Caminos de Ronda (Part 1)

The Coastal Trail from Begur to San Feliu de Guixols
La Costa Brava translates as the Wild Coast in English, and although those of us from more northern climes and especially anyone familiar with the Atlantic Ocean might think the “wild“ moniker is a bit of an exaggeration, there is a lot of very rugged coast along here and it is really the physical nature of the coastline that earns it the name Costa Brava rather than anything to do with the weather. (Thankfully!) If you want to really experience the best of this coastline the best way to do so is by going for a walk along the caminos de ronda, which can loosely be translated as ‘coastline walks’, although there are caminos into the interior too. 

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Stargazing

Whether you have a keen interest in astronomy or just feel like doing something a little different, the Parc Astronòmic Montsec (or PAM for short) is well worth a visit.

Located about an hour’s drive north of the city of Lleida (approx. 3hrs from La Costa Brava) PAM can be visited both by day and by night. The conditions for stargazing are so outstanding here that it has even been classified as a “Starlight Reserve” endorsed by UNESCO. Apart from the obvious gazing at the stars, planets and nebulae at night time, our own star, the sun, can be observed on day visits and there is also an explanatory film shown, in case you’re not an expert! Guests can learn about all the different equipment at the observatory and there is also an exhibition devoted to the protection of nightlife against light pollution. The mobile dome measures 12 metres in diameter and is completely retractable Entry fees range from €7 to €10.50, depending on the time of your visit and you can check the opening hours on their website.

Let’s go hunting… mushrooms!

Once the autumn rains begin to fall there is a well-established tradition in many parts of Spain, especially Catalunya, of heading for the hills and hunting for mushrooms. And yes, it’s hunting! The locals don’t call it picking, gathering or foraging for mushrooms – unless maybe they’re referring to the likes of us blow-ins who don’t really know what we’re doing! While in English we might in some contexts use the verb “hunt” to mean “looking for”, in both Catalan and Spanish they specifically use their verb for “to hunt” (caçar / cazar) as in “to pursue and capture” when they are talking about hunting mushrooms in the wild.

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