We arrived in Calonge, found a grocery store with bread and water. Loaded our bags and literally headed for the hills. At first the road weaved up and down gently climbing and falling beneath our wheels. Then as we rounded the bend our climb started in earnest. With a steady grade all you could do was press on and wait for the next kilometer marker. We started at kilometer 18, counting down the hill began at 13 and we reached the summit at 9. Once we reached the top all the work was instantly justifiable.
As we turned off the road and walked through a forest of cork trees we realised we had found our dolmen. Dolmens are burial tombs that were constructed during the Neolithic period (4000-3000 BC). They can be found all over the world, South Korea, Russia, and France to name a few places. The oldest ones are said to be found in Western Europe. The one before us was quite large. Made of huge granite slabs it measured approximately 10 meters in diameter.
The opening was oriented south east to allow light to shine into the burial chamber during the solstice. Jim and Gwen took a panorama of the interior of the structure.
Nearby there was a blurb about how it was built. Working in groups the rocks were taken out of the quarry and then they were rolled on logs to the location of the dolmen. They were pulled and pushed into place and held there with wood until the second supporting rock could be placed. Inside the structure you could see the care taken with the selection of the rocks; the rocks were in matching pairs of roughly the same size and shape. Finally the rocks were placed on top to form a roof. The amount of cooperation, teamwork, and effort that went into creating this amazing structure is mind blowing.
As we were standing around pondering the enormity of the task of creating such a monument, a cyclist magically appeared from behind some trees. We said, “Hola” and he replied in Spanish and asked if we spoke any Gwen replied that “we” spoke Catalan. And hence the conversation was lost on me. However Gwen skilfully said we were going to find a Menhir that was marked as being close by. He said, something to the effect, “Oh you’ll never find it, follow me”. Which we did. We found the menhir… Ellen laughed as it wasn’t the largest one… I have never seen one before so it was still pretty neat.
Menhirs are large singular standing stones (you know from Asterix and Obelix). We posed for some pictures with our new tour guide and then followed him the back way into Romanya de la Selva to see the church. Along the way we stopped at a giant cross that, from my limited (as in non-existent) grasp of Catalan, I understood that was used for mass held outside in front of it. He then led us directly to the local Romanesque church and bid us adieu.
Sant Marti de Romanya overlooked the beautiful rolling valley. This church certainly had a history and the most exciting thing was that we were able to get inside and have a look.
From the exterior it looked as if the roof had been raised slowly over time and this was confirmed as we entered and saw a window that was almost completely obscured. Inside was also what we suspected were the original door and bell.
The bell looked as if it was crafted by use of a lathe. This is interesting because bells are cast, not turned on a lathe. How could they possibly turn the amount of metal needed to make such a sizable bell since the technology for lathing metal was hardly around? It looked really amazing. The amount of detail and beautiful craftsmanship was really neat to see. The door was thick and heavy, made of wood and iron. It too looked really old and incredible.
After lunch Dan and I zipped back to camp to go do some laundry and get dinner ready while the rest of the Bailey’s followed a trail to an old ruined church filled with vines and foliage. They then caught up to us in Girona after our futile attempt at finding a Laundromat in Spain. As it turned out, the hostel had fixed their machine and we just did it there. Laundry cleaned, people fed, next trip planned we all turned in to bed and fell fast asleep.