Bellprat – Cabra del Camp.
No hablo Catalan.
Having returned to Igualada I had to work out transport options back to the GR7. A taxi would be prohibitive but there was a bus back to Santa Coloma. The timetable at the bus stop showed two morning buses 06.45 and 08.15, had asked two drivers the night before and they assured me they both ran. But there was an asterisk against the later bus and I couldn’t interpret the footnote. You can get away speaking Castellon Spanish in Catalunya but everything written down is in Catalan which is impossible. The hotel desk couldn’t help. I decided to get up early Foregoing breakfast I was sitting in the cold waiting for the first bus to be sure of catching one. It arrived and, despite going a different route which had me concerned, I was soon back in Santa Coloma, the driver explained that there was no later bus because it was the Easter holidays. Thankfully there was a bar open. I was able to get coffee and croissants, order a taxi and warm myself next to the strange heating apparatus in the centre of the bar.
Turns out it is fuelled by the olive stones from the local oil crop. Very efficient. With the aid of the map I was able to explain to the taxi driver where I wanted to be, but when we got there I couldn’t understand his insistence we go elsewhere. Turned out he was giving me a guided tour of some local beauty spots at no extra cost!
He drove into a deep gorge with a unique Moresque, three sided tower and a church perched atop a small village, Santa Perpetua. [population 3]
Then he soon had me back to the GR7 and I walked through fields to Pontils another small village with nobody about except barking dogs. Had a second breakfast by the font. The day was warming and redstarts were everywhere alongside me as I climbed a forest track up to 750m. There were great views back to the Pyrenees.
Now it was downhill through limestone bluffs to another ancient deserted village, Vallespinosa.
There was a font with drinking water so I took the opportunity for an early snack lunch and a water refill, relaxing in the sun. Houses here had been renovated, presumably for weekend and holiday use. Walking out of the village I was attacked by a, thankfully small, dog — ski sticks prove their worth in these situations.
The way went up a valley on a lovely old path just inside the trees to reach the Coll De Valls 720m the hills opposite were crowned with wind turbines which were to become a common feature in the week. Smaller paths took me steeply over Coll de Romigueres and on through fields and then vines to the village of Cabra del Camp where I had booked a casa rural for the night.
The wines of this area are DO Conca de Barbera and the village of Cabra has its own wine cooperative. Called in there to buy a bottle of the local dark red [Tempranillo, Garnatxa and Merlot grapes.] to accompany my own cooked bean pasta.
Went into the local bar for a coffee and it turned out that the man stood next to me owned the house I was looking for – saved me a lot of wandering. Whilst in the bar I was given a bowl of ‘music’ a Catalan serving of raisins, almonds and hazel nuts accompanied by a glass sweet muscatel. Delicious. Arrived at my rented house for the night in a little side street.
It proved to be a large house with god knows how many rooms. The owner was very helpful and had lit a log fire for me [little did he know of my escapades with fires] I settled in, cooked supper, enjoyed the wine and had an early night.