Yesterday I had the most amazing day in the company of an acquaintance, a friend to my dear friend, Susan Cloyd, who is sequestered in her Morristown cottage while recovering from hip surgery. Susan had written to her friend Xavier and mentioned that I was in Barcelona. Xavier, very generously, dedicated a whole day to me. He picked me up and then aimed his car northwards … I did not know where we were going but it was a treat to have a change of scenery, from the urban metropolis of Barcelona to the verdant rolling hills around Girona.
Our first stop was Monells, a beautiful medieval town perfectly preserved. Rothenburg, take note. You have a long way to go … Unfortunately I was in over-load with information, so please forgive me Xavier if I misquote. My memory tells me that it was primarily a Jewish community established in the X century (right?) and in the XV century the very Catholic “Reyes” – Ferdinand and Isabella – expelled everything and everyone that had contributed to the wellbeing of their kingdom: the Jews and the Moors.
From Monells we drove through more idyllic pastoral country although I did not see any livestock or shepherds. I was, however, reminded of the rolling hills of the Beaujolais and Tuscany. Our next stop was the perfect retreat from the hussle and bussle of the modern world – there was a very evident absence of traffic, wifi and other technological intrusions into one’s tranquility. We were in the ancient fishing village of Sant Marti d’Empuries. From the perfectly manicured properties, streets and public square this is hardly a fishing village. It has been transformed into a very chic resort with not a single fisherman, fishing net or skiff in sight. The coast on the other
hand was a magnificent backdrop to my reverie. I imagined the arrival of Levant merchants with their exotic cargo to trade with the Iberians fishermen of old. A lovely restaurant across the street from the Xth Century church
provided sustenance for the body but somehow the surrounding also contributed to sustenance for the spirit and soul. From time to time, during our meal, the bells of the church were a reminder of the passing of time. After lunch my intrepid guide lead me toward the Greek-Roman ruins of Ampurias. Unfortunately it was after closing hours but what I saw through a wired fence made me conclude that this was a site to which I would need to return.