Monday, 15 May 2017

L'Escala - my field in France, a blue Med day?

San Pere Pescador to Cala Montgro, - 9 miles

Gill's utopian musings concerning the bucolic delights of days spent in a  'field in France' make regular guest appearances here. I wondered recently, what is my equivalent,, what is my idealised happy place? 

Today, as we cycled back from having a tapas lunch in L'Escala, I realised what it was. We had hopped off the bikes momentarily​ to photograph a sculpture​ group depicting a Catalan town band. Not only was the work lively and beautifully observed, but its position on the promenade beneath a silver green maritime pine with the deep blue sea as a backdrop could not fail to delight the eye and lift the spirits.

As we re-mounted I commented, "It's a real Blue Med day." I realised immediately, that's it! - my 'field in France' is a 'Blue Med day'. Immediately I felt compelled to define, what exactly constituted this state of near Nirvana. So,  taking today as my starting point.:

1. Clarity of light

Blue Med days are so clear the horizon looks as if it has been folded down the middle, or it's a slender  hinge.connecting sky and sea.

2. Soft air

There must be a measurable, scientific explanation to why some days the air feels beautiful - pleasurable on bare skin and the simple act of  breathing feels good for you. Maybe it's not a physical thing about ozone particles and low humidity, perhaps it's all in the mind. Whatever the cause there was something a little voluptuous about today, as if the light breeze actually wanted to waft the scent of flowers and herbs towards us as we rode through the pine forest and up to the headland.

3. Warmth 

High of 25 degrees, low (in the small hours) in the mid teens - which means shorts and tee shirt weather all day but cool enough in van for a good night's sleep....perfecto.

4. Mediterranean prospect

There is no one definitive Mediterranean landscape - but hereabouts manages to conform to a clutch of brochure stereotypes - pellucid sea, pine forest and rocky cove; a sweeping bay with distant view of snow topped mountains; a hill of white houses beneath a deep blue sky...

5. Inviting briny

Cala Montgro says, "If you don't jump in I will take it as a personal affront - do you think being this clear and sparkly is easy?" 

These are the essentials, but other considerations include: 

6. Potential for a great lunch

Today - tapas with a view of the Bay of Roses and the Pyrenees. We chose - anchovies, diced cod in batter and patatas bravas - yum.

7. Something thought provoking to read ...

8. Great local produce

9. Nights as lovely as days

10. The same forecast for tomorrow. ....

There is another essential, at least for me, but it is more a of a pre-requisite, an enabling condition without which none of the foregoing is possible. Travel becomes far more  inspiring in the company of a sassy, barefoot companion, who right now, as I  sit here on Cala Montgró beach, is wandering towards me having gone for a bit of a paddle. Rats, she has spotted that I am pointing the phone towards her and paused to give a big smiley Gill photo pose, which is great, but not the sneak shot I was planning. ...

Once you have grasped that, apart from within our own febrile myth-constructing minds there is no heaven, then the frail paradises we create for ourselves here and now assume a profound significance. A blue Med day with Gill, a simple but delicious lunch, an afternoon swim, a lounge on the beach with an interesting book - Gill with Tim Moore, me with Roland Barthes (each to their own), a languorous evening outside the van cooking a cous cous, then eating it slowly as the sky grows dark and the first stars glint between the pine tree fronds....When life is good you must savour it, there are no guarantees, nothing is certain, we cannot be blessed, there is no transcendent being to perform that act; so, when a mixture of good fortune and careful planning gifts us the perfect blue Med day we embrace it,; celebrate the moment, setting aside our sceptical, calculating selves we accept our blessings are imaginary,  but count them anyway.

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