Tuesday, 31 January 2017

A Month in Books - January 2017

I want to start this first reading roundup post of 2017 by saying thank you for buying your books through Literary Flits! My affiliate reports tell me that the books I sold during January included Such Little Accident by Mike Robbins and The Little Voice by Josh Sheldon so extra thanks for supporting Indie Authors!

Literary Flits hosted four great Guest Reviews in January. I love seeing what other people are reading! If you have an indie author, small press or global literature book review that you would like to share please do get in touch. It doesn't need to be exclusive content and you can check here to see if a book has already been reviewed. I look forward to hearing from you!

Guest Reviews

Such Little Accident: British democracy and its enemies by Mike Robbins

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Read the original book review on Literary Flits.

Rebecca Gransden was my first Guest Reviewer this month. She reviews Mike Robbins' provocative novella-length essay which looks at how the British electoral system, social media, bullying by business, and a growing gap between rich and poor have led to deep fissures in British society. An important work in the current political climate.

The Amazing Racist by Chhimi Tenduf-La 

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Read the original book review on Literary Flits.

DubaiReader discusses this humorous Sri Lankan novel which explores issues of racism, but from  the 'other side' when an English schoolteacher wants to marry a Sri Lankan woman. First he must win over her father who is vehemently opposed to such a match.

Dying For A Living by Kory M Shrum

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Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

Read the original book review on Literary Flits.

Olivia's Catastrophe is one of my absolute favourite blogs so I was especially delighted when Olivia herself agreed to share a book review on Literary Flits. She chose this fun YA story of a necronite - a woman who dies so that other people don't have to!

Sinkhole by Leo X Robertson

Download the ebook for free from its author via Dropbox

Read the original book review on Literary Flits.

I love the humour in Harry Whitewolf's review of Sinkhole and I hope that his imagined conversation with its author encourages you to give the book a read too.

My Reviews

A Brief History Of Seven Killings by Marlon James

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits.

My reading year started in sunny Jamaica with this Booker Prize winning novel that explores events surrounding an assassination attempt on Bob Marley in the 1970s. I liked the evocation of Jamaican life, but found this to be an overlong book. In fact both its title's assertions are fibs - far more than seven people are killed and the story is certainly not brief!

The Jacq Of Spades by Patricia Loufbourrow

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Buy signed books direct from the author

Read my original book review on Literary Flits.

I do like my steampunk stories and this one is the first of what is planned to be a thirteen-part series. It is a good beginning which presents a suitably fantasy-historic world based around playing card symbolism. I would have liked more steampunk inventions, but can see how, hopefully, they will come to the fore in future instalments.

Songs From The Violet Cafe by Fiona Kidman

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Pre-order the paperback from The Book Depository

Read my original book review on Literary Flits.

I absolutely loved this newly published New Zealand novel. It's my first five star review of the year. Kidman explores relationships in a small rural 1960s town, especially how one bohemian cafe owner affects the lives of those around her. Beautifully elegant writing and a thoroughly engrossing novel. One of my top three books this month!

The Man With The Golden Mind by Tom Vater

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits.

The first of two excellent Crime Wave Press books I read in January, this one is set in the little-known country of Laos in the immediate aftermath of the Cold War. Vater gives a lot of information about a country comprehensively destroyed by bombing and landmines, but without detracting from the exciting spy thriller which is our central story.

Eyes Of A Boy, Lips Of A Man by Nii Ayikwei Parkes

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits.

I stumbled across this poetry collection on Amazon and had to buy myself a copy because it is my first Ghanaian literature. I love Parkes' vivid imagery and the sensuality of poems such as The Bite which gorgeously describes eating a mango.

The Book Of Memory by Petina Gappah

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits.

I am not sure that this Zimbabwean novel quite reached its full potential, but it is nonetheless a fascinating read. We follow the story of an albino woman named Memory who tells us how she came to be imprisoned for a murder that she did not commit. Gappah explores how we perceive memories, how we might see something so apparently clearly that it could not possibly be mistaken, yet still be unaware of the real truth.

Persuasion by Jane Austen

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Buy the paperback from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Waterstones

Read my original book review on Literary Flits.

