Parador de Cardona

Trip Start Jun 28, 2010
Trip End Jul 07, 2010

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Where I stayed
Parador de Cardona

Flag of Spain  , Catalonia,
Sunday, July 4, 2010

Now with pictures!

As a forewarning I've left my camera cord in the car which is parked halfway down the mountain in the parking area and I've eaten way too much food to make the hike.  There won't be any pictures with this entry, so if you skim the text and only really pay attention to the pictures, then stop reading and come back tomorrow.  I know who you are.

I was up early this AM after a bad night's sleep with a splitting headache.  Our original plan was to drive up to Figueres to the Dali Museum and then over to Cardona to the castle, but because I wasn't feeling so great, we decided to come straight to the castle.  We will save Dali for our next visit to Spain.  Sad for now, but something to look forward to.

Driving in Spain is not as scary as what they say on the internet.  The roads are very good.  Over the past ten years they have built many new toll roads.  They are somewhat expensive, but good roads and hardly any one is on them.  The locals do drive fast.  They speed right up behind you and then whip around you in a flash.  I just let them go speeding by and give them a friendly American wave.  Sometimes they honk, so I think they appreciate my friendly gesture. (wink, wink)

Once in Cardona there was some confusion as to how to actually get to the castle.  It's right there in front of you, the monster of the landscape, yet the road to it was hard to find.  In true Spanish fashion I think our GPS lady had started hitting the vino around mid-morning, because she was sending us on roads that weren't there, or were really sidewalks; but we eventually made it up a series of mild switchbacks with beautiful vistas on each side.  Of course the parking lot was still about halfway down the mountain - we hiked up to check in and decided the best option was to pack an overnight bag and leave everything else in the car. 

After exploring a bit and taking some pictures we decided to walk into town.  The path in is down a series of gently sloping medieval roads that switchback down the mountain.  The trip down- not bad.  The trip up - well that was a different story.

Once in town we meandered through the medieval streets up and down, the whole town sits on a hillside and the walkways wind through the buildings past shops and bars and cafes.  Today was "market day" so in the main square were tents where the Spaniards were selling vegetables, clothes, shoes, bags etc.  The main square, Place de Fira was packed with all the townsfolk drinking beer and eating lunch. 

We strolled around more and found the local pools where we may go tomorrow if it is as hot as it was today - which was very hot for climbing a mountain!  Which we did, after our adventure in town, we started back to the castle, up the steep medieval road. It was hot.  The slope was grueling.  It was the best workout I've had in a long time, but we made it.

It's probably because we do things like hike up the side of the mountain to the castle that gets us readily recognized as Americans.  We think it's funny that we can walk in practically anywhere and they greet us in English or hand us the English version of the menu.  We don't even have to say anything.  It's a it the tone of our skin?  The greenish blue eyes? The bewildered and confused look on our faces?  How do they know....

Back in our room, we cooled off and watched some British television and then took a long siesta of three hours.  Oh, that was the best nap!

Tonight we sat on the terrace and gazed over the Spanish countryside.  Then we had dinner in the castle dining room which was quite delicious.  Chelsea had vegetable pasta and I had something Catálan called Las Migas del Pastor which was a fried egg on top of sausage stuffing served with several accompaniments such as melon, smoked whitefish, cured ham, olives, bacon pieces, something I didn't recognize and something else.  All delicious.  Then we had dessert - oh my.  Chelsea had the Catálan dessert which was similar to flan in Texas - creamy custard with caramel sauce and toffee ice cream.  I had a way too sweet, way too rich white and chocolate mousse and the teeny tiniest cup of the most delicious coffee.

And now it's late and there won't be any fireworks for us tonight as the rest of the U.S. celebrates the 4th of July!  We will be quietly snoozing away in our castle.

Buenos noches!
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