Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Losing track of time

Rainbow over Ager, Spain

A great indicator of really being on holiday from day-to-day life is losing track of time. In this regard, we've done great and, thus, consider this trip a huge success. It's already Tuesday night, day 11 of our trip, and we weren't sure what day it was when we woke up this morning. And we woke up to a partly cloudy sky after a few really enjoyable days the past few days.

Since I last posted on this blog on Saturday, we've done quite a bit of climbing and a little bit of tourism. Sunday we drove 45 minutes south to the village of Santa Linya to climb there. It was a gorgeous day with no clouds--a first for us since we left Barcelona. We climbed at the Futbol wall outside the village and had a blast. I'd best describe the rock as "chunky" limetone--slightly overhanging, soft grips and athletic climbing. This area was a favorite of ours in Spain thus far. We both really enjoyed the style of climbing and the scene. Sunday was Easter Sunday and it was surprisingly busy around the villages. Santa Linya climbing is really know for the spectacular Cova Gran, a gigantic cave offering huge enduro routes. Needless to say, we did not climb in Cova Gran but did enjoy going to check it out.

Allison takes in the view of Cova Gran

When we got back to our apartment we asked Gaspar, in my broken Spanish, if his restaurant downstairs was open for dinner. He said not normally but that he'd cook us steak and potatoes if we'd like that. Absolutely! So at 9pm, we headed down for a super tasty steak dinner with french fries. Gaspar and his wife (and another man that we don't his relation) kindly served dinner to just the two of us. In addition to the steak and french fries, we had a bottle of tempranillo red wine, bread and jamón serrano with olive oil drizzled on it. It was a pleasant and tasty meal.

Monday we had another leisurely morning before heading down to the local crag, Collegats, to climb a few routes at a limestone sector called L'Argenteria. It was cool and shady climbing in the morning but we still enjoyed three distinctly different routes--a slabby route, a bolted crack/dihedral route and an overhanging, heavily featured route sporting badass tufas and neat rock fluting out of a cave. After a few routes we decided to head north into the Pyrenees and to the country of Andorra to cross "visit Andorra" off our bucket lists. Granted we didn't see much of Andorra beyond the downtown area of its capital, Andorra La Vella, but we enjoyed a tasty lunch of pizza and Allison's new favorite food, tapas de ham croquettes. It's been a lot of fun driving the very European roads of Catalunya--narrow, winding and fast. In some of the towns great care must be taken on the car-and-a-half width roads. A driver with a poor sense of situational awareness wouldn't last long here.

Looking down at the town of Sort, Spain with Pic de Peguera (9,776') flocked in new snow
Today, Tuesday, we our most fun day of climbing yet. And surprisingly it wasn't at any of the "big name" crags of Catalunya but rather at a small, generally unimpressive-looking crag called Tartareu. For us, it was just what we were looking for--nice weather, slightly overhanging climbing with good holds on somewhat chunky rock. And what really made it nice is that we had the entire area to ourselves all day. No others smoking and no noises save the birds and winds. To top it off, we both climbed well and really ate up the athletic style of climbing. The soft grading didn't hurt our egos either.

Allison being lowered off a super steep and fun 7a+ route called Brom de Por at Tartareu
This is our last night in our fantastic apartment at Camping Beta. Tomorrow morning we bid Gaspar and the town of Baro adieu and head 90 minutes south to Lleida. Thursday night will find us back in Barcelona at a hotel near the airport and Friday we leave Spain and arrive back in New Mexico around 9pm (assuming no travel delays).

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