I've finally read my very first Jane Austen novel - and enjoyed it far more than I had expected too! As this year is the 200th anniversary of ane Austen's death, it seemed a suitable time to plunge into her work so I have set myself the challenge of reading all six novels within the year. One down ...

Death By Didgeridoo by Barbara Venkataraman

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits.

I love the title of this indie authored cosy mystery although the book is set in Florida, not Australia. I didn't realise ntil after I had finished reading that this is Venkataraman's first mystery novel. Good work! I have the next two in the series to read and am delighted to also be able to offer giveaways of the whole trilogy with their reviews. Keep an eye on Literary Flits to win your copies!

The Terrorists by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahloo

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits.
The of the classic Swedish crime series goes out in excellent style with Martin Beck being called upon to prevent a terrorist attack in the heart of Stockholm. Other than the lack of technology, I was surprised at just how relevant this forty-year-old novel still is. The prose hasn't dated at all.

Mark Of The Loon by Molly Greene

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits.

This crime story starts out more as women's fiction chicklit and I enjoyed Greene's writing through most of the book. She portrays strong and believable relationships, particularly between the four female friends at the centre of her tale. Unfortunately I didn't find the 'thrilling denouement' convincing at all.

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Buy the audiobook from Audible via Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Waterstones

Read my original book review on Literary Flits.

I have now experienced Anansi Boys as an audiobook and as a written book and loved both versions equally. Gaiman's inventiveness and interpretation of folk tales is superb. My Book of the Month!

The Bamboo Stalk by Saud Alsanousi

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits.

My first ever Kuwaiti novel is a thoughtful exploration of how it feels to live between cultures. Teenaged Jose has grown up with his mother's Filipino family, but then moves to his father's Kuwaiti home and must try to fit in to the unexpectedly hostile environment.

The Devil's Brew by Benedict J Jones

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits.

The third of my top three books this month, I loved the energy in this Northumberland-set crime thriller. It's not one for squeamish readers, but if you don't mind some scenes of gruesome violence, this is an exciting fast-paced adventure.

Since The Sirens by E E Isherwood

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Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

Read my original book review on Literary Flits.

This YA zombie apocalypse tale is a bit different in that one of its lead characters is a 104 year old great-grandmother! The book (and the grandmother!) does struggle with pace, but the overall storyline is nicely plotted.

Monkey's Wedding by Rossandra White

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits.

My most recent successful KindleScout nomination, Monkey's Wedding is published today! It is set in 1950s Zimbabwe and weaves details of traditional Shona mysticism and witchcraft with a historical storyline of racial segregation and oppression.

So that's my fifteen books from January and I have already got several great brand new books reviewed for February so make sure to keep an eye on Literary Flits! I hope you will find books you love via my reviews and, don't forget to get in touch if you have a book review of your own that you want to share. It doesn't have to be exclusive content and you don't have to be a blogger yourself!

Also don't miss my WorldReads blog post on the 5th of February. This month I will highlight five books by Swedish authors.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Bring back bottle deposits - @38degrees & Surfers Against Sewage petition

I mentioned the depressing sight of plastic beach litter in my last walking post. Discarded plastic isn't a particularly Spanish problem though, it's a global pollution disaster, which I am happy to support all efforts to reduce. I linked to a Greenpeace petition from that post. Today I want to share a 38 degrees email about an important Surfers Against Sewage petition on a similar theme.

38 degrees said:
Plastic bottles are littering our high streets, parks and beaches. They don’t rot, so they end up clogging up landfill sites and the sea.

Right now, the government is drawing up a plan to tackle litter in Britain. And there’s a simple solution. They’re considering starting a bottle deposit scheme: 10p is added to the price of a drink and if you return the bottle you get the money back. It would mean that millions of bottles would get recycled.

But they haven’t made up their mind yet, and sugary drinks company lobbyists are pushing hard to get them to drop the idea. A huge petition would prove to the government the public supports it, and could convince them to introduce the scheme.

‘Surfers Against Sewage’ are an environmental charity - and they’ve started a petition on the 38 Degrees website.
Can you add your name now? It takes less than a minute:

Plastic pollution is a huge problem, and a bottle exchange might feel like a small step. But from the 5p plastic bag charge to persuading supermarkets to switch to paper cotton buds, these little changes are adding up. It means we’re turning the tide on plastic litter and pollution.

