Avencs de la Febró

Yesterday, I went with NCAT to a beautiful place in the Prades mountains that I’ve never seen before. Last week we went to scout it out, just to see where it is, and it’s a good job we did, because it’s easy to miss the entrance down into it (though the gorge itself is easy to locate).

Inside was markedly colder, and there was a point where you feel the temperature change as you descended. It’s 40m deep, and all the way through there are holes and little caves where the water has burrowed through the rock. There was a huge cave which had a circular tunnel that reconnected with the main chamber (with a huge group of people, mostly kids, I thought I’d leave it for next time).

I was surprised to find a cave at the end of the gorge when I shone my torch down what I thought has a simple hole. It turned out to be a small tunnel that led to a cave which could fit around ten or more people, standing. The big cave was full of visitors, but this one I had a moment alone, and felt at peace within the Earth. 🙂

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NCAT

(Nature Connected Activities in Tarragona)

Last month we walked along Playa Larga near Tarragona and had several nationalities: a Dutch couple, a Portuguese, a Greek, several Spaniards, a Venezuelan, a Scotsman, an Englishman (yours truly) and a Swiss woman (Mika) – it sounds like the beginning of a complex bar joke (but it wasn’t, lol).  It was a beautiful place with forest right next to the sea. This month we go to the Febró ravine; I’ll tell you about that.

Recently we had our first NCAT English meet up. We were asked recently if we had outings specifically for speaking English, so we obliged and created a new branch of NCAT. This group is more for people that want to practice their English in an informal setting. We do have a few exercises to learn some basics, but just something simple whilst we walk. There’s plenty of extranjeros (foreigners, like me) that want to learn Spanish, so why not an NCAT Spanish?

We also have NCAT Eco-Art; the first workshop will be the end of this month. Here we use natural materials to create works of art (mandalas, “touchscapes”, etc.), but working with ecopsychological principles by becoming aware of the natural world around us with senses little used!

Here are the links for each group:

NCAT – for excursions and activities out in nature.

NCAT English – excursions in nature, learning and practicing English.

NCAT Ecoart – artistic activities in nature, combining natural materials with ecopsychological principles.

Caves and Monasteries

032Saturday we went with our Meet up group, NCAT, for a tour around l’Espluga cave –  apparently one of the longest in the world. It has had a long history, going back to the neanderthals and there is evidence of other human use. But it’s tied into natural and human history and evolution, which makes for an informative and inspirational visit.  We only went as far as the tour in the first part of the cave. The second part is for speleology activities, and I haven’t been to it… yet! Wouldn’t mind doing that one day. Afterwards there was a reconstruction of a Stone Age village, which you can see in the picture above.

After that a few of us went to the Monasterio de Poblet, which really took us through layers of history.036

Here There Be Dragons

To the north of me – some way inland from Barcelona – there is a dragon. It’s body stands out from the land around it, a long rocky shape with a jagged ridge on its back. It is a sleeping dragon that has been there for a long, long time, and may be there for a long time yet.

I am talking about Montserrat (lit: serrated/jagged mountain); whenever I see it I am impressed by it’s shape. Geologically it is distinctive, and it stands out from the pine covered hills that surround it. It has a length, with a tail end and head end, and looks for all the world as though a dragon has come along and is sleeping just there. It is also a shrine to a Black Madonna, a fitting symbol for something with roots in the Pagan, earth- and Goddess-worshipping past. The Goddess and her dragons are still alive and well in these lands, hidden in plain sight.

Roman Tarraco

I went to Tarragona to do the tourist thing again; it never gets boring as the history is very deep. You can’t dig anywhere without finding a bit of archeology.

“You’ve found an ancient Cessetani* coin under a lettuce root? Throw it with the others…”

They built a shopping centre with an underground car park and kept some archeology there on display instead of just demolishing it to make more car park.

It’s typical of Spain to have a juxtaposition of new and old – they build a brand new sparkling skyscraper with all the mod cons and next door there’s a goatherd grazing his goats (for instance) – but Tarragona has really gone all out, building flats on the old Roman walls – apparently the oldest Roman walls outside of Italy – and sunbathing on a beach next to an ampitheatre/church/prison/tourist attraction (depending on what era you’re looking at).

2000 years or so of history; I don’t think I’m going to get bored any time soon, lol.

* name of pre-Roman Iberian tribe in and around Tarragona area.