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Posts Tagged ‘spain catalunia’

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One of the things I love about living where we do is the fact that no two days are the same.  Some times we look up at the maser behind us and see nothing, then looking a little  later there are the goats or Ibex on the ledge or the eagles flying along its length hunting.

So it was no real surprise when rounding a bend on my way home I came face to face with two young goats.  At first glance they looked more like young deer but as we don’t have any in our forest these were more likely the Ibex.  There are around four different types of goat and the Spanish Ibex does lean more to the deer than goat in both size and colour.  These two looked healthy with good coats of a chocolate colour that looked soft, with straight spiral horns although being young they were  short.

I don’t know who was more surprised  them or me.  I got the camera out but by this time they had decided it was time to go  and headed back into the forest.  It is comforting to know that they are around as it means the wild boar are also here.  We have not seen any for nearly 2 years but recently there have been signs they might be back.  When I was tidying up the track I noticed that a ‘trail’ led from the lower field to the south field and on into other parts of the forest.

 

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Until I moved here I was not a naturist, but the birds and animals we live with have taught us so much about the forest and the way they live. They have made us laugh, and enriched our lives that I don’t think I could not live in a city again.  Where else would a robin come up to the table  and peck your foot whilst you’re sitting drinking coffee to ask for a water bar so he and the other birds had some where to drink from during the very hot months.  Or sit  still whilst you took a couple of photographs.   Or a whole load of them sit  squawking outside your bedroom window because there was no water in their dish and still sit there whilst you filled it up.   This is what makes the finca so perfect for writing and inspired my wife to write the poems.

We have a diverse bird ‘family’ up here, all of them different in habits and song, which makes it a wonderful place, if noisy at times.  I have been thinking that we might do what a birding friend of ours Dena Rowlands ( enquiries@riverebroapartments.com)  has done.  A keen birder she set herself the task of spotting 200 different birds, We are not looking for ‘outsiders’  just the birds that are living up here  I think twenty is about the number so far.  It would be good to know the different types and hopefully get photographs  of them as well.  But  I have to admit that the one difficulty with that is they hide in the trees when the camera comes out, some really sneaky thought is needed here.

 

© Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

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We were at Club Nautique again last Saturday for their Muleta Regatta, but it turned out to be much more than that, it was a celebration of tradition.  This was a day of races in boats that worked this river for centuries, bringing goods from the sea up into the heart of Northern Spain. These are the traditional working costumes of the Sirgadoors, the men who pulled the Muletas up river.

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The Muletas are the original boats that worked the river.  They were moved along with oars made from  timber which have handles carved into one end and flats carved on the other.  If you look closely at the boats you will see there are posts on the gunwales these are what the oars are tied to so they can be rowed.

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We were treated to a demonstration of Muleta towing. As you can see this was hard work even with the Muleta being rowed, but men had to do it as in some places along the river the path was so narrow only men could walk. Their ancestors used Concha horns to let other river users know they were either towing up river or rowing down, there are places along the Ebre between the mountains where these horns must have echoed loud and clear for several kilometers.

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People often forget that for many many years the Rio Ebre was a major trading artery. If you take a look on every high point along it’s route you can find the ruins of Templer castles like the one at Miravet. Eventually the Templars became rich enough to tempt Popes and Kings to take it from them.  However, the people who actually generated this wealth were the Sirgadoors, who as they dragged the cargo boats up the Ebre against the fierce flow, paid taxes to these Knights for safe passage.

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It also used to flood quite regularly, but today the river has been tamed. Dams and weirs have been built with hydro and nuclear power stations along its banks.  Where it flows past Club Nautique there are quiet back eddies where the fishermen sit watching their lines waiting for the catfish or carp dreaming of the big one. On the bank Club Nautique sets out its tables and chairs so we can enjoy the summer and watch the young people training and making preparations for their regattas.

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We arrived to find the club a hive of activity, boats being made ready, people picking their tables whilst others were chatting to friends. looking up the road we could see people sitting on the river wall watching the events unfold. I managed to find a table at the top of the slope leading down to the hard, from here we could see everything which was perfect. As we looked around we could see there were chairs set out on the hard over looking the pontoon. These were ready for the arrival of the Carnival Prince and Princess, and the band which accompanied them. This band is made up of young people and they really can play.

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They arrived walking down the street wearing their traditional dress and followed by the band playing and took their places on the hard with the young band seated behind them. This was a relaxed event and everyone settled down to enjoy themselves.  The band played at the beginning of each race to send the boats on their way down river to the bridge where they turned then raced back again.