Other countries are already using bottle deposits to tackle plastic pollution. In Norway, 96% of bottles are returned by people for recycling. We can clean up Britain’s towns, cities and beaches too. But first, we need to show the government that thousands of us want a bottle deposit scheme.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Walking from Camping Ametlla - olive trees & rocky beaches

Toucan guarding the motorway tunnel 
One of the big draws of our current campsite, Camping Ametlla just outside Ametlla de Mar, is its proximity to the Catalan GR92 hiking route which passes along the coast about 200m away from our pitch. We have now walked several 1-2 hours sections of this path in both directions and it has gorgeous scenery. The coastline is only half the story though. We also discovered pretty walks directly from the campsite by turning inland. A few days ago we again set out on foot from our caravan, but chose to start by edging through a somewhat flooded tunnel under the motorway.

Narrow agricultural roads (camis) criss-cross the land here in all directions as far as distant mountains so there are no end of routes to choose. The trick is to stick to camis that actually lead somewhere rather than picking those which peter out after a couple of miles, usually at a house guarded by a half-dozen loudly barking dogs! Fortunately Dave usually plans our wanders ahead of time by perusing Google maps. Unfortunately this was more of a spur of the minute excursion so ended up being an out and back walk rather than a loop!

Anyone recognise this flower? 
Like the Olive Gardens walk I blogged on Wednesday, most of our scenery was olive and carob trees with an occasional smattering of almond trees to ring the changes. I loved the colours of wild shrubbery along the roadsides and on unfarmed land. It is yellow-and-purple season at the moment so we saw bright yellow flowering gorse and whatever-the-pictured-plant-is interspersed with tall purple heathers and unbelievable amounts of wild rosemary with its delicate pale mauve flowers. It's a shame none of our regular meal recipes call for rosemary - there's acres of the stuff here growing as a weed! At one point, as we crossed a derelict field, we trampled thyme, releasing its beautiful scent. This might not have been the sunniest or most picturesque walk, but it was one of the more aromatic!

Eroded sandstone cliff 
We returned to Camping Ametlla after not much more than an hour so decided to extend our walk by looping down to the nearest beach, along that and returning by a tarmaced road on the other side. The walkway down to Platja de Santes Creus is sandy and passes between roped off natural spaces. We both were intrigued by this eroded sandstone cliff. The holes and caves make fabulous shadowed images against the glowing stone towards sunset.

We'd had strong winds for a few days prior to this walk so the beach was scattered with debris washed up from the sea. Much was natural including seaweed and lots of sea urchins and sponges that we hadn't seen in such numbers out of the water before. There was also a depressingly large volume of plastic items, presumably discarded from boats and on other beaches along the coast. Faded and worn, but still mostly recognisable as bottles, cigarette lighters and other common items, it was a reminder of just how much litter is swirling around our oceans and that it won't simply rot away as the seaweed will. Greenpeace have recently started a petition for a Deposit Return Scheme on plastic bottles in the UK. I think it's a great idea. For more information and to add your signature, Click Here.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

ThrowbackThursday - where we were on this date in Januarys past

Leia Charleson art at Beanzz Coffee 
I love looking back over my nearly five years of consistent blogging and remembering all that has taken place during that time. My life is very different now to how it was in 2012 that's for sure!

On the 26th January 2013 I went to my favourite Eastbourne cafe, Beanzz Coffee on Grove Road, and saw their exhibition of serene pastel art by local artist Leia Charleson. I loved the colour combinations and restful abstract images and got to ask Leia a few questions about her work which formed this Theatrical Eastbourne blog post. Initially born from a dark period in her life, Leia's art helped her cope with shocking bereavement and bring herself back to health.

Footprints in the sand at Tavira 
The same day in 2014 saw Dave and I about half way through our first European Caravan Adventure. We had just pitched up at Camping Ria Formosa near the pretty Portuguese town of Tavira. I liked this site very much, despite it having some of the dreariest weather we encountered that winter. They had a library room and, on nice days, walking along the river and around the nearby countryside was a real treat. I didn't have my bicycle then, but could happily return to Tavira in order to explore further afield by bike.

