I connected with the friends I met here in April, Duván and Alberto. The former is the very gifted artist who drew what I call ‘my Don Quixote’, at present gracing my living room. And today we went for lunch. And what a lunch!
Besalú is situated in a valley surrounded by mountains about 35 kilometres from the sea, at an altitude of 150 metres. The restaurant was at the highest point of the highest mountain within sight, at 1200 metres. The road up was narrow, winding and ever rising. It was quite a challenge to deal with oncoming cars. So nice to be in the back seat for a change! How to choose among the photos; this one gives a good sense of the interplay of the elements from the summit. On a clear day we would have seen forever, but the mixture of elements made this day so memorable.
Not the greatest photo because of the intensity of the light – it is more than a 1000 metres almost straight down. You can get a sense of our eagle’s nest and view of the valley floor through the window. The salad was delicious. Then came the pièce de résistance – a risotto with wild mushrooms and fresh sausage – there is a theme emerging.
Divino! Sabroso! Delicioso! Understandable in any language! Notice that the clouds have totally encircled the mountain top. The valley has disappeared. Assisted by wonderful conversation in Castellano, we did manage to finish the risotto, if there was ever any doubt about it – Alberto and Duván did help.
Miraculously the sun began to reappear and the effect was magical. The valley floor, 1000 metres below, would appear out of the mist, below layers of the ominously dark clouds. A transcendent effect – hard to capture. It was also constantly evolving, changing, transforming.
On the descent after lunch, we stopped to visit the ruins of the original monastery, constructed in the 10th century, somehow at 900 metres above the valley floor, this one not quite as removed from the world of sin, but what was much more fun was our own search for wild mushrooms along the road. We would spot, stop, jump out and collect. Here is Alberto’s pride and joy!
We had quite a harvest in the trunk, with some with wonderful red and orange tops; even I got in on the excitement. But alas! the verdict from a young man in the town was that they were all malo – inedlible, dangerous. But who cares? we were thoroughly enjoying ourselves in the quest. This is the improvised sculpture in their home when I visited for coffee and conversation the following morning.
A final photo and video to try to give some idea of the beauty of this part of Spain on this particular day with the mixture of weather, of brilliant sunshine and constantly changing cloud formations and the interplay between these elements, not to mention the brief hailstorm on the way down. First the photo, then the video.
I am enjoying doing this; it has become what I do during siesta in the late afternoon. I am also enjoying your comments. Just scroll below.
Muchas gracias a Alberto y Duván!
Here is a link to Duván’s website. <http://es.duvanelpintor.com/obra/dibujos/>
It should open at a series of drawings; simply by clicking on the thumbnails, you can enjoy some of his work. The very first one, of Don Quixote, is the one I brought home in the spring. In the list to the left, you can click on pinturas to see some of his canvases, esculturas – his sculptures, arte digital – should not need a translation, and procelanos – pottery.
A friendship, from last spring, strengthened during these few days, which will draw me back to Spain.