This was a beautiful part of France. Châteaux, mountains, hot springs, French markets and lots more, from 17th August to 5th September 2010. Click to enlarge the map or photos.
Today we went to Gibraltar – I’d heard that the Upper Rock Nature Reserve is the only place to have monkeys in the wild, specifically Barbary Macaques. I wasn’t really expecting to see them, but there were loads of them! At one point, I was walking along, happily eating an apple when one of the monkeys came up to me, climbed up my leg and grabbed my apple. Unfortunately this all happened too quickly to get on camera, but I did manage to take the following pics of the monkey eating the stolen apple:
We’ve been staying in Orgiva (Granada Province, Spain) for a couple of months, we rented a little house as it was getting a bit cold in the van (there is no heating in the van). While we were travelling in France we were buying the most amazing selection of raw milk cheeses, but here in Spain there is not the same selection, and they mostly have hard cheeses rather than the soft cheeses they have in France. You can buy soft cheeses in Spain but they are much harder to find, and it seems that in Orgiva it is only possible to buy hard cheese.
But here it is easy to buy raw goats milk direct from the farm, so I decided I would try making my own cheese. A friend told me a way of making cottage cheese just using lemon juice to curdle the milk, it worked ok but took quite a long time for the milk to separate. A little while ago I got a book called Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz, which has some cheese recipes in it using rennet. So I got some rennet and used kefir as a starter to “ripen” the milk, and made cheese which resembled mozzarella in texture. Wild Fermentation is an excellent book, I reviewed it in Funky Raw magazine issue 17, and I will republish the review here soon.
Wanting to take things further, I bought a book called Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll, which has recipes for all kinds of cheeses, but I’ve not yet made anything from it as I need to buy various starter cultures and moulds. It looks like a really good book, with hard and soft cheese recipes, mould ripened cheeses like Camembert and more. If you like cheese, I really recommend you try making your own, it’s lots of fun and there is so much to experiment with to make your perfect cheese.
Went for an amazing walk today in the La Taha area of the Alpujarras (Granada province, southern Spain). There are many places to collect fresh spring water around here, but the spring we found today was a little different: the water was sparkling. Yes, fizzy spring water, straight from the source:
There was even a sign telling us that the water is fizzy and explaining the health benefits of the water. If you can read Spanish, click on the photo to see a larger version you can read.
The spring is near Ferreirola, on the Ruta Medieval towards Busquistar. It’s a very beautiful area and there are lots of walks and of course you can taste fizzy spring water yourself (it’s delicious by the way!)
Getting into the swing of this now! Here are some photos from the first couple of weeks of August. As before click the map and photos to see large versions.
Oops, I’m a bit slow with this, here are some photos from July. We were in Briançon, only 10km from the border with Italy so we decided to pop over for a quick visit. The first night we camped wild and saw the most amazing sight, lots of fireflys. First time I’ve seen them, they fly around flashing a little light on and off, the affect is best when there are a lot of them. I did take a photo, but it came out black! We covered a lot more ground in a short time in Italy, we whizzed down the motorways to get to a few interesting places, unlike France where we mostly stayed off the motorways on the smaller roads.
Click on the map and photos to see larger versions:
If you’ve been following this blog, you will know that we set off on June 1st in a camper van. Below is an approximate map of wheer we went for the first five weeks of our trip, and below that some photos. From Briançon we went through the mountains over into Italy for a couple of weeks, I’ll put photos and a map of the next sections of the trip up soon.
Click on any photo to enlarge it.
Our exciting news – we moved out of our flat in London into a camper van:
We’re currently travelling in France, looking for an area we would like to live, where we can buy land to set up some kind of raw food retreat/holiday centre. I will try and keep this blog updated with our progress, photos and of course all the wild food we are finding.
We have found quite a few wild strawberries, but the other day Jolita spotted what looked like a massive patch but on closer inspection we realised that they weren’t strawberries:
And here’s a real wild strawberry to compare:
When I next got access to the internet, I looked it up and found that it is called Mock Strawberry, False Strawberry or Indian Strawberry, Latin Potentilla indica (formerly Duchesnea indica and it is stilled listed as this in some places). It is edible, so next time we found some I tried one – it has almost no flavour and it is white inside just like real strawberries.
Today I saw this sundial which I though was very clever. I’m continuing to upload my photos over at Flickr.
Today I walked from Tortosa to Xerta mostly along the Rio Ebro and then back along the Via Verde (green way) which is a dissused railway line which has been converted to a footpath, the roundtrip was about 30km.
Food for the day:
For breakfast I had a mix of sprouted seeds (hemp, sunflower and pumpkin) with soaked goji berries, figs and apricots
Throughout the day I had about 5 kakis, 8 satsumas, a few dates and cacao beans plus an orange and some carob pods I found along the way.
When I got back I had a custard apple and then a large salad with wild greens I picked during the walk, courgette, olives, a tomato, some fresh dulse, sprouted rye and some onion basil and olive cracker.