Pitched up at Roquetas 
We had just arrived at a new site on the 26th of January in 2015 too. This time our new home was Camping Roquetas at Roquetas de Mar in southern Spain. I liked its proximity to a long wide seafront promenade, but didn't yet know that in a few days we would visit the local Decathlon store where I would buy myself my now beloved folding bicycle (in the sale!) Roquetas was a busy campsite, but everyone got a double pitch in the low season so we never felt crowded.

Alfred Nobel factory at Paulilles 
And do we get a fourth country for 2016? Yes we do! Last year we were coming to the end of our nine week stay at Camping Casteillets in St Jean Pla de Corts. This was a great campsite for us because there was so much to do and see in the local area, and a low season offer meant that for every two weeks paid camping we got a third week free. The photo here is of Albert Nobel's dynamite factory at Paulilles which we visited at the end of January. It is now a fascinating museum with easy access to the coastal walking paths too.

This year we are, of course, in Spain, but who knows where we might be this time next year? The world is our lobster!

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The Olive Gardens walk from l'Ampolla

Olive trees near l'Ampolla 
Olive trees are such an iconic feature of the Catalan countryside that I was surprised to learn they aren't actually a native species. Originally introduced by the Phoenicians and the Greeks, olive farming really took off in the 7th century AD when Moorish farmers planted trees across the Iberian peninsula. It wasn't easy either. Over the centuries thousands of tons of rocks and stones have been cleared from olive orchards in an ongoing process. This rubble is put to good use though in the creation of distinctive terraces and dry stone walling, houses and water tanks. The needs of the olive trees have dramatically shaped much of the landscape around this part of the world.

Walk number nine in our Footpaths Of The Mediterranean folder, The Olive Gardens, took us on a leisurely wander through seemingly endless groves and orchards, mostly impeccably maintained, but with an occasional field that had reverted to scrub and looked abandoned. We also saw numerous carob trees which are similarly farmed on a large scale. When dried and ground, the powder is used in cakes and biscuits in lieu of cocoa powder.

Olive trees near l'Ampolla 
The walk was discouraging at its start as we left l'Ampolla by going under a trio of drab concrete rail and motorway bridges. We then walked alongside the noisy motorway for a short distance. However, once we turned away inland the noise faded and we could enjoy the scenery in peace. The route is practically all on reasonably well-surfaced agricultural roads (camis) and is mostly flat so would be ideal for cyclists as well as walkers. There is a circular cycle route which we found ourselves continually intercepting and crossing. If I remember correctly, it is a 16km circuit whereas this walk was 'only' 12km. We did struggle with the directions a couple of times as judging our distance was tricky without any GPS and we weren't always sure the junction we stood at was the one referred to. However we only briefly went very wrong once and this actually led us to a pleasant picnic spot for lunch so maybe it was fated!

Cacti near l'Ampolla 
On the return part of the loop we saw these huge cacti competing for space on a high bank.

We took a moment to peer through a fence of a For Sale property. There were some very cute little white painted houses along the way, all with their own olive fields and terraces, but this one would have needed more attention than we would have wanted - if we were serious about a purchase! I remembered Rudy and Annick harvesting their olive trees at one of our first Portuguese campsites four winters ago. It did look like hard work!

The end of the Olive Gardens walk was heralded by increasing traffic noise as we got closer to the motorway again. After the three bridge-tunnels we were back in l'Ampolla and our car. We didn't have to walk all the way back to the centre though. At this time of year at least, parking is much easier out by the number 2 on the below map than it is right by the Tourist Office (shown near number 1).

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Scottish Drop Scones recipe

Scottish Drop Scones 
Like the Scottish Oatcakes recipe I blogged a while back, Scottish Drop Scones have a hundred and one variations because everyone's grandma has their own special ingredient or secret method! They are a thick batter pancake rather than a scone in the jam-and-cream sense which, just to add to the confusion, is what Americans call a biscuit! We used to buy Scottish Drop Scones readymade and heat them up in a toaster for lunch, but once I realised how quick and easy they are, I now make my own. Freshly cooked always tastes so much better!

If you have self raising flour, use this and omit the baking powder. Wholemeal flour is also good if that's what you have to hand. I think a finer sugar is often called for, but we only have the golden brown kind at the moment and it did the job without any grittiness to the Scones. I fried the batter in rapeseed oil, but again whatever cooking oil you normally use will probably be fine.