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Then we settled down to watch the races.  The boats set off from the club and had to row down to the bridge turn and row back against the flow.  They had a really hard job of it but everyone  enjoyed themselves.  Here are the start of the races and some of the boats.

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They ended the regatta with watermelons  being thrown into the river and the youngsters swimming for them.

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The ambulance actually had a customer he had hurt his wrist and all the police had to do was watch and enjoy, such a nice day.

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As always at this club people enjoy themselves. It is a club that is family orientated with activities for all ages.  There is a football area, a small swimming pool besides the sailing.  Looking after us all this weekend were these tired but happy people.

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Oh and this young man was still working after the event and yes that is a happy smile on his face, wonderful.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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Well this is us, not with my home club but with our friends from Tivissa. They were having a Petanca evening and had invited us to join them. My wife likes taking photos of club members and winners at the various competitions we go to, so she took along her camera and these are the photos maybe not professional but certainly family, and I think she has done us proud.

Not long after we arrived we were presented with ´team´shirts which, of course,  we promptly put on.  This was an unexpected gift  from some very nice friends. They make us feel welcome whenever we meet and accept that my wife is not very good at Petanca, mind you she has her moments.  But they give her loads of encouragement just as they do to the younger members of their club, which relaxes her so she always enjoys playing there. There were several younger people there some perhaps around 10 yrs, old all practicing, it is so nice to see the younger generation being encouraged to not only join the club but play as well.

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These are the trophies we were playing for and believe me the competition was fierce. You know a game is serious when the tape measure come’s out those few milimeters make all the difference.  After the games were over but before the presentations, out came the tables which were then laid with various nibbles and drinks.  The Alcalde (Mayor) of Tivissa arrived with two other members of his council to present the cups then everyone tucked in.  I could carry on describing things but here’s all of us enjoying the event.

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The games commence, spectators watch and comment, and the measure comes out – which ball is nearer the bouletchi? which team wins the point?

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The Alcalde (he’s the tall guy in the light blue check shirt) and his officials present the trophies, then everyone tucks in, wonderful.

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And showing us how to drink from the traditional jug is our good friend Rocca, bueno bowler and very funny man. Take a good look at him because as well as being good at Petanca he is a master carpenter, although he will not admit it.

We are grateful to our Friends in Tivissa for inviting us to share their evening.  Good fun, good food but above all good friends.

© Michael Douglas Bosc

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We were booked on the ferry to England on Monday morning, so we decided to travel up to St Malo EARLY on the  Sunday to ensure a relaxing unhurried drive. EH??   So at about 2am (yes 2am guess who forgot the clocks had gone back?? Things you discover at petrol stations) we were up and away from home.

The route we had decided to take was across country to Zaragoza where after a short journey on the motorway we would head for Pamplona. We had decided to try the route round the Pyrenees past Biarritz and then up to St Malo, after other Brits had said how easy it was (never travelled with us had they).

Now we knew we had to head for Pamplona,  however we forgot which turnoff we needed, then discovered the road map was on the table at home so, as is our want,  decided to ‘wing it’….. that’s when I knew it was going to be one of those trips.

If we travel anywhere there are usually detours or ‘getting lost’ bits this trip was to be no exception. So this time found us taking a longer route than necessary (discovered when we finally bought a road map, original is back in the car – I think!!) but as it turned out, we had done the right thing as unknown to us St Malo had been packed all weekend with the yacht racing crews and their well wishers (the race goes from France to the Caribbean) so there would have been ‘No Room at the Inn’. The journey was through some of the prettiest countryside seen all autumn(fall) my wife would occasionally gnash her teeth when a particularly colorful section came into view no camera and she was taken with the leaf peeping photos from the states that had been posted on Facebook.  As we arrived the town was emptying and we managed to find the all important parking space and a hotel room, and a nice restaurant so all was not lost.   

The trip home was a little easier, we were fine untill we arrived at Bordeaux. Here we found heavy rain, black skies, thunder and lightning, which, when we were climbing into the Pyrenees and the Vella tunnel sleet first then snow, memories of last years trip sprang to mind. We emerged from the tunnel and made a safe, quick decent as was possible on this twisting pass, as we descended things got easier and it stopped raining snowing. We saw about 2 snow ploughs on the road and we  finally arrived home around 11.30pm. 

 We have decided to fly in future, it is getting a bit too much to tackle in one go even if its only 14hrs plus I do not sleep well in hotel beds.  My wife will miss it she likes France, but even she agrees there’s no place like your own bed!

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