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The Iberian Horseshoe — A Journey

Part IV. North East

All Souls Day

Steve Porter
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The train leaves the wheat fields of the Osona plain behind and the foothills of the Pyrenees get steeper. A meditating heron is perched on a rock by the river. The first chills of winter are blowing southward. Deciduous trees carpet the Freser valley with a seductive assortment of auburn, chestnut brown and ash blonde leaves.

“Mmmmm, isn’t this a great journey?” Mary says, putting her head on my shoulder. “Proper seasons, open space and houses with gardens instead of scrubland and tower blocks. What more could we ask for?”

“Yeah, life’s not bad,” I agree. “We’ve got enough money to visit some great places, and go cycling or walking in the hills. And Barcelona is only an hour and a half away when we feel like visiting a big city.”

Puigcerdà railway station lies at the bottom of the town in the Cerdanya plain. The town was bombed during the Spanish Civil War and consequently has a large bell tower but no church. Medieval streets are in short supply but Puigcerdà is very elegant nonetheless, with pedestrian areas running between latticed wooden buildings. The latest winter gear is on display in the shops and skiers relax at outdoor cafes and restaurants. Soon they will get into their four wheel drives and head for their chalets and the slopes of La Molina. Despite the sun it is cold enough to make the purchase of a woollen hat a good idea. We spend some time browsing the shop windows while listening to the chatter of skiers in this linguistic triangle. The cold Cerdanya wind whispers ‘neither France or Spain’ as the flag of Catalonia waves in the wind.

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Copyright ©Steve Porter, 2004
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Date of publicationJune 2007
Collection RSSGlobal Fiction
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