Saturday, 16 March 2013

The Tramuntana

Thursday 14 March
Over the last few days, we have been battered by the Tramuntana, a cold fierce wind that blows down from the Pyrenees at this time of year; it can last for up to 12 days.
Today's excursion is to Olot at the base of the Pyrenees via Banyoles and through the mountains of The National Parc de la Gorrotxa which has many cones of extinct volcanoes, with heights up to 1000m. The park is heavily forested, with small villages and farming settlements in the fertile river valleys.
As we approached Olot expecting to see some great views of the Pyrenees, the clouds came down and shrouded the mountains.
We decided to return to the coast along the valley of the river El Brugent, with beautiful mountain scenery on either side as the road snaked along the fertile valley. As we approached Tossa de Mar, we headed east across the hills of Les Garrones winding through lovely forests of cork trees, eventually dropping to the plain and heading back to L'Estartit for G and T, and a late meal of pork chops fried in herbs and garlic accompanied by potatoes, cauli and a glass of local red. A fitting end to a fascinating adventure.
Total journey distance 140 miles.

Friday 15 March
Our plan today was to visit the wetland nature reserve of Parc Aiguamolls de L'Emporda  but along the way we realised that the wind was still cold and strong, so the trip to the reserve was aborted, and we decide to explore the countryside heading in the general direction of Cadeques, where Dali once lived. Along the way we had some great views of the snow covered Pyrenees and also saw some interesting bird life, including a Red Kite, a flock of Little Egrets and a couple of White Storks.

 We found  a sheltered lunch stop by the river at Sant Pere Pescador, before driving over the hills of Cap de Creus to Cadaques. The road had fabulous views and many twists and turns, unfortunately  Maureen began to feel ill with all the movement. We stopped for a while at a lay-by overlooking Cadaques and the sea, before descending to park up and explore the village.

We wandered along the sea front, took a few photographs, and had a coffee overlooking the Med. before heading home via Llanca to avoid the winding route over the mountains.

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