Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Le Fontcalda

From Margalef, we headed in search of hot springs and m! The website only had coordinates, we took Google maps southwest to Gandesa, east on C-43 then right onto a road for 20 min. Well, the road off of 43 was absolutely terrifiying. One website described it as "reached by a winding road that is about 27km and not for the faint hearted" but another described how thousands flock to the 14th century church for masses. The was barely wide enough for our tiny car, with rock face on the left and shear cliff down on the right. I couldn't stop shaking. About 1/2 way, a spot in the rockface opened up and we were able to pull over for a minute to ponder continuing (and collect myself). At that time, another car came the opposite way and we were lucky to be in the spot. We decided to turn around and see if there was another road that cut down in the valley, but gave up and headed back to Gandesa.
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Gandesa is a small, clean town with some cafes and we stopped in what looked like a tourism building to use the restroom. It turned out to be the Centre d'Estudis de la Batalla de l'Ebre - Museum of the Battle of the Ebro - as Gandesa was at the center of fighting during the Battle of the Ebro in the Spanish Civil War; in the Summer of 1938 Republican forces crossed the Ebro in an attempt to throw back the Nationalist armies of General Franco
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Luckily we stopped, as the museum staffer was able to help us get to the hot springs (hint - it's on a major bikeway - Terra Alta Greenway- which there are very safe, easy, newly paved roads to if you go south  )
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We made it!
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After parking, we walked down the bikeway a ways and then dropped down into the Sancutary area. There were vans there! (no idea how they got there, maybe they took the tiny road??) The water had carved a path through the valley, and the church constructed bathing areas and walkways up and down the area.
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The water wasn't really hot - folks were saying it was warmer upstream, but that wasn't true. It was mildly warm but still full of minerals, the sun was hot and it felt good on out sore bodies.
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We explored the church area a bit, nothing was open:
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We wrapped it up after an hour or so and headed back out the bike path:
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We then pushed on to Valencia.

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