The sun continues to bake in Barcelona as we ready for our upcoming voyaging.Colin, Leif, and I have fully moved into our sailboat, and are loving life on the water.Our boat is situated in Port Olimpic Marina right in the heart of Barcelona.Within walking distance are wide sandy beaches, numerous shops, and the winding narrow streets of the old quarter of Barcelona.The marina itself is a bustling hub with numerous eateries, bars and a waterfront promenade.You can sit on the breakwater wall and see our boat in one direction and bronzed glistening bodies worshipping the beach in the other.
Leif seems to be enjoying this new lifestyle.He can clamber freely within the confines of the boat, and is forever making new friends with his big smile and constantly waving right hand.
Two days ago, we commenced our research on the olive by visiting Spanish researchers from the IRTA institute.They are involved in many aspects of the Spanish olive industry including running a program to preserve trees that are more than a thousand years old (millennium trees).This region of Spain has the greatest concentrations of millennium trees in the world, with over 4,000 of these behemoths in this area. As Catalonia, the province we are in, does not have laws regarding their preservation, many ancient trees find themselves dug up and moved onto wealthy manicured estates (olive trees transplant remarkably well).
The disappearance of the olive trees is a loss for the people of Spain.As with heritage buildings, these organic remnants of past civilizations are a connection to the past and are irreplaceable.Fortunately, the IRTA has come up with a strategy to save these trees without creating financial loss for the farmers.In conjunction with the farmers they have begun marketing millennium olive oil – oil that is made exclusively from trees that are over 1000 years old.The oil has proven to be very popular, and is sold at a higher price than younger oil, offsetting the lower yields.
We were taken to see some of Spain’s ancient olive trees, and were awed by the massive girth of the gnarled twisted trees.We wandered amidst their twisted and reaching limbs, green drubs hanging off their branches and blackened olives from last season scattered on the baked earth below.They looked like trees from a child’s fairy tale.
We’ll be exploring some other aspects of the olive over the next few days, and then will begin sailing towards France on our maiden voyage.Meanwhile, we’ll be enjoying a few bottles of millennium olive oil with some of the tasty Mediterranean foods we’re currently packing into our boat.