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Area de Vall, font paradis and cove de vidre. April 2018

At the beginning of April I walked “Area De Vall” just outside Mas Barberans, an amazing 15kilometer walk. We parked up in a picturesque flat picnic/bbq area surrounded by stunning mountains. As with most of our walks we headed upwards, slowly and gently climbing higher. We passed narrow trails covered in pine needles that had fallen from the trees towering above, forming a welcome shelter from the strong sunlight. And paths made of rock bed and earth, twisting and turning upwards. My highlight was stumbling on a very rare, beautiful water fall, cascading down an array of rocks above and passing through the path and down below. We took several photos before continuing upward and shortly after we reached a clearing where we all sat for much needed refreshments and to take in the spectacular views of La Joca a rock shaped like a stool standing tall above the mountain range in front of us and the stunning land below, we could see for miles, just beautiful. We started walking upwards again until we reached our 1st destination, “Font Paradis”. Hidden behind a huge Rock, we turned the corner and the sight that met us was just lovely. The water was running down the rock face, across a flat, mossy, rock bedded area then cascaded down rocks forming steps down to the wooden troth below. Beautifully colored spring flowers everywhere. After a short photo stop we carried on our journey still heading up. The path was very sheltered by trees and shrubs some of which were covered with ivy, forming tunnels along the way. We had long sections which were marked by abundant of gorgeous wild flowers in lilac, whites and yellows. When we finally reached the top, the terrain completely changed, the lush vegetation had gone. We were now out in bright sun light on a very rocky dry road. But the views were amazing from our high vantage point. We passed 2 more water fountains, full to the brim. Much needed for the local wildlife. We were getting closer to our next destination when we had a real treat. So lucky, nature at its best, we saw a deer and her fowl about 50mtrs ahead, spooked by out excitement they gently trotted out of sight leaving us behind…… Just a short walk away we reached Coves de Vidre. A huge hole in the rock face, we climbed up and in, inside were colors of pinks, yellows and terracotta stunning. The views of the land far below framed by the opening were breath taking. After more photos we ventured back down towards a clearing where we sat, mesmerizing about our day and having the last of our food before we started our precarious journey back down. We were off road again, this time we made our way down a steep rugged path, we had to navigated our steps carefully on the loose shingle, until we reached the road below leading us back to our cars. A perfect day with lovely company and amazing memories. I will be back. xx

 

 

  

La Molteta – 25th February 2018

Yesterday me, Debbie and Rosie set off to the edge of Els Ports to walk up to the stunning mountain shaped like a table “La Moleta” more than 2,600ft in altitude. One of my favorite walking routes with some of the most stunning, diverse scenery in this area. When we arrived, a local shepherd told us there were bulls on the track!! A little nervous, we had to keep vigilant just in case we uncounted them. So with that in mind, we started our walk from Font Nova and headed up the steep route which marked our destination. Phew!!!…. luckily no bull sightings but we heard their neck bells close by a couple of times!!!. We had visions of scaling the closest tree to get away from them… hehe!!. Anyway, we kept climbing higher, stopping along the way to catch our breaths and look at the stunning views. The paths had recently been cleared and pine trees chopped back to make the track more open and easy to navigate. This made the track a little slippery underfoot. Full of dusty earth, pine needles and scattered with loose pebbles, so we took it a little slower than normal. As we got higher, the views just got better, the morning mist had not yet burned off so everything below and beyond was visible through a misty haze. When we got to the top we followed the path over, around and then down. We almost walked the length of the mountain along a narrow path, until we got out first close sight of “La Moleta” just 300mts away. This first close up glimpse always takes my breath away. We made our way to the foot of the rock, where Debbie bravely scaled the wall, carefully navigating her way up until she reached the top, she returned, pleased she had made the short climb up. Well done Debbie!! In need of a rest the three of us sat next to this magnificent giant structure eating and chatting with the most beautiful view in front of us before we started out way back down to Font Nova. A fantastic days walking with great company. If you want to find out more about Ebro Valley Walking Holidays in this area, please contact me. Hope you enjoy, until my next post. xx

         

 

