Today being Good Friday I thought it would be a good day to go for a ride. I was planning to drive to Sant Climent Sescebes, a village about twenty minutes away. Someone posted a photo the other day of a field of poppies at Sant Climent, and since I’ve been dying to see a field of poppies, and since I’ve never been to Sant Climent, now would be the time to just do it.
Cupcake wanted to come. But he hates riding in the car. Well, I figued it wasn’t far and soon it will be too hot to take him anywhere or do anything except the shortest of walks, so he came too.
The ride was beautiful and not far before we arrived at San Climent, I saw poppies off in the distance. There was a village there so I turned off the road and headed in. I rarely drive all the way into the center of a village. They are usually very small, the streets are medieval, very narrow and often one-way, going in every which direction, so once you drive in, it isn’t always that easy to find the way out. I avoid the stress by parking the car at the outskirts and walking in.
The outskirts here had a vineyard. I liked the look of the vines so Cupcake and I walked over that way so that I could take a couple of photos. There was a farmer riding his tractor through the vines, clearing out some of the weeds. I took my photos and then started to walk to the center of town.
Someone was calling. I turned, and it was the farmer. I thought he had been calling to a guy riding by on a bicycle, but no, he was calling me. So I went back to see what he had to say.
He just wanted to talk. I guess he was pleased that someone thought his vines were pretty enough to photograph. We chatted for a while. He told me he no longer took his grapes to the cooperative in town because there were now too few people left and the cooperative in the village had closed down.
Cooperatives are one of the things that stand out about Catalonia and that say something about Catalan culture. One hundred years ago, every town and village had a cooperative. Many of them are still operative and some of the buildings are stunning, built in the Modernist (Catalan Art Nouveau) style, although the one in this village just looked like a plain warehouse.
So he takes his grapes to another nearby town that has a thriving cooperative (I’ve bought their wines), and his grapes get blended with others to get bottled under the label of the co-op. But he does make his own olive oil. His name was Josep. I wanted to take his picture but he wouldn’t let me. So I took a picture of his John Deere tractor instead.
The village was Masarac, population 280. In my meandering, I saw no shop, no cafe, only houses, a winery, the city hall, and something that looked like a castle, everything built of stone.
At the center there was a small shady, grassy area, and I climbed the few steps to let Cupcake off the leash and wander a few minutes on his own in the shade. The day had become nicely warm, but for Cupcake that meant uncomfortably hot. Up there was a man with a bicycle, maybe the same one who had passed when I was looking at the vineyard. He was a bit scruffy but friendly and started in chatting. He talked about hunting dogs. Twenty of them that he kept. Didn’t sound good to me, but I made no comment. When you go walking on country paths, even the one I regularly walk on, during those times of the year when hunting is allowed, you can sometimes hear the guns. Turned out the dogs weren’t his. He took care of them for someone. He doesn’t live in the village, he lives in Sant Climent. And whereas I thought he said he didn’t eat meat, which I thought was a bit strange for a hunter, it turned out that he doesn’t eat meat on Good Friday, and doesn’t understand how everyone has barbecues that day. I didn’t take a photo of him either.
I wandered around a litle longer but Cupcake was telling me he was wilting and it was time to head back.
Like I said, these villages were built in medieval times and the streets run every which way. This turned out to be a good thing because it allowed me to stumble upon that field of poppies that I had seen earlier. It was actually an olive grove carpeted with alyssum and poppies, and it was just beautiful.