Delta de l’Ebre Natural Park & Surroundings
L’Ampolla was my first port of call, excuse the pun, when I decided to rent an apartment and see whether I would stay here long-term. Located on the Costa Dorada, in those early days, I was absolutely amazed at the great value for money, which is not just peculiar only to this village, to be had at lunch with Franco’s creation – the Menu del Dia. With average prices ranging from €8 to €10, and the quality and quantity of food differing from restaurant to restaurant – the one thing I knew very quickly was that you could get fed and watered (or wined) for a low-budget at this time of the day in most restaurants in the village.
Let me introduce you to the town of Amposta, by borrowing some words from Nobel prize winner, Ernest Hemingway: “I was watching the bridge and the African looking country of the Ebro Delta and wondering how long now it would be before we would see the enemy…” This is an excerpt taken from his short story – The Old Man at the Bridge, which he wrote about an experience in Amposta, during the Spanish Civil War, in 1938. Hemingway was dazzled by this scenery of the Ebro at dusk. It’s not a surprise; the scenery that evoked these feelings in Hemingway, shifts gracefully through different phases, that depend on the light, the mood of the weather and, I think, our own mood as well.
Although I do like to be beside the seaside, and in nature, I also adore fine cities and Tortosa slots nicely into this category for me. It’s a Catalan city, that is dripping in history and culture, on the banks of the River Ebro. There are numerous interesting sights in Tortosa, which include the striking castle, cathedral, and some beautiful modernist buildings. In 2007 archaeologists found remains of the walls of the ancient city of Hibera, close to the now city of Tortosa. Hibera was the capital of Ilercavonia, which was the strategic point from where the Hannibalic War (208 to 201 BC) originated.
The Delta de l’Ebre Natural Park has a unique, magical landscape. As it’s flat, it is perfect for those who enjoy cycling, which in my humble opinion is a wonderful way to absorb its immense personality. The European Commission has designated it as an EDEN (European Destination of Excellence), because of its commitment to sustainable tourism. The part of the overall space of 320 km2 which was designated as the protected reserve of the Delta de l’Ebre Natural Park takes up an area of 80 km2, which is located in the province of Tarragona.
It was in 1983 that it became a protected area, thanks to the peaceful occupation and mobilisation of people from the area of Deltebre, which given our level of ecological awareness of that time, is quite impressive.
The dramatic, rugged landscape of Els Ports National Park stretches between the communities of Catalonia, Valencia and Aragon, taking up a total space of around 60,000 hectares. The majestic limestone massif is filled with abrupt cliff faces, natural resources, forests, valleys and abundant wildlife. You can spot Hispannic goats (Ibex), wild boar, badgers, foxes, wild cats, squirrels, otters, Griffon vultures, eagles and many other bird species.