The lights below rose up slowly to meet us with the distinctive waving motion produced by the gentle roll of the plane.
The cabin lights were dimmed for our night landing, so the traffic could be seen clearly and I experienced a temporary loss of orientation as I watched cars driving on the 'wrong' side of the road.
But with the disorientation my heart also beat faster – we were flying in over Barcelona; the adventure had begun.
Beyond immigration we shouldered our packs and strolled out into the warm night air. The cloudless sky, though washed by a neon glow, showed a broad vista of stars and we basked in the promise of long sunny days walking forgotten trails through the high mountain wilderness.
A week later I crouched beneath the edge of a large boulder. Clouds rolled in never ending waves up the lower reaches of Vall de Mulleres before turning abruptly and soaring towards the Serra de la Gerbosa where they turned again to launch a chilling downpour over the upper valley. The view was awe inspiring as the shifting air currents generated ever-changing patterns in the mist. But our cramped accommodation beneath the boulder was, quite literally, a shit-hole.
Chapter index - skip ahead by following the links below:
Chapter 1: Pyrenean foothills, please; one way
Chapter 2: Lovers and fishermen
Chapter 3: Visions and vistas
Chapter 4: Shattered dreams
Chapter 5: The mountain gods
Chapter 6: Catching the drips
Chapter 7: Ghosts on the col
Chapter 8: Teeth of the storm
Chapter 9: Stealing the solitude
Chapter 10: Voulez vous!
Chapter 11: The yellow goblin
Montjuic Placa Espanya, Barcelona
Wikimedia photo, reproduced under Creative Commons licence