Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Day 120: Montserrat to Valencia/ el Saler - Tues 2 Sept

Day 120: Montserrat to Valencia/ el Saler - Tues 2 Sept
Off into pollution cloud on highways towards Valencia. Ground clay coloured, sandy, dry and bare of foliage, except straw-coloured grass. Angular adobe buildings of grey and yellow ochre contribute to dry look. Occasional shallow streams, no rivers to date. Palms, pencil pines, short conifers, olive trees, vineyards, orchards, blackberries, melons, capsicum and hothouses. Occasional hose irrigation. 
Farewell Montserrat
Pont del Diable

Stopped near Tarragona to look at Pont del Diable (Devil’s Bridge) old Roman viaduct with two levels of arches, in surprisingly good condition. Legend said builders sold soul of first drinker to Devil in return for aquaduct which wouldn’t fall down in strong winds (haha - the first to drink was an ass!!!) BoyRob didn’t like look of loitering locals so went back to guard the vehicles. 

Catalonia seems to be fiercely patriotic, regional flag and signs everywhere, plenty of stalls selling t-shirts, badges, stickers. More mountains, same rocks/bedding as Montserrat. Ah - and here appear the famous Valencia oranges....not prosperous farmer’s houses though. Some of olive groves have quite old trees with very thick trunks. Spotted hare in shade of olive tree. Occasional flowering cactus plants. Travelled 250kms on highway - toll €51.20, unbelievable!!! Very hot travel, haze remained all day, extensive heavily built-up areas, poorly maintained industrial areas, neglect and litter along roads- “not happy Spain”! Followed rice paddies. 

Hello Mediterranean Sea!!

Arrived El Saler next to Albufera Nature Reserve, booked into Stellplatz 11€, few groceries also 11€ (hmm...) Explored narrow roads of small villages - every second shop is "restaurant"! Buildings gutted/ decayed. Ooh-ma.... a prostitute with no undies beside dusty back road. Drove down to freshwater lagoon, took sunset tour to spot birds, some among reeds or on posts - kingfisher, swallow, herons, egrets, martinet, black backed or headed gulls, ducks, moorhens (with annual migrations over, not as much variety as usual). Flora included March Samphire, cornflower, heather, sea holly, and cottonweed. 

Big fish!!


After 5pm all shops re-opened and place came alive as air cooled. Sat at outdoor restaurant for vegetable paella, and monkfish. Deep black squid ink of cuttlefish stained the edges of BoyRob's moustache!

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