Having returned to a maelstrom of meeting and projects following 10 wonderful days in Catalonia, I’ve at last found the time to pen a few words about the area where we stayed and the lovely section of the GR 99 Camino Natural del Ebro, which ran past our front door.
Miravet is a pretty village of tightly packed streets seemingly hewn out of precipitous rocky slopes above the mighty Rio Ebro. A crumbling church serving as a museum and Templar Castle crown this charming settlement.
Digs for the week was the Casa Petita, a beautifully restored traditional house set over three floors. Small and perfectly formed, it was ideal for two and provided a welcome contrast to four hectic days in Barcelona.
Chief attractions of the valley are its history and stunning produce: olive oil is ever present in local stores and makes its mark on the landscape, along with the excellent wines from the Priorat and Montsant regions.
Outdoors opportunities abound too. Kayaking is naturally popular, along with angling for the Ebro’s alarmingly large Wells catfish, while some excellent walking and mountain biking routes snake through nearby mountainous terrain.
Although here to kick back rather than kick off into the hills, I couldn’t resist following the GR99 along the Ebro. I left early one morning to avoid the searing heat of midday and was greeted with stunning clarity and density of light… The kind that characterises fine September days in the UK when we (used to) have them.
After Miravet, the trail cuts through farmland, passing sleepy fincas. As the rocky walls of the valley close in, progress becomes a little trickier. Here the trail crosses boulder fields and hugs the thick stands of bamboo that line the Ebro. It reminded me a little of the West Highland Way along Loch Lomond.
Sadly, I didn’t have a walking map at my disposal on this trip. Had I have been properly equipped, I would have found a decent circuit out of Miravet and other appealing options in nearby hills. I didn’t mind, though. I was satisfied with the four hours of peace and solitude before the sun reached sufficient height to melt any enthusiasm for further exertions.