All posts tagged: Catalonia

What I know about almonds…

Before I moved here and inherited the stewardship of hundreds of knackered old almond trees, I only knew that almonds were tasty and full of goodness. As they¬†are the wonder-food of the moment and loved especially by those going easy on the grains, many of us will be aware that they’re a ‘good thing’ to try and incorporate into our diets. Specifically, they’re high in monunsaturated fats, (which are believed to lower cholesterol), they’re packed full of protein and contain vitamin E, magnesium and potassium, and have been found to reduce post-meal elevations in blood sugar. Almonds can now claim the coveted label ‘superfood’. I wasn’t unaware of the rise of the almond; I had the Helmsley and Helmsley cookbook, I was ready to replace the flour in my quiche with ground almonds at least once – I’d maybe chop a few on top of my salads and cereal – but that was probably, honestly, the extent of my knowledge of this particular prunus. These days however, as we’ve been on this land from harvest …

The Future is shed-shaped

Before we left last January to travel around Europe for almost a year, there was a big question mark over our future as a family. People often asked us what would happen when we returned to the UK, what were our plans, how would we manage to get a house again having spent most of our money? They were difficult questions to answer because, genuinely, we didn’t have a clue. For a long time, probably since the days of reading about the children of Cherry Tree Farm running wild about the countryside chatting to nature -loving hermits in Enid Blyton’s books, I’ve had romantic longings for a life lived on the land. In recent years however, with eco-systems increasingly under pressure from the continued pillaging of our planet’s resources and the rampant beast of consumerism crushing everything in its path, I’ve felt necessity take the place of romanticism. I find myself unsure of what to do in the face of such global ecological chaos, but with an instinct to return to the land. Overly alarmist …

Stopovers 6 – Peniscola to St Chinian

#51 Camping La Volta, Peniscola This stop was listed in Camperstops Europe as a five euro stopover but was actually a campsite with campsite prices (albeit very reasonable ones). Peniscola seems to have lots of cheapish campsites and although it’s an established beach resort, is not without its charms. There’s an absolutely huge stretch of sandy beach and a very pretty old town complete with hilltop castle as well as the usual resort distractions. We didn’t expect to love it, but we were surprised by how much we liked it. #52 Camperstop at La Casa de Fusta, Ebro Delta¬† This was a totally unexpected find and turned out to be a real highlight. The Ebro Delta is a fascinating place and the visitor centre, complete with camperstop, has plenty to offer everyone; a fantastic restaurant, punting, museums, wildlife watching, boating, cycling and plenty more. The camperstop is fully catered for and costs around 5 euros a night. There’s plenty of space and you can spot rare and exciting birds from the comfort of your van! …

Finca Slow – Regenerative Farming and Friendship

Ana’s embrace was full of the goodness of friendship and familiarity, goodness I’d been craving. We pulled over by the fountain in the centre of Ginestar and jumped out, grinning to see her waiting for us in the shade, beer in hand; shiny with mid-afternoon sweat and beautiful, she led us to the bar. And so began one of the most precious weeks of our trip. Ana lives in a yurt with her two children, Gabriel and Ofelia, on a piece of regenerative olive farmland called Finca Slow. This little slice of Catalonian rural paradise is owned by, and home to, Dan and Johanna McTiernan who also live in a yurt on the land with their two children, Otso and Leo. Dan and Johanna moved here to live the modern agrarian dream three years ago; Ana and her tribe soon followed. Here the two families live without grid electricity or mains water supply, amongst almond and ancient olive trees. It was in a little shady patch between these almond trees that Ana and Rob pitched …