Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Enjoying the Good Life in the Spanish Countryside

July 9 - 12, 2013
Can Ferrer, Catalonia, Spain and Around

After brushing off our travel dust, we spent an enjoyable four days relaxing and catching up, in very low-key fashion, with our friends whom we had last seen seven years ago.  It wasn't your typical Spanish vacation, spending sweaty days touring the sights, bemoaning sore feet, tired legs and sunburned shoulders.  As Daniel and Leonne are Dutch, not Spanish, and speak fluent English and we encountered very few people in our countryside wanderings, at times it was easy to forget we were even in Spain.
 It was more like visiting friends anywhere in your own country, visiting the more immediate local sights, swimming at the beach, cooking and drinking at home and lounging in the shade of a tree with the cats during the heat of the day.  A very pleasant way to pass some warm July days with good friends, a friend aptly described our trip as “Spain lite.”

Scott samples a Spanish rose with his tapa on the balcony at our Spanish digs in Can Ferrer, Catalonia
The highlight of this portion of our trip was definitely the half-day hike Daniel and Leonne took us on about an hour from their house.  The scenery was simply non-stop, with oohs and aaahs around ever bend, and we had the trail completely to ourselves – a wonderful locals’ secret!

Hiking at Cornudella de Montsant with Daniel & Leonne
And as a bonus, we followed up our memorable hike with a menu del dia lunch, a swim in a nearby lake, a bit of town-wandering and cold drinks on a family-friendly plaza – a truly perfect day!

Wandering the quaint streets of Siurana, Catalonia after lunch
Enjoying a Scheweppes Limon on the plaza in Prades, Catalonia before heading home for a late dinner
Four days and some exciting wildlife spottings – a fox and a wild boar in the yard, as well as a beach full of nudists - later, it was time for our Spanish adventure to come to an end.  On Saturday morning Daniel and Leonne dropped us at the recently-built, modern train station at Camp Tarragona near their house and seemingly in the middle of nowhere, where we would catch a train to the border and then on to France.  Little did we know, the hot and sweaty portion of our trip was about to begin!

Scott had no time for jet lag - on our first morning in Spain, the guys went for a long bike ride in the hills of Catalonia
Beautiful Waikiki Playa - the locals' secret, located right outside Barcelona
Our hosts welcomed us with delicious mojitos on the balcony
Caroline poses with the trusty Kangoo, our taxi for the week
Leonne & Daniel, in the grapevines near their house on our nightly walk with the cats
Pusita & her son Pusito, on our walk
Exploring ancient ruins near Can Ferrer, Catalonia, the village where Daniel & Leonne live.
Cherries!  We may or may not have eaten illicitly harvested cherries.  Only Daniel and Leonne will ever know...
A lovely Spanish rose served on the tray our friends bought on their trip to Mexico when they home exchanged at our condo in San Miguel
Hiking at Cornudella de Montsant with Daniel & Leonne
Hiking at Cornudella de Montsant with Daniel & Leonne
Hiking at Cornudella de Montsant with Daniel & Leonne
Taking cover from a brief rain shower in Siurana
Good times in the plaza of the mountain town of Prades, Catalonia
The lively family-friendly plaza of Prades
When in Spain, eat ham!
The cava ice cream in Villafranca del Penedes was delicious!
Catalonia separatist flags in Villafranca del Penedes
Luna, lounging in the yard on a warm afternoon
Relaxing with Daniel & Pusita in the yard
The charming view from the yard
Enjoying the countryside from a comfy chair
"Why, yes, I'll take another mojito!"

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