passed through an avenue of  Beech trees, it is, in my opinion, a typical continental thing. When they are in leaf  it looks very pretty.  We should have had a warning of what was to come as there were bits of tree’s in the road.  Further on as we neared one of the roundabouts the police were directing all the lorries into a side parking area, ah we thought they are doing a road inspection wrong…  Approaching  the road to go round Amposta, we found the traffic slowing, police and workmen were by the bridge that crosses it and there at the side of the road was the direction sign from the bridge – wind had blown it over the safety rail and down onto the road. 

Avenue of Beech Trees

The drive down there is pleasant. You follow the river Ebro to Tortosa, then on through some of the rice-growing finca’s untill turning right on to the road round Amposta. After this you travel the N340 to St Carles de la Rapita. This is a pleasant little seaside town with a marina, good beaches and some nice restaurants and bars.  We have a favourite Tapas bar and beach bar. So looking for a coffee we headed first to the beach bar which was shut and had also had some slight wind damage. So after watching the men cutting up the tree that had been blown over, we turned and headed along the water front to the Tapas bar, passing the marina and its occupants.

Go Find Your Own Bar

 

At the bar we had Patatas Bravas, Calamari Romanos, sausage’s, spiced and prawns.  Then we drove out to the Delta and the sea. The route we took was an arc, taking pictures as we went.  Driving along we saw the tractor that is used to plough the rice fields a strange contraption, a sort of military vehicle with slatted  wheels. But it travels over the paddy fields with no problem unlike a normal tractor which would soon get bogged down.  

Rice Tractor

My wife spent a lot of time trying to get a close up of a Marsh Harrier much to our glee it proved to be a real task.  When she crept towards it waited until she was close enough to get a good shot then took off, again and again.  She did get a few distance ones but not close up.

Marsh Harrier

 

We then came across  this water-mill. Instead of a windmill with sails to pump the water these are in the form of an Archimedes Screw, which pumps the water round the water beds and ditches.  With the little house painted white,  they are both cared for and in working order. It sits on the bank near to an observation hide where you can watch the various birds on the marshes.

Archimedes Screw

The wild life was fascinating.  The shots of waders, flamingos, ducks, heron and seagull were taken from the viewing hut. Several more were taken as we drove back towards the main road, so all in all it was a success.  I even managed to get a shot of the long-horned cattle that graze there.

You Really Wanted a Seagull

 

 All in all it was a pleasant if windy day.  The Sun was out it was warm 17c and relaxing. So when we reached the N340 we found the wind had picked up a little.  Well, that was an understatement, it had picked up a lot and we had not gone far when approaching a bridge saw just how much.  There on their side were two lorries, a small one and an articulated one. The articulated lorry was on the barrier of the bridge with its window screen smashed from the outside so I suppose they had to get the driver out that way.  I really hope he was ok.  We finished the journey on the flat using the El Perello pass, seeing all the windmills feathered against the wind.   

This brought home just how powerful nature is.

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It is a fact of nature that water reflects the sky.  A sunny day and the river has put on a shimmering blue dress as she runs towards the Mediterranean.  If it’s a cloudy day she will wear either a greenish grey dress with a mirror coat reflecting the trees along her banks, or she will try to cheer us up by wearing a shimmering dress of a silvery grey colour which now and again gapes to give a glimpse of a blue petticoat as she rushes on her way.   

Sometimes if it has been raining very hard she will drag fallen trees along, sending them bobbing and turning as they round stones and other hidden obstacles in the water.  But on a sunny day she will flow gently with the occasional ripple as she runs over large rocks and sandbanks on her way to the Mediterranean.

Passing under bridges of history from the Civil War, which were destroyed then re-built gently washing them as though remembering the pain when the bombs dropped laying waste the arches and tipping rails and masonry into her waiting arms.   

 

Last Templars stronghold at Miravet

Then on she flows towards the delta past Templer strongholds, castles of history who’s down fall is played out each year as part of the local history.

On through gorges with fields of vines on the banks, past orange groves, and relics of bygone factories harking back to the days when there was trade on the river. 

 

Then after a while she reaches the weir, which she slips over quietly, then on she glides towards Tortosa slipping through the town at peace with her surroundings. Past rice fields irrigated by her waters, past small towns, ever onwards to her destination, the Delta. 

There you will find majestic beaches of golden sand, the occasional palm tree their tops gently moving in the sea breeze. There is always something of  interest to be seen, especially when they are fruiting, grouped on the beach surrounded by the golden sand against a back drop of a blue sea and sky. You would be forgiven for thinking you were some where exotic and expect to see a camel appear with sheik to carry you off.

                                                                                        

Here the river fills the delta pools with her water where the Flamingoes forage for shrimps, and bulls roam the marsh fields while Marsh Harriers fly over head hunting for their dinner.

The irrigation is helped by small pumping water mills compact and picturesque, leaving you with images of times gone by, a hard but seemingly peaceful life. It is here more rice is grown along with a variety vegetables, watered the generous river.  

So, after she arrives and joins the sea all that is left is to turn north to the mountains where she first breathed life as a small stream then gradually grew up into the lady we now know, La Rio Ebro.

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