There’s this hike. A top ten on my list. Starting from our door, it’s about 5 km up to the village of Camelas, which itself is film-set worthy, a 1000 year old Catalan village high on its rocky lonesome. We live in Camelas bas, this is Camelas haut.
This sign from the 60s says “Millennial village that doesn’t want to die. Hope, work, smile”. A place with heart.
Pretty, and evocative.
So this time, with kids, we started from above Camelas haut, winding up the zig zag road in the van. Four of us then climbed (and one of us, who shall remained nameless (and also picture-less), obstinately objecting to the outing, remained fiercely in the van. Sigh). Anyway, 4 of us climbed up a steep path towards the top where St Martin di Roca perches, a chapel and hermitage with stillness and presence, after all this time withstanding the wind and sun.
With Claire as Vanna White for the day
The kids, bounding effortlessly ahead while I puffed along, came racing back shouting. There were goats snugged up against the church sheltering from the wind. And not just petting zoo creatures.
…and here’s Tris gadding about in their midst
They had free range of all the hills and mountains, so they were not expected back on some farm shortly. I assured the kids they would win in hand to hand combat, while Tris danced around among them trying to get the best picture and the kids and I wondered (me, loudly) if that was such a good idea. Kind of like Banff, where you don’t feed the bears. As the cover photo shows, Tris was ready for goats or vikings.
Pretty sure he’d win.
So we entered the church, where a candle was still burning at the alter from a recent pilgrim. We tiptoed through to the back rooms to look out the stony window perfectly framing Canigou.
Unfortunately Canigou was woolgathering with its head in the clouds.
Jordan dashed in and out, torn between exploring inside and wondering if dad had been charged by the biggest billy goat gruff yet. Somehow they ignored the insult of our presence and, anticlimactically for the story (sorry!), we headed down the hill towards the smaller billy goat waiting for us in the van.
And coming home, tamer neighbours. This is our neighbour’s house, 100 feet along from our place in our hamlet. A little sign says Fier d’etre Catalan. And then there’s the dog of the house, who likes to lie like a shaggy grubby dishrag of a carpet in the lane, with no interest in moving himself out of the way.
No last words from him, as usual.