Pi de Perillo and Font Perera. January 2018

Firstly I wish everyone a happy, health and prosperous 2018. With all our festivities behind us I was eager to get out walking again, starting the new year off with energetic enthusiasm. My aim, to find the magnificent “Pi del Perillo”. This huge pine tree is hidden on the edge of Els Ports Natural Park, donated by the farmer who owned this stunning piece of land, Snr Perillo which is how the tree got its name. After parking the car me, Debbie and Rosie headed inland on foot/paw. The road led us to a well used path scattered with loose shingle from the recent rain fall, every step was loose beneath our feet. Further in we started our climb on a much narrower rock embedded track, which after many years of use has formed well polished steps that zig zagged our way up. We slowly navigated our way over and through this mountain track until we reached another narrow shingle covered road which was laden with rosemary, thyme and heather bushes on either side and as we gently brushed past their foliage the scent that followed us was intensely fragrant. The vegetation that followed us was lush and green with trees (some incredibly tall) and short shrubs and bushes all shimmering beautifully in the sun light with stunning backdrop of distance mountain ranges and land far below. And then we finally reached our destination. “Pi del Perillo”, its huge trunk split in two at the base, its vast twisted branches growing long and heavy in all directions. Some held up by strategically placed metal supports preventing them from breaking under their immense weight. Some held together by strong ropes clinging the branches together to keep them intact. The whole area is sheltered by a canopy of vivid green pine needles and cones sprouting from every branch and their tips touching the ground surrounding us, creating a magical circle. We stopped in the middle staring in ore at this magnificent monumental tree that stood before us. An amazing gift of nature……. I hope you enjoyed the first part of my new years walk. Part two will follow soon. Anyone interested to find out more please message me. Take care. xx

                 

La Foradada – December 2017

La Foradada is an amazing mountain walk a short distance from the coast. We walked these mountains just before xmas, santa hats in hand, on a beautiful bright fresh morning. We started our journey following another well worn, rock embedded path, initially sheltered by the tall pine trees. We slowly climbed higher towards our destination, walking along, through and up a valley full of lush greenery. We reached a plato where we saw our first breath taking views of the rolling green mountains and a peak of the ocean in the far distance before winding our way downhill to visit two natural water fountains. “Serra de Montsia” was nestled into the surrounding rock face with a tiny cave close by, strangely formed into upside down steps, then we moved on to “La font de Burgar” we found a large clearing with a long row of troths filled with water at the foot of the rock face. The autumnal colour of the surrounding trees and plants were a stunning contrast to the lush greenery above. We started our climb uphill again until we reached the open far above. At every turn we saw views of the distant ocean to one side, inland on the other, just stunning. Getting closer to our aim, we walked along and up a dusty path with bramble bushes on either side following us up until we reached the most incredible rock formation. A tunnelled peep hole through the mountain rock. The view was just incredible, framed by the surrounded rock was the beautiful glistening Mediterranean with a scattering of visible, wave sculptured sand banks, we all gathered in the small tunnel looking out in ore. After taking photos we climbed up the short distance to the furthest point. Wow, again spectacular views, we all sat on the mountain, mesmerised by the beauty of this special place until we had to head back down hill to our cars for our journey home. Another amazing day. I will definitely be back. xxx

       

 

Five day tailored package deal full of activities – November 2017

All businesses evolve and I’m no exception to the rule. In this post, I’m showing you some of what we do at Ebro Valley Walking. We tailored this 5 day package for a group of four in November. Gerard, Helen, Tim and Sue wanted a mixture of walking, Spanish culture with some fun days out and a meal every lunchtime. So this 5 day experience was packed with energetic walks, a fun trip kayaking down the river Ebro and cultural visits to a wine museum and 11th century castle and of course lunch every afternoon at a different local venue. This shows you an amazing way to capture the shear beauty of this Catalan countryside, mixed with a relaxing lunch every afternoon at some of our local restaurants/bars. I hope you enjoy the photos and story alongside each step of this 5 day adventure. If anyone is interested in finding out more please contact us.

Day 1

We started our 5 day adventure with an energetic morning, kayaking 12klms downstream towards Benifallet. Tim and Sue’s journey ended on a high. An amazing 3 hrs. Rowing down the famous River Ebro. Followed closely behind by Gerard and Helen. Guided by a profession local company who have just been awarded for their amazing contributions to tourism in this area.

After lunch at 1 of the local restaurants we drove to a nearby museum/winery for a bit of wine tasting. The buildings architecture was inspired by Gaudi. Internally the structure was just as stunning with arched brick beams holding up the roof. And at the end of the museum tour we got to sample some of the local wines with a plate or two of tapas ……… Cheers!!! or Salut!! as they say in this part of Catalunya-Spain.

 

 

         

 

Day 2. 

