The Ebro – the delta with rice fields and Tortosa

Tuesday – we head off about 50km south to explore the last kilometers of the Ebro on its way to the Mediterranean sea. The delta and – more towards the mountains – the town Tortosa are our target.

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Rice – omnipresent in the Ebro delta

The Ebro delta looks like the hook of an anchor: In the middle there is the river branching into arms with lagoons. Two sandy spits go off to the north and south. The Ebro delta is one of the largest in the Mediterrenean. It has developed in the last eight centuries due to the deforestation which made the Ebro carry soil down to the Mediterranean sea.

In the delta rice fields under water dominate the scenery, among them a few villages.

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Black and white egrets walk here on their long legs. A large part of the delta is a natural reserve, also visited by migratory birds – great for bird observers.

In Deltebre we buy some rice products – rice “as such” and licor d’arròs amb herbes (rice licor with herbs). They even sell rice beer (not for me, I am not a beer drinker…).

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Adventurous track on the sandy narrow spit going south

We continue to El Muntells and the Camping Eucalyptus. Here we find tracks that lead on to the sand. We follow them going south. Ever once in a while, we come across another car. It is a wild and lonesome scenery.

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We cross this water passage…

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… and stop at a small xiringuito (beach bar) with a large selection of drinks and food.

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We join four Germans with four dogs of varying size – from “calf” to “guinea pig” – all four the color of sand – the smallest, the “guinea pig” barking loudly.

It is very windy. My credit card, identity card and driving license fly out of my wallet and start to hop away on the sand. I run to catch two of them, but the driving license has disappeared. Finally we find it under the wooden beams of the xiringuito where the wind had carried it to. Uff.

We continue to drive south, until Ursula shouts: “stop, see, we are here, on the spit. This goes nowhere…”. Right. And our car cannot swim, once we have reached the end of the spit. We drive back to the Camping Eucalyptus and then follow the Ebro to Tortosa.

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Tortosa  – a brave Catalunyan city

Tortosa, founded by the Iberians, then taken over by the Carthaginians and the Romans, was liberated from the moors in 1148. Highlights are the old city, the cathedral and the fortress that is now a parador.

We find a “blue” parking slot in the old town. I set my blue parking card to 7pm and we walk across the bridge to the old city center. In the middle of the river Ebro we see this monument:

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Franco has erected it to commemorate his victory of 1938 – over the republicans, and the Catalans had supported the republicans. 70’000 soldiers were killed here. A sad memory.

We stroll along the narrow streets…

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… and then walk around the fortress hill, and walk and walk and walk, until we finally reach the gate. This is the fortress which is now a parador…

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… with the view of the gothic cathedral (closed after seven pm and uncompleted, as many such churches are here).

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This is the view of the mountains, just after the rain.

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Lesson learned: Blue zone in Spain is not equal to blue zone in Switzerland

Coming back to our car we find a fine of 40 Euros. Hm. Pretty expensive. Only later we understand that in Spain, blue zone means that you have to buy a ticket and place it under the front window. This is different from Switzerland or Germany where “blue zone” means “set your blue card to “show your time of arrival” and get back in one and a half hours”. Okay, the fine is, what we call “Lehrgeld”, meaning “paying for a lesson learned”.

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Dinner at the Petit Normand back in l’Hospitalet

We return to l’Hospitalet shortly after 9pm which is still early for Spaniards to have dinner. The “Olla” on Via Augusta 40 has changed its name to “Le Petit Normand”. I have a delicious rabbit with a glass of Granatxa from Montsant and Ursula enjoys duck. Excellent place. The owner is from the Normandie and has lived here for twelve years.

Another beautiful sightseeing day to remember îs ending.

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