I was zipping along on my electric bike in the countryside of Catalonia Spain between Peratallada and Pals. I was way ahead of the rest of the group. The wind was breezing thru my hair, putting little wisps of strands of hair on my face. I felt like a kid again! Pump, pump, pump, glide, glide, glide. Occasionally, I would stop along the way and let the group catch up with me. The sun, beaming down on me, but in a cool, breezy kind of way and it was just wonderful to be out on a paved road in the middle of nowhere in Spain. The week before had me busy with activities in Barcelona, Girona and now, it was a time to relax and let the wind take me away. This is one of the things I love about travel. Suddenly you find yourself in places you never dreamed. Also, nothing could be easier than riding an electric bike, and so again I strolled far out in front of the group.
“How many apples fell on Newton’s head before he took the hint? Nature is always hinting at us. It hints over and over again. And suddenly we take the hint.”
I decided to park the bike because I saw what seemed like an endless supply of green apples. I got off to catch a closer look with my camera.
Apples, apples, they were everywhere. Barrels, buckets, trees, apple pallets, and crates, scattered about for as far as the eye can see.
Crates so full, they spilled over onto the grown.
With my camera ready, I took shot after shot.
But then, to my surprise, he came around from I don’t know where. “Hey, how are you?”
I was startled and thought he would kick me off of his property immediately. He spoke some English. “Do you want an apple?” I said, “why, sure.”
And so began my conversation with the retired, gentleman who owned the apple orchard in Catalonia named Narcis Coll. He had worked around the world and settle for this area of Spain to retire and grow apples.
“The apple of his eye.”
“There is little choice in a barrel of rotten apples.”
The large apple box container in front of us contained apples he told me. “These are not my prize apples, you know, the kind that goes to the store? and look pretty? But these taste just as good. These are the ones that fall to the ground, we use them for making apple juice.”
“Oh,” I said. Then he picked one of the better-looking ones from the box, wiped the dirt off of it on his pants and offered it to me. I took it and then took a big bite of this girl scout green apple, as not to offend him and his precious apples. Then we chatted up about his life in Spain, until one by one, each member of our group of electric bike riders began to arrive. They too parked their bikes and came over to meet the apple man.
Offering each one an apple, carefully selected, he could not have been nicer and answered all the questions our journalistic group had for him. We all hung around for a long time and rested our legs in the breezy sun. I think we innately knew that this encounter, out in the middle of nowhere in Spain, meeting an apple orchard owner, with the breezes in the air was special and was the highlight of the day. We were soaking it up: sun, apples and a gracious gentleman. Then, refueled with apples in our bellies, we continued to peddle the countryside in the warm afternoon, past castles, more fields of apples and hay bundles until our next stop.
“Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.”
Looking back on this day, it makes me think that while on my travels, I never know who I am going to meet. People from around the world are what makes my travel so interesting and they certainly enhance my experience when I come across one so friendly and sweet. I never forget that encounter.
Just like that pallet of apples, people come in many shapes and sizes, some scarred from their very existence, while others remain perfect in their shape and texture. Many are sweet. I had never really thought about how many references there are to apples in our world, but as I research granny smith apples, I see that they have had quite an impact in our world today.
“Surely the apple is the noblest of fruits.” — Henry David Thoreau
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
“One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch”
Disclaimer: My visit to the Costa Brava area of Spain was a sponsored press trip by the Costa Brava Tourism Board. Also thanks to Roda D’OR for an amazing ride on those electric bikes! Opinions noted here are entirely my own.
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