I’m hoping to maybe get a glimpse of the castle of Miravet from the opposite side of the Ebro River but the morning mist has yet to lift and I can barely see the river, let alone anything on the far side. The ferry crossing is closed, so I have to go the long way around and even when I reach the village, I still cannot see the castle. However, I do find the ferry, a 7m square of old planks with narrow bench seats on each side and rusty metal rails.
I follow signs for the castle, winding my way through the small village whose houses cling to the rocky cliffs above the river. Some are undergoing a facelift to appeal to renting tourists or wealthy Spanish city dwellers seeking a holiday home away from the busy coastline. Above the houses and the church, the path becomes steeper and deteriorates into nothing more than a scramble over rocks. I can appreciate how medieval soldiers must have felt when mounting and attack on the castle; staggering upwards through the pine trees, breathlessly trying to find the castle in the mist.
Having succeeded in reaching my goal, I am somewhat insulted that I have to pay €3.50 to enter. Numbered signs tell me about the layout and purpose of each section but it is nothing more than a bare shell. Inside the restored church, the media have gathered with local restauranteurs and council officials to launch a week-long regional food festival. I have to intrude on their celebrations in order to reach the entrance to an incredibly narrow, spiral staircase which I have to squeeze up to gain access to the rooftop. When I eventually pop out, the mist has lifted and I can finally admire the views back down to the village and along the river. On the other side, I can see a road which ascends to the castle car park, but arriving that way would have felt like cheating.