Batter in the pan 
4oz / 100g plain white flour
Scant tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
2oz / 50g brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 free range egg
Milk to mix - approx 4 tablespoons
Squeeze of lemon juice
Rapeseed oil for frying
Various toppings to serve

Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl or 1 pint pyrex jug and mix them together.
Make a small well in the top and break the egg into it. Mix in the egg a little, then start slowly adding the milk, 1 tbsp at a time. Mix well in between each tbsp and make sure to incorporate all the flour mix.

Add a squeeze of lemon juice and mix in.

When your batter is ready, heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan until it begins to crease. Drop a tbsp of batter into the frying pan. If your oil is hot enough it will begin to bubble at the batter's edges.
Each Scone is 1 tbsp of batter and I can cook 3 at a time in my frying pan.
Keep a palette knife (or similar) handy. After a minute or two if should be possible to lift up a pancake and look underneath. If it has started to brown, it's time to flip them and I find sliding the knife underneath is the easiest way to do this. It does take a steady hand!
A couple of minutes later both sides should be cooked through and you can either serve your Scottish Drop Scones straight from the pan or cook up the whole batch ahead of time and reheat them just prior to serving.

Traditionally Scottish Drop Scones are served at breakfast time and, despite being sweet, are good to mop up fried egg yolks. I like mine with just a smear of salted butter or a nut butter. You could try nutella, soft cheese, marmalade ....

Cooking the other sides 

Sunday, 22 January 2017

TreatYourself - special offers that caught my eye

Excalibur sword at English Heritage 
It seems that no sooner has the Christmas tinsel come down, than every shop is adorning itself in pink and red for Valentine's Day! Actually that's not quite true - English Heritage sent me a refreshingly non-romantic email this week advertising their replica swords! This Excalibur model is made in Toledo, Spain and I was surprised at just how beautifully detailed it is. Good replica swords and armour don't come cheap - Excalibur is £165 - however English Heritage are softening the blow (!) until the 31st of January by offering free standard UK shipping on orders over £45 when you use the checkout code AFJD. The code applies to all items in their online shop, not just weaponry.

Heart pendant at Tobisias Lil Thing 
I have got two suitably romantic special offers for you though and will start with a 10% discount code for the Tobisias Lil Thing shop which is based in Blyth, Northumberland. Simply enter the code VALENTINE10 at checkout. I spotted this offer on Twitter and love the jewellery that Monika creates. This heart pendant is made by hand-wrapping copper wire and features a purple amethyst bead making it a perfect gift not only for Valentine's Day, but also as a February birthday gift because amethyst is the February birthstone. Ancient Greeks believed wearing amethyst would protect against drunkenness!

Liane Moriarty book 
at Amazon 
Amazon.co.uk is offering a selection of 150 books at special discounts of up to 70% off the normal retail price in their Valentine's Day Sale. Sadly they haven't picked any of the titles on my Wish List, but there is still a pretty wide choice. The sale lasts until the 19th of February and includes women's fiction and chick lit titles, science fiction and fantasy, crime thrillers and cosy mysteries, historical fiction and romance. Most seem to be intended for a female readership though. Wouldn't a man appreciate a good book as his Valentine present too?!

Roskilde Fleece at Weird Fish 
It's unseasonably chilly in Spain as I am writing this post (and raining too. If it's nice where you are, feel welcome to gloat!) which has turned my thoughts to warm clothing, mainly not having brought enough of it! Fortunately the Weird Fish sale has cosy fleeces, waterproof coats and even a knitted dress at up to 70% off the usual price. There's no checkout codes to remember, simply click through to the sale pages and enjoy browsing. I couldn't find an end date either so its probaby a first come, first served situation. I particularly liked this Roskilde Funnel Neck Knitted Fleece reduced to £35 from £50.

Nova suede boots at Jones Bootmakers 
And new winter clothes need new winter boots so Jones Bootmakers' two concurrent offers are well timed. Firstly they are offering 20% off all full priced footwear when you spend over £100 with the checkout code 20OFF100. It gets better though! Their sale pages have discounts of up to 70% off an extensive range of shoes and boots for men, women and children. As an extra incentive, there's free UK delivery on orders over £50. My favourite boots are these burgundy Nova Italian suede ones. Completely impractical for caravan living of course, but they are gorgeous!

