Thu, 21 Jun 2007

Delta de l'Ebre

Last December, I went to the Delta de l'Ebre with a good number of friends to spend one of December's three-day weekends. Les Terres de l'Ebre are the southest region of Catalunya, right next to the border with the Valencian Country. The Ebre river forms a big delta as it meets the Mediterranean, and the great amount of wildlife, specially avian, in the Natural Park makes it a fantastic place to visit.

We would sleep, more or less, in Cinta's appartment in L'Ampolla. The first night we managed to fit 17 persons for dinner, and about 14 stayed to sleep in any possible corner of the flat.

As soon as the Valencian group arrived, we tried to meet the people coming from the North, but apparently they got lost and we stayed on a sightseeing spot admiring how easily the weather changes here. In an hour or so, we went from a sunny day to a quick but heavy shower and back to sunny. When we finally found each other, we decided it was a bit too late to do anything too special, given the short days in December, so we walked South along the beach, on our way to the Salines, the salt processing facility, in the Punta de la Banya.

Agua para todos...

During the walk, we witnessed what the people from the Delta have been warning about for decades: the Delta is disappearing. The progressive overuse of the river's flow, excessive irrigation, damm construction and degradation is killing this unique place. The waters are slowly claiming what once was theirs. An electricity line, at the beginning of our trip being at the end of the beach starts approaching the sea, or viceversa, as you move southward, to end up many metres inside the water. The old people in the Delta still remember the 200m tall lighthouse in the Illa de Buda, which the sea managed to devour.

Sunset at the salines del Delta

When we reached the Punta we could watch a beautiful sunset over the mountains of Els Ports, and when it got dark and cold we headed to Tortosa, the area's capital, which I had recently visited for the first time for one of Softcatalà's meetings. There, we had dinner at a bar and met Jordi and Anna for a while, before going back to Ampolla, going to bed relatively early due to everyone being very tired.

On Saturday, we decided to have a look at the Delta... from above. So we drove to the top of the Cim del Caro, where we could admire a great view over the flat farmlands of the Delta, and then found a nice trail which took us to a nice forest, where we had lunch. After a visit to Alfara de Carles, we went back to the house, had a great dinner and played fun games at the table.

Unfortunately, Sunday morning was dedicated to cleaning up the mess in the appartment and packing, as part of the group, the Jordis from Alcoi and the twins, had to leave early. The remaining four Valencians decided to go to Deltebre to have a local paella. It was quite good, although the bar tender laughed at our request to eat directly from the paella, rejecting dishes. Small cultural clash. ;)

I remember downloading and viewing the pictures of the trip a few days after getting back in València, and then losing track of them. Last week, while testing an EPIA board with some random hard drive, I suddenly realised there was a big chance the pictures would be on that drive, and after some search, I found them; I had been close to mkfs the disk a few minutes before. I hadn't stopped blaming myself for misplacing these pictures, as they remind me of this wonderful weekend. Luckily, they are back!

Going back to the state of the Delta, experts say it will be mostly gone in 200 years. All of the Terres de l'Ebre have fought against the previous government's "PHN" plan to divert part of the river's flow to the North and South, to supply Barcelona, and specially the South of València, where the developing of the coastal areas is out of control. I fear that whenever PP regains power in Madrid, they will retake this idea. There is a lot of money involved in building a 700 km long scar in our land. The Delta de l'Ebre is a fantastic place which doesn't deserve a terrible fate like this, only for the benefit of the usual suspects. As the good people of this land would say...

Lo riu és vida. No al transvasament!
Lo riu és vida. No al transvasament!

Mon, 11 Jun 2007

I feel bad

I've cursed myself quite a bit during the last two or three weeks, because there probably are no good excuses for not attending DebConf this year, it's just that I didn't plan it at all. Sorry to everyone who expected me there, and thanks to those who have insisted me lately to book tickets, and even planned my arrival by sea. :) Unfortunately, last minute plans won't work this time, as my new job doesn't permit. I hope you all have a great time, and unlike me, will POP THE TRUNK, all week.

Oil delivery will resume... maybe in Argentina? Or Birmingham, why not!