Yesterday was hot, not a day to venture far, or do anything unnecessary, but this afternoon, I arranged to get out and visit John in El Perello. I drove there early to visit the 'Bona Fe', the church shop first, and explore the area a little more than I've had opportunity to on previous occasions. There was a cool breeze and it wasn't so hot and humid, giving a little more incentive to make good use of my expedition.
I found a road that went up and out of the village with signs to an Ermita. On the way I found a monument to thirteen militiamen of El Perello, who died in battle against Castilian forces in 1640. The monument is a twenty-first century construction and reflects regional pride in Catalunyan identity and the resurgence of independence aspirations. A little further up the road is the Ermita de San Cristofol (St Christopher in Catalan). Its construction was begun in 1885, but not completed until 1976, by which time a completely modern chapel had been built, and a large terrace of trees and picnic tables laid out with views across to the Ebro delta. Such a surprise
I've heard people talking about El Perello Playa, and seen the tourism signposts at the same N340 junction. The beach is down a narrowwinding road 7km from the hill village 140m above sea level. The road passes through beautiful terraces of olive trees, neatly arranged with dry stone boundary walls, and more wonderful views across the Ebro delta. It came as a surprise to go over the brow of a hill and find an extensive modern urbanización, and a hotel/spa complex, near the sea. The beaches are fringed by pine trees, with picnic tables planted in the shade, and an elevated walk way adjacent which is wheelchair friendly for several hundred metres. All very well thought out, kept simple and free from commercial over-exploitation. Another splendid discovery.
I then drove to John's house on a hillside overlooking the sea on the way back from the beach, only to discover he wasn't there. When I phoned him, I discovered that I hadn't absorbed the fact that he was temporarily in a residencia in El Perello itself. Ten minutes later, we were reunited and chatted happily for an hour and a half. On the journey back to Vinaros, I had to resist making my journey longer with a diversion into the delta, having seen quite enough to digest for one day.