We parked up at the river crossing and had a short wait for the ferry. We boarded the old water current driven car/people ferry, such a treat as this is one of very few that are still running in Catalunya. The force of the river current gently pushed us from one side of the river to the other where we walked the short distance to the village of Miravet. To start the days walking, we followed  the steep track uphill to the Castle, along the way taking in the picturesque views of the village below.  We took a cultural visit inside the grounds of this 11 century castle.  How beautiful is  that…. An amazing vantage point for any castle,surrounded by spectacular panoramic views. On a clear day you can even see the coast, some 30klm away. So much easier going back downhill!! This is part of the rickety path to and from the castle. We got to see some of the old village streets and tunnels of Miravet…  The beautifully kept wooden beams exposed for all to see… After refreshments, we headed along the 8.4klm nature trail, which runs alongside the river, our destination Riverside Lodge.

 

 

       

     We peered through the olive branches  which beautifully framed the distant view of Miravet castle where we were some hours earlier. Happy walkers, cameras in hands taking more photos of yet another stunning view!!!  We walked through a stretch of trail that resembled a cavern like forested paths…. walking over countless pine needles and autumnal coloured leaves that had dropped from the trees above.  Then opening up into bright sunlit areas, walking on a well worn rock bedded path. Spectacular views along the way !!!  Nearing the end of our walk, we were looking forward to our much needed lunch of tapas back in the village…….

       

Day 3

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We cycled down a 30klm stretch of the via verde. A perfect day for those looking for a bit of gentle exercise. A fantastic experience for all ages. It took us 3hrs, gently winding our way down hill. Crossing bridges and passing villages…….We saw the beautiful streams of font Calda.  We cycled through numerous tunnels along the  route. Ending with a delicious meal at l’Estacio de Benifallet.

              

 Day 4 – 

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                                                                                                                                                                   We went hunting for the civil war trenches in the mountains of Benifallet. Tim having fun down a hidden tunnel leading to the lower terrace…..  The photos speak for themselves. The coutryside in this area is just gorgeous…..  And then started the descent to the dry river bed…. climbing over the giant bolders… ..navigating every step with care.                                   A staggering backdrop seen from inside the Camels foot cavern. This mountain face is where we saw several vultures taking  flight from there camouflaged hideaways within the mountain face high above us. Such a special and rare moment of surprise for us all. With that in mind and the end of our walk in sight, our thoughts turned once again to lunch in the village to replenish our batteries….. A perfect end to the day.

                

 

Day 5.

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Our last day we revisited the Benifallet mountains and trenches taking a different shorter route back to the village. Gerard cheekily jumping down to take a closer look inside a trench tunnel..    I took some great pictures… What a walk to end on!! Thanks Gerard, Helen, Tim and Sue, for your fabulous company through out your stay with us….  It was a pleasure getting to know you all and guiding you around the place I call home. xxx

 

 

 

 

Font Nova, edge of Els Ports Xerta – 23rd November 2017 –

  I couldn’t wait to show Mum around some of the spectacular walks in the area so we headed off first to Font Nova and picnic area. Font Nova is one of the 4 fresh water springs in this spectacular landscape. We filled our water bottles before starting our short, easier walk near by, on the edge of the vast Els Ports natural park. We walked for over an hour in the beautiful country side with the sun shining down, a lovely easy walk on an old farm road, which is part of one of our walks to see an amazing giant pine tree and then 3 of the 4 natural water fountains (fonts). I had another lovely afternoons walk, spending some quality time with my Mum who did exceptionally well considering she’d not long had a hip replacement. xx

                 

 

Cycling down the Via Verde – 4th November 2017 –

I know this isn’t walking but I did say I would be posting something different next time. So here are a few photos and my account of this amazing bike ride. Me and Chris and Debbie set off to Horta Sant Joan where we picked up our bikes and started the 25kilometer journey down the via verde (green route) between Horta and Benifallet. I’d been told the scenery was breath taking and I wasn’t disappointed. We gently pedalled down the rolling road passing through numerous old train tunnels, with torches in hand, as some were long and very dark. There were surprises at every tunnel opening, every corner and bend. We crossed an old bridge just outside Bot. It was stunning, standing tall and elegant, its arches stretching up from far below. A beautiful piece of architecture, we just had to stop and take some photos before continuing. Our journey took us past several villages and through some of the most spectacular scenery. Along the cycle track with countless pine trees on either side, following us down, through many tunnels, we passed stunning mountain ranges, almond plantations, ancient olive groves, a vineyard, rock pools, shaded picnic areas and so much more. Three hours after we started our journey, we finally arrived at our destination l’estacio de Benifallet which is a group of old station buildings that have been renovated into a lovely restaurant and bar. This is where we had a very much needed, delicious and well presented meal. L’estacio is situated in the most beautiful pine treed area, so peaceful and relaxed. We sat eating, sipping our glasses of wine and chatting about our adventure, while watching other cyclist passing by. What a perfect end to an amazing day spent with great friends. I hope you enjoyed my post. If anyone is interested to find out more please PM me. Take care until next time. 😉 xxx

