Mirador del Ebro (a river viewing place), is a most stunning view that there are no words to properly describe. I had climbed up and up in the baking heat with my backpack (no donkey). It was silent except for the occasional car far away on the road where the bus had left me, and cicadas which fizzed and hopped around my feet. Finally the path flattened out and a sign pointed to the mirador. I walked to the edge and below was the canyon with the azure blue Rio Ebro deep in it’s fissure, amongst forested slopes, massive grand rocks, and a rainbow Autumn landscape.
Here, in the Castille and Leon region of Spain, I once again saw vultures abseiling downward and circling back up, except this time, as I stood at the Mirador del Ebro, I was above them – so close I could see every individual feather: the black, brown, and white sections of the great wing span, the hooked beak, and far-seeing eyes. They seemed to be simultaneously enjoying the physical experience of soaring on the air, and the business of spying prey on the rocky ledges way down below in the river gulley. And as if that still suspension wasn’t beautiful enough to watch, then they all came together in a sort of ornithological version of a tornado, spiralling around a column of air, a group of perhaps 9, round and round, up and up, before they started their next float back down.
The area where Shiatsu practitioners Charro and Dirk live, is one of the most astonishing places I have ever been. Gleaming yellow trees in the autumn sun; towering craggs of grey and yellow stone – nature’s co-ordinated colour scheme; a deep canyon through which the River Ebro courses; rich, young forests of 30 years, now that the scattered population (1 person on average per square meter, less in Cortiguera) have stopped burning the trees for carbon.
I stay less than 24 hours, but it’s enough to be treated to delicious Castillian soup with buckwheat, baked apples with cinnamon and walnuts from their garden, a private cottage for the night, stimulating conversation, and to be shown around their extraordinary home.
They have personally reinhabited a destitute village and created beautiful spaces for visitors (via Casa Rural), Shiatsu sessions, and workshops. The night sky alone is worth the journey -there’s none of the black space we see in Edinburgh, it’s a heavenly array of layer upon layer of stars and constellations. T’ai Chi in the misty morning garden was a delight, and the tour of the local Romanesque derelict church, which they are in the process of restoring for future generations, was astonishing.
Charro and Dirk offer Shiatsu treatments, courses, accommodation and more. This is their website http://www.talamo.es