Monday, 4 April 2016

Spring is springing ...

Here, on the sunny Costa Brava, Spring arrives a little earlier than it does back in London. And there are already lots of signs that things are heading in the right direction. In the evenings, after the day's work is done, there are more and more people taking a stroll across the sand on the village beach.

The South Wind, the Migjorn, has been blowing in from the sea bringing us foggy mornings and sunny afternoons, and carrying with it the promise of warmer summer days to come. Hurrah!

Down in the port they've got one of the Magic Boats in the dry dock for some fixing up ahead of the summer season. Normally they sail up and down the Costa, ferrying sunbathers, scuba divers and day-trippers from one pueblo to the next.

The beautiful, scarlet Costa Brava poppies are blowing in the wind once again.

The old fig tree at the start of the Via Verde has started to form fruit.

At this time of the year it looks like we're going to have more fruit than leaves, which suits me very nicely - although most of them are way out of my reach.

And here's the first underpass on the Via Verde, which starts at the port in Sant Feliu and carries on all the way up into the Pyrenees. Once upon a time a little narrow gauge railway used to follow this route. We've still got one of the engines in the boat shed at the end of the quay. Way back when most folk didn't have a family car little trains, with not-very-powerful engines, used to chuff up and down the line from the Costa to the mountains. But then the world changed. Everyone bought a car. No one wanted to wait for the little train that stopped in every pueblo between here and France.

Business got so bad that they had to close the railway, which left them with the challenge of what they could usefully do with the tracks. Their gradient was gentle; they went round and round, slowly, slowly making their way up the mountains. As I mentioned those little steam engines weren't very powerful, and it was only with easy climbs that they were able to make it up into the high Pyrenees. Then someone very clever hit upon the totally genius idea of turning the very-easy-to-climb railway tracks into cycle tracks, and the Vias Verdes were born.

And they're totally brilliant - the very best tracks to go cycling on. For one thing just about every station along the route has been turned into a watering hole where you can wet your whistle if the pedalling gets too much. And, for another, they take you through some beautiful, unspoilt countryside.

The WonderDog and I walk along it a little distance most days that we're here. In Sant Feliu it curls past the old boat yards, and winds its way through to the other side of town. We meet and greet lots of other dogs and their owners. We admire the flowers, and look forward to lazy, balmy summer days.

All the best for now, 

Bonny x

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