 

           

 

GR99 Benifallet/Miravet. October 2017

Hello to everyone, it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything about my adventuress walks. I’ve been so busy getting ready to launch my new web page which is nearly finished so I’ll be making an announcement in the not too distance future. Anyway I can’t wait to get back into my write ups so here goes, I just had to write about a walk I did with the lovely Loes and Erwin back in October last year. Those of you who have been following me probably recognize the photos being the walk along the River Ebro, between Benifallet and Mirevet. We did the journey there and back some 17.4 kilometers and with 2 short breaks it took us around 6 1/2hrs. A beautiful sunny autumn day, taking as always some amazing scenery shots, I must have done this walk dozens of times and I never tire of it, changing of the seasons makes everything look quite different throughout the year. Well hope you all enjoy the slide show. More posts to follow soon. xx

        

              

 

La Moleta/Vall del Infern. Chapter 1. Oct 3rd 2017

Tony tried to prepare me for this journey we were about to embark……. but I don’t think anything could have prepared me for what lay ahead. We set off early one Sunday morning and as we drew closer to our destination, slowly winding up the steep narrow road towards Font Nova, all I could see standing tall above us, was a spectacular mountain in the form of a very large table. Set in the middle of La Vall d’Infern, Dels Ports. Our goal was to reach the top….. We parked our cars and walked past “Font Nova” one of the many natural water fountains in this area. We started walking upwards, through tall pine trees along the steep well worn path, stopping along the way to take in the breath taking views. When we eventuely reached the open maintain we followed the narrow trail made into this lush mountain side, surrounded by stunning 360 degree mountain views and the tabled structure we were soon to climb getting closer by the minuet. The closer we got the more nervous I became. I’m not good with great heights, so by the time we arrived my heart was pounding hard and fast and I was shaking from head to foot, but I wasn’t going to be defeated. I started my climb, slowly navigating from one metal run to another, these had been strategically fixed into the rock face to make the climb more manageable. By the time I reached the metal rope further up, my heart was beating faster than ever, but I did it with cheers from everyone else as I arrived at the top. Too frightened to stand and walk from the shear drop on either side of me. I crawled on my hands and knees until I reached safer ground. I then took a look…..wow.. wow.. wow.. amazing, spectacular. We walked to the other end of the table top, and straight in from of us we could see the coast, a thin strip of the sea glistened in the distance as did the River Ebro far below us, we could make out Benifallet, Xerta and Aldover, all looking mysterious through the hazy mist of the early morning. I looked behind and from side to side, we were surrounded by majestic mountains, just so beautiful, and peaceful….. When you think things just can’t get any better, from out of nowhere appeared a group of Vultures, 7 or 8 of them, dancing before our eyes, their huge wings sparkling in the sun light. They were weaving around on the thermals, right in front of us searching for food far below. They stayed with us for a few minuets, then one by one they glided off until they were no longer visible…………. What a treat!!
My next post I’ll be sha
ring more of this amazing adventure, I want to thank Tony for arranging the walk and everyone else for making another memorable day packed with adventure, excitement and it definately left me wanting to come back. Hope you all enjoy the photos/story and keep posted for my next instalment. xx

 

      

          

 

La Moleta & Vall del Infern.  Chapter 2. 12th Oct 2017

Heard the expression “What goes up must come down!!”. That’s exactly what we were about to do. After climbing this gigantic table like structure (“la Moleta”) we now had to make our descent. We all walked from one side of this magnificent rock to the other and started one by one climbing back down. I carefully navigated my way until I reached Terra Firmer. I felt both incredibly proud and relieved to have done this, I never thought I would!!. Still in ore of the scenery we continued our journey up another mountain, along a very narrow, open path, steadily getting higher and higher until we reached a split in the path. We turner left within minuets finding far below us the beautiful village of Pauls nestled between the spectacular mountain range. After taking more photos we returned to the split and proceeded right going further up until we reached the highest point. Amazing, we could see everything from this vantage point La Moleta and far beyond it, the coastal line. After a short rest under a pine tree we collected our things returning down the same path. We had to pass La Moleta to continue our journey, seeing it from a different angle it looked even taller and bigger, I stood there for a few seconds not quite believing I’d been to the top!! To be continued………

