Some of the best village ramparts in France
Another cold night. 2c this morning but bright and clear again with no breeze. We set off before 10am having dropped the grey water and filled up with fresh water. I do love free services! Our route today takes us further up into the hills in the north of Penedes. The road started out quite wide but was really twisty once we started climbing. Very little traffic which was a relief and when we did meet something it was usually one of the wider, straighter bits. After the next small town, Torrelles de Foix, we were climbing up within a narrow gorge but the river in the bottom of the gorge was completely dry. We found ourselves in several gorges today both going up and coming down the otherside. We drove over several passes with signs for the Cols but few had the height marked. We think were probably somewhere in 500 – 600m mark. There are still vineyards all around us even after we got right up on to the plateau. Stopped for coffee at a picnic area just outside Vallidosella beside a huge, ancient looking church.
It was quite a quick drop down the other side past Sant Creus monastery and back on to the coastal plain and the fast roads as far as Reus. Here the main road climbed sharply up over two more passes the last and highest of which was 554m. The drop down to Fastlets from that last pass was dramatic and had amazing views.
Our lunch stop was near the bottom of this range of hills at a picnic site beside the Hermitage of Sant Gregoire. The red sandstone in the immediate area has been sculpted in to amazing shapes of the years and the little chapel is built inside a sort of open cave. Sadly the actual chapel was locked so we could not seen in.
After lunch and a good look round we headed on to our overnight stop at El Masroig just 10 miles beyond. The cooperative cellar here runs an aire in their carpark with free services. It is a nice spot on the edge of the little town with great views over the vines and olive groves. Of course we had to go and see what they offered. The lady there spoke French but not English so she asked someone else to have a chat with us. Turns out he is English but has been here over 20 years and belongs to cooperative to process and sell the oil from his olives. We bought a 3 litre box of red wine on his recommendation, 3 blocks of olive oil soap and a jar of orange blossom honey for less than 20 euros.
On return to Bertie we found another van had parked beside us and it was British! We had to have a chat as they are the first British we have seen in Spain. They were a really nice young couple who were living in their van full time and travelling throughout Europe. Like us they are heading south for the winter. We might see them again as we go!