Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 7: Saturday, November 26: Mas Alba

            We woke up to our last day of riding to bright sun and warm weather again! Had a delicious meal made by our cook of the night before, David, toast, almond cake, cereal, OJ and coffee. Headed out to see the horses and give them their breakfast at ten, after we went and visited the three miniature ponies who live here. We then brushed, tacked up and mounted after the horses were done eating, for our long morning ride of two and half hours or so. We took first more flat roads through an old town of just a couple houses, but then we started to head back up more into the mountains and hills as we got farther from the planes near the sea. We had beautiful views of big open fields and bright sun as we went in and out of forests until we had to stop as one of the horses had lost a shoe. Despite the fact that the guide and Tom, whose horse had lost the shoe, went back a ways to see if they could find it on it they ended up having to get one of the spares out of his saddle bags and put it on instead. We arrived at our picnic spot around noon, located next to an old church it provided lots of sun and a great place to take a siesta before riding on. For lunch we had salad, as well as a very interesting cold melon soup, I thought it was good though definitely very strange! We also had traditional Catalan flatbread pizza with spinach and goat and brie cheeses on one, and tomatoes, onions and brie cheese on the other. Dessert we got to sample another Catalan delicacy, a type of fresh cheese that is almost like cottage cheese or Greek yogurt that you then drizzle honey all over the top of, creating yummy sweet and tart flavor. After our long siesta in the sun we mounted back up for the rest of our journey at around 3:30. Where we are staying for the night is actually the horses permanent home, and you could tell they knew we were going home as they were all walking a little faster then normal and ready to gallop when we let them. We continued along mountain roads, up and down hills, and through smaller trails towards the end of our journey. When we had almost arrived at our destination, we had to trot along the road again, one even bigger than before, and even around a rotary, before reconnecting with a small road. The road headed up a hill past the huge field where the horses stay when they aren’t out doing trail rides, there were roughly fifty or so horses out there already, all just milling around together. We continued riding up to the top of the hill to the barn and the house we are staying in for the night. After un-tacking the horses and giving them their dinner, we put all their tack and saddlebags back where they go in the tack room. There were tons of saddles and brides, one for every horse they have. There were also individual little shelves where each horses packet of extra shoes are kept, so each of us had to take them out of the saddlebags and put them back in the right cubby so that they’ll be ready for the next ride. Once everything was put away properly we walked the horses back down the road to their pasture, turning them out one by one, some meandered off immediately but most of them rolled the second we let them go! We all then hiked back up the hill and went inside the house so we could find our rooms for the night. The house is clearly pretty old, and stone so it was a little chilly for dinner, however we had very cozy and comfy beds in which to sleep after our long day. However, before we went to bed we had a dinner of salad and goat cheese that the women who owned the house had made herself. I liked most of it though some was very strong, not like goat cheese in the US. We had a soup dish for the main course, spinach and chickpeas in a broth with hardboiled eggs, good and warming since we all were a little cold. Lastly, there was dessert of a dense chocolate cake and homemade ice cream, then coffee and bed after a long day. Tomorrow we are leaving for the airport at ten, as it is an hour and a half to two hour drive to the Barcelona airport from where we are on the other side of Catalonia from where we started. We are hopping to have enough time to get in to the city of Barcelona to look around before our flight to London at 6:30, we’ll have to see if there is easy transport into a good part of town from the airport. 

The miniature ponies.

A beautiful old house we passed.

A rode that we had to ride along in order to cross over a large highway.

Our lunch.

Siesta time!

The barn where we put the horse tack, and in front an adorable fjord.

Our room for the night.

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