By Veronica

It's complicated

For an easy walk along a river valley visiting medieval bridges, it was remarkably complicated.We left the house early and by 9 a.m. had dropped one car in Lladorre and driven the other to Ribera de Cardos. Witness the Romanesque church (with 18th century "improvements") of Santa Maria de Ribera. Within 10 minutes of setting off, it started pouring with rain. Luckily we were right outside a very swanky campsite with a bar, so we sat on their covered terrace for a second breakfast.

The rain eased off and we arrived at a consensus: everyone else was going to continue with the walk despite the weather, while I chickened out and returned to the car. This turned out to be very efficient. S supplied me with his shopping list and I drove the 3 km to Ainet de Cardos, then queued for 25 minutes outside the cheese shop,. By the time I got to the checkout, the other had arrived on foot, and the weather had brightened considerably. S appeared outside the shop and convinced me to join them, so I put the shopping in the car and complied.

Well. In principle it was an easy and pretty walk, but it was 20C and 99% humidity. Horrible. However, we survived, and we sat down for lunch in Arrós de Cardos. Much debate about the weather and whether to go on. A was feeling pretty ropy by this point but insisted she was well enough to continue. The next part of the walk should have been delightful, were it not for persistent showers and increasingly feeble walkers. By the time we got to Lladros, A was universally judged not fit to continue, so she and I rested by the medieval bridge while G and S yomped on to Lladorre to fetch G's car and come back to collect us.

Of course, our car was still parked outside the cheese shop in Ainet, so G drove us back to pick it up. At this point, it was cloudy with rumblings of distant thunder. In the two minutes it took for us to retrieve our stuff from G's boot and run across the road to our car, we were bombarded with a blizzard of bullet-sized hail mixed with rain. Soaked within seconds, we decided we'd sit in the car and wait it out. How lucky were we that this didn't happen while the enfeebled A and I were sitting on the river bank waiting for the others!

It was so violent I didn't believe it could last for more than 10 minutes, and I was right. Once we could see out of the windscreen, S drove cautiously back to Bordes de Graus through sheets of surface water. So glad we are not camping. And yet ... within half an hour of our return, the skies were blue, the sun was shining, everything was sparkling, and the tarmac was steaming.

A revived somewhat after a siesta, but not enough to eat in the restaurant as planned, so S and I cooked dinner: courgette and goat's cheese salad followed by old favourite espinacas con garbanzos and local cheese.

I have added a few photos to my album.

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