 

 

        

        

        

 

La Moleta & Vall del Infern. Chapter 3. 26th Oct 2017

This is the final chapter to my wonderful adventure at Els Ports where we climbed La Moleta and walked the beautiful Vall d’Infern. After leaving the highest point we made our way back down the valley and crossed to the other side of the mountain gently climbing our way back up the narrow path with spiny shrubs on either side. We started to decline again and my breath was taken away with the spectacular needle like rock formation which stood in front of us. After taking several photos we carried on around the mountain, following another small path but this time it was in the side of the mountain, with staggering views far beyond at every turn. We stopped for a late lunch at one of Els Ports natural mountain fonts. We were all so relaxed and mesmerized by the landscape far below and beyond from this spectacular vantage point. Refreshed we continued our walk, slowly navigating our way down the mountain and then through the lower forest and within an hour we were back at the cars and heading home remembering our amazing day full of the fabulous rock formations, lush vegetation and trees,the rolling tracks and paths, amazing views from dramatic heights and of course the display of majestic Vultures soaring in front of us looking for food far below……..I will definitely be back. Next time I have something a little different. xx

 

            

            

 

Miravet to Benifallet.  17th September 2017

On my last post me and my son George visited Miravet castle. Well we couldn’t do the castle and miss the walk from Miravet to Benifallet. The GR99 is some 12 kilometres long. After having refreshments in the square of Miravet which overlooks the famous River Ebro, we started our journey. The day was especially hot being the end of August, so with a large bottle of cold water in hand we set off along the green walk which runs along side the river. Where ever we go in this part of the world the views are amazing and this route is just as stunning in it’s own special way. Anyone thinking of trekking along this walkway your camera is a must so you can capture the beauty that presents itself at every turn. The first part of our journey was open and high above the river, giving spectacular river views with the castle in the distance. We past several working farms and 2 beautiful log cabins perched high above. When we reached the bend in the river we had to walk up a steep well warn path leading us to and through the largest orange plantation on this side of the river. This is when the terrain changed dramatically, with narrow rickety paths winding through a forested area, we past through trees covered in ivy, creating tunnel like areas that we had to pass through, with the strong smell of pine at every step we took as we trod into millions of pine needles that have dropped from the towering trees above. We also passed caves, hidden in the rock face above and one next to the winding path, perfect shelter for forest animals or just a hole for adventurous children to explore. When we reached the other side of the covered walk the terrain changed again, with Benifallet’s rural farmland at every turn, passing citrus, peach, apricot and olive groves, farm houses and working locals tendering their land. We walked along this well maintained farm track until we reached the end of the GR99. Reaching the village we celebrated with an icy cold drink and a well deserve dip into the refreshing pool, well it was August after all. 😉 

 

           

            

 

Miravet Castle – 6th September ’17

Yesterday me and my son George, decided to visit the 11th century Castle of Miravet. This is one of my favorite guided tours. The Castle perched high above the mountain, looking majestic, it’s vantage point overlooking the village, River Ebro and  far beyond. We started our journey across the river where we made our journey on foot crossing to the other side, on the oldest self propelling ferry in this part of Catalonia. This part of the journey was relaxed and peaceful, with amazing views of the village and castle above. We then started the energetic hike up to see the castle. The views from above were stunning and well worth every bit of effort we made to get there. It took us around 30 minutes to walk around the castle and grounds, taking lots of photos at every given opportunity as the views are spectacular and for those who don’t mind heights the castle turret is an absolute must.

George ventured up to take some amazing photos, leaving me in the chapel below, checking out the strange musical display in the chapel hall. Sporting two ghostly plastic sheets circling around every minute with the spooky musical symbols in the background.
We both thought the castle was well worth a visit for those wanting to see and learn a little about the history behind this magnificent structure and riverside village.

 

                                 

 

 

 

Baranc/Dry River Bed. 30th Aug 17

                 

 

After a long hot summer we finally had a day of reprieve where we were able to walk the mountains again. We left early in the morning with freshness still in the air, abundant clouds above but no sign of rain so me and the girls started our 2 1/2hr trek through the Benifallet mountain tracks. A memorable, energetic morning walk with me guiding the lovely Silvia, Corina, Jessica, Stephi and Jane.

 

                                     

 

Baranc/Dry River Bed. 23rd March 2017

                                       

 

Just got back from a 3hr invigorating walk from the trenches to the baranca (dry river bed) with George, Assu and Rosie. After heavy rain fall Sunday, it was great to get back out on the now dry mountain trails.