Spanish landscape

We woke up late and enjoyed sardines on toast for breakfast in the warmth of the awning. Already it looked like the weather forecast was wrong - the sun was out in a cloudless sky when cloud and rain had been foreseen.

We showered and dressed not having discussed our plans for the day. It was beginning to warm up and I took my glass of water to the edge of the terrace on which Cleopatra was pitched. Here the views over the valley between Spanish mountain ranges were immense.

'Shall we just stay here and sit in the sun?' I asked Tony. 'If it clouds over later we could walk back in to La Fresneda because we haven't had a proper explore.'

Tony agreed, chilled out and willing to just go with the flow.

So we brought the two chairs out into the sunshine and I fetched our Kindles and we sat in quiet bliss, sun beating down on our faces, reading our books in the quiet solitude.

When I looked up occasionally, engrossed in the green and lush landscape below I couldn't decide if I was content just to see it or whether I wanted to be back out walking in it as we had done the previous day. We had walked for two hours to El Salt, a natural waterfall where the river Tastavins falls 20 metres into a pool below. It had rained overnight and the unpaved roads had turned to clay which clung to our walking shoes making progress slow, but it had been enjoyable - we've never walked in a landscape like it.

On the final part of the walk to El Salt we crossed a main road from where it was 35 minutes on foot. Several cars passed us on this stretch, their occupants cheating as far as we are concerned, the reward at the end not earned as we had.

We were slightly disappointed to find little water - the waterfall was just a few drops and the pool was murky brown and shallow when internet images show it plentiful and a vibrant aquamarine. Nevertheless we enjoyed the unique landscape and imagined how it would look after rain.

It was the walk we'd enjoyed most though, heavy as our feet were from the clay track underfoot. The terrain surrounding us consisted mainly of olive groves on the terraces between mountains of red rock. It was green and lush in places and yet parched-looking and unforgiving in others.

We passed little in the way of civilisation. Besides the muddy tracks, only a couple of farm buildings showed that humans sometimes visited the land. We saw no people, though their unfriendly dogs, fortunately tethered, made their presence known.

So I sat, on the day following our El Salt hike, torn between enjoying the landscape as a spectator sitting above it in the heat of the April sunshine, and my desire to be inside it, getting my feet muddy and absorbing it by becoming a part of it.


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