This chomping noise woke us up.
I pulled back the tent flap and saw first of all the wild horses then behind them, blue and massive, rising dramatically from the other side of the lake, the blue, jagged peaks of Els Encantats, the Enchanted Ones.
I breathed in the early morning air, so cool and clean and pure.
On the way down we had to pass through the strangely silent and lifeless Vall dels Ocells, the Valley of Birds. The air was humid and brackish. Most of the trees were either dying or dead. Trapped between the valley’s steep walls was the whiff of something vaguely unpleasant, perhaps wood that was old and wet and decomposing.
In spite of the valley’s name, the only bird we saw was a sinister and solitary crow.
We reached the arid plateau above the river just before noon. It was stiflingly hot. We tried to buy some provisions from the trading folk but I was unable to make myself understood in any of their three languages. They showed not the slightest inclination to trade or communicate with us.
It was a relief to move on. Those flies!
At last – the green trees, the river and the long plain that goes on to the sea. This view sent my childhood rushing back; it at least hasn’t changed, thank the good lord.
We are to be heard of at the Eel Pie House, Twickenham, where we shall dine at half past five or thereabouts and where we will take care of you if you come. E-mail us if you can’t.