That's all my special offer ideas for February. Let us know in the Comments about bargains and sales you find and I will search out another five great deals for March.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

A new year on Kiva

Kiva, the microfinance charity I support, recently sent me an overview of my 2016 loans which I thought it would be fun to share. In 2016 I made 45 loans totalling $1125 to women in 31 different countries. I supported a trainee dentist in Moldova and a beautician in Costa Rica; farmers in Myanmar, Kosovo and Burundi; shopkeepers in Brazil, Madagascar and Armenia; and a school driver in South Africa.

Since my very first loans to a Peruvian shopkeeper and a Kenyan fish seller in August 2012 I have made 165 loans across 67 countries. I paid in a total of $667 which has become $4125 of loans by being repaid and relent. I love the idea that I can keep relending my capital as it is repaid so I don't need to find new cash each month if it isn't convenient. I ask for Kiva cards for birthdays and Christmas too so I can feel good about using gifts I receive to help others. Then I eagerly look forward to the 17th of the month which is Repayments Day - the date most repayments come into my Kiva account and there is a mad rush across the website as lenders send their money out again across the globe.

This month I lent to Nataliya and Yvette Delva, shopkeepers in the Ukraine and Haiti respectively, and to Peggy who has just opened a Zoona money transfer booth in Zambia. If you would like to join me in lending and making a different via Kiva, click through here to find out more about it.

Nataliya in the Ukraine 

Yvette Delva in Haiti 

Peggy in Zambia 

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Walking the Coll de Balaguer from l'Hospitalet

Footpaths Of The Mediterranean 4 
We thought our Saturday walk was just going to be an easy 6km legstretcher, but it ended up being considerably longer and lasting just over three hours! The route was another from our new Footpaths Of The Mediterranean folder and the first half was along another section of the GR92 coastal path. L'Hospitalet de l'Infant, our starting point, is named for its original purpose, a 14th century hospital for travellers traversing the Coll de Balaguer pass on their way from the Ebro delta to Tarragona. The hills here look very different now to how they did then because tons of earth were moved to create two motorways, the railway line and the N340 road, but in medieval times this area was particularly dangerous. With no towns to speak of for over seventy kilometres, travellers were at risk of frequent attack from bandits in the hills and corsair pirates from the coast. Fortunately these are no longer a problem and the only evidence of violence we saw were the remnants of wartime gun emplacements and a sign warning of the start of a hunting area.

View from Coll de Balaguer 
We parked up on the outskirts of l'Hospitalet, past the Arenal beach, and followed the GR92 south-west along sandy beaches as far as the Cala d'Ocques campsite which has pitches practically on the beach. We were a little envious until we got back home and looked up their prices online. I think we'll stay at Camping Ametlla for now! The GR92 turns inland up the Barranc de Cala d'Ocques and briefly follows a road until it turns off again and becomes a proper narrow stony footpath leading upwards to the ridgeline. The views up here got more and more stunning the higher we climbed until we almost had a panoramic 360o view. We could see for miles towards Miami Platja and Cambrils!

View to Platja de les Rojales 
The GR92 did have one short but scarily steep scramble at this point, but otherwise wasn't too challenging. The mapped route finished at a high point, Punta de les Rojales, with us then having the option to make our own way on a circular route or to retrace our steps. We prefer circular routes anyway and I certainly didn't fancy trying to get back down the steep bit! Continuing along the ridge until the GR92 descends to a beach-bound road looked hardly any distance on the map, but was probably the best part of an hour's more walking. Good walking certainly and with more fabulous views!

We were all the way up there! 
We descended by way of a winding road to Platja de les Rojales, a long sandy beach with gently lapping waves and beautiful colours from the setting sun. Two cyclists zoomed downhill past us which looked great fun, but we were less encouraged to emulate them when they turned around in the car park at the base and started back upwards again! From that car park, we walked through a short tunnel under the railway to reach the sand and, beforehand, could look back up over trees to the ridge from which we previously gazed down. Steps lead up from the other end of the beach so we had a short section along a wooded footpath passing El Templo del Sol nudist colony. It looked pretty closed up at this time of year! Then we rejoined our outward route to get back to the car and were both proud of our three hours non-stop hiking.