Friday 24 June 2016

five weeks in Spain - part 2 - flowers

We have visited Spain and Catalunya for rock climbing many, many times - in fact we've lost count! We've always visited either in autumn or winter. This year, the rain in France drove us south in springtime and it turns out it was a fantastic time to visit. We had wonderful, sunny days, 3 big, memorable hail storms, cool weather for climbing and we were treated to the best wild flowers we have ever seen.

Both David and I probably said 'Look! Here's a new kind of flower.', about a hundred times in the past few weeks.

Here's the visual story with a handful of the hundreds of photos we did take.

Spanish alpine flowers, Castello Mayor, Pyrenees

This plant eventually gets large and leggy, but it's leaves are so perfectly sculptural when small.

Flowers in towns abound, both untamed and rampant and in tended window boxes. You can see the sketch I did of this little nook in Rubio in my previous post.

Who doesn't love fluffy pink flowers?

Lilies? Sometimes there would be so many of these in one spot it would make walking a bit stressful ;-)

More pretty whites.

And some sketches....

Alpine flowers near Ager, Catalunya

Pretty window boxes in Laspuna, near the Pyrenees, Spain

I pushed open this little wooden gate into the cemetry and was treated to rampant, wild, untamed meadow. Perfect!

Oh the joy of fields of poppies. Never tire of it!

Part 3 of this series will be climbing, but due to the relatively small number of photos I think I'll probably just stick to the story of climbing in Riglos.

Check back soon.

Monday 20 June 2016

five weeks in Spain - part 1 - little villages

We are back in France after 5 weeks in Catalunya and Northern Spain. A mostly climbing trip I did manage to do quite a lot of sketching and David did do a little jumping.

Our first trip to Spain in springtime, we had better weather than we have ever had on our usual autumn trips. We discovered a number of new, wonderful places, made new friends, hung out with old ones, and revisited some of our favourite places in the world.

Here's the first part of the sketching story ... exploring little villages.

We started in the Lleida region. Two years ago we made our first visit to this awesome climbing area, but the rainy autumn weather meant we didn't get much climbing in. We vowed to return.

Day 1 and sketching already! In the back of Rubio, Lleida region, Catalunya

Me sketching the 1000 year old Ermita De Sant Bartomeu near Alos de Balaguer

Ermita Sant Bartomeu near Alos de Balaguer, Catalunya. David asked me to put our van in the sketch, so there it is, just peeping in. The old and the new, and part of our van-life story. Still considering doing a series of these.

The church in the super-tiny village of La Clua, also near Alos de Balaguer, Catalunya.

Then on to Siruara - famous amongst climbers. Its a very picturesque village sitting on a ridge with big cliffs on either side. One of our all-time favourite places, we have visited often, our first visit being back in 1995 before it had achieved any fame at all. I've sketched the perched-on-top-of-the-cliffs-view often, so here is a back-of-the-town-view most wouldn't spot.

In Siurana, Catalunya

And nearby Arboli, also in the Prades mountains.

Onto Riglos. The pretty village nestled below big, conglomerate towers. Our second visit here, our first being back in 2008, we had forgotten just how special this place was. A climbing and sketching paradise ... I was torn! But I got to do quite a bit of both, and we know we'll be back.

The town of Riglos is dwarfed by the large conglomerate towers behind and home to many vultures.

Then, new for us, a visit to the Sobrarbe region in the Pyrenees. We spent most of our time in the Bielsa valley and around the national park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido. Oh my goodness! I didn't do nearly enough sketching here - definitely need to return again soon.

In the old Roman town of Puertolas, in the Pyrenees, Spain.

In the town of Bielsa, Spain.

Coming soon!
Five weeks in Spain....
Part 2 is flowers - read it here.
Part 3 will be climbing in Riglos.

Check back soon :-)