We didn’t really fancy the long drive for the Monday Club walk today, so we arranged to do a local walk with Dave, Sue and (of course) Charlie. David is doing a report on the Monday Club walk on his blog http://rosemaryydavid.blogspot.com/We have not done this walk for two or three years, and I was not sure that I would remember it all. It starts with a climb up the wooded hills above the leper hospital of Fontilles. At the top is an abandoned building which was once a music room. Someone had left a piano outside and Jan could not resist doing her Jerry Lee Lewis impersonation.
The collection of artistic cairns which we had been impressed with on our first walk are still there, though not necessarily in the same place.
The weather forecast promised a cloudy day with possible light rain. We did not have the rain, but we did have bitterly cold winds to go with the cloudy sky.
Dave and Sue offer walking holidays in Parcent, and he takes photographs of his walks for the Casa Carrascal blog. He is particularly fond of local flowers, so this is a view we are quite used to.
It was too cold to stop for long, so we kept up a good pace. We soon arrived at the wall surrounding Fontilles. The high wall runs for miles over the surrounding hills, and we found the door locked. It was secured by a bolt, and fortunately there was a gap in the door so we could slide it back to get in. Otherwise it might have been a very long detour.
Fontilles was founded as a leper colony in the early part of the last century. It is still used as a hospital and training centre. The buildings are large and impressive, especially the church. The grounds cover a large area, and are always very peaceful and quiet. A lovely place to visit.
It is only a short walk back to the car, but by now the wind had died down and the weak sun was quite pleasant, so we had a short break. Coffee for us, water for Charlie.
Dave and Sue had booked lunch at the Parcent Cooperativea, and as we had not eaten during the walk we were pleased to join them. We have been there for lunch before, but I was quite surprised how busy it was today. Because of the weather we all sat inside.
Apparently each Monday they offer a local meal called Puchero as part of the menu del dia. It is a very rustic stew, with huge portions of vegetables and a lump of fat which it is cooked in.It sounds, and even looks, pretty grim. But it is very tasty and just what we needed after our very cold alternative Monday walk.
Castells circular walk. Meet in the village just before the T junction. Plenty of parking on the main road through the village.