Riba-Roja d’ Ebre

Wanting to find a historic largely unspoilt village in the magical deep gorged valley carved out by the River Ebro that offers good fishing, walking and a centre for motorised or cycle touring I came across the hill top village of Riba-Roja d’ Ebre.
For more than two millennium a  strategic location on the River Ebro 150 kilometres inland from the busy tourist packed Mediterranean coast and 120 from the AP7 North – South motorway.. Having heard about the village and found the village on the map the next thing was to decide where to stay comfortably and inexpensively, being on a tight budget.
The answer was the recently reopened Ebro Valley Guest House or Casa Rural now run by Mike Smith and Mary Edmonds. Originally two old houses in the village centre – a cellar with well is probably of Moorish origins. A first visit also highlighted the many reasons for visiting for a weekend or midweek break from the bustling coast and if time a full week. It is also convenient as a first night stop over if travelling to or from Spain to France using the Pyrenean passes or tunnels.
Local Activities
The following are readily available and can be arranged even a day in advance.
• Walking for one or more days along sections of the River Ebro trail, using in some cases the train to get back from or start a day’s walking.
• Walking through the famous Civil War battlefields. A knowledgeable English guide can be arranged.
• Walking into the River Ebro bird sanctuary. The bird life can be amazing for the range and populations of varieties of small and large birds.
• Horse riding with a local stable.
• Fishing for lifetime best carp, catfish, roach, zander and pike from private and public  banks or guided boats. Licences can be arranged at short notice. Carp and catfish rods and tackle are available.
• The village also has a swimming pool, tennis and petanc courts. A golf course is only half an hour away.
• Day and longer boat touring.
• Touring to the ancient Moorish villages and wine and olive oil bodegas of the famous Sierras Altas and Priorat areas.
• Inland house hunting. Unconverted three storey four bedroomed properties can be purchased for as little as 30 to 40,000 euros, converted at 70,000 and villas with gardens out of the centre for 120.000 euros . Land for mobile homes also being available.
Substancial Homely Cooking
Mary’s substantial full breakfast ( sausage. Bacon, eggs, tomatoes, beans, hash brown, and toast) will ensure that you won’t starve even if you don’t ask for a tasty packed lunch pack, and the substantial evening meals such as home made steak pie, cottage pie, fish and chips, liver and bacon with or without a fruit crumble of cheesecake will fill the stomachs of the most starving traveller at the end of a busy day. Local produce is widely used. This is a village in which local fruit and vegetables are still sold in doorways and a village bodega Ambros Fruit Nature sells their home produced ecological wines and other regional bodegas, and their own eco virgin olive oil and bottles of tasty olives.
One can enjoy a drink and snack or breakfast or dine on a large covered terrace or elegant beamed dining room. The beds in the two single/double  and two double/triple bedrooms are comfortable and there is amble hanging space should you unpack. Each room has a basin. Only one is en suite but bathrooms are nearby. If you have time there is a bar, sky TV and a dart board.
How to Get There
1. By car from the coast from motorway AP7junction 40 and Tortosa; from the north via Leida; from Zaragoza to the west via and from the south from Morella in the Maestrago.
2. By train to the villages own station from Tarragona or Zaragoza.
3. En foot by trecking the Ebro Way from Mora del Ebre (2 days) and returning by train.
4. By plane to Reus or Barcelona airports from where you can be picked up.
30 euros a night per person include a full English breakfast.  Packed lunches are 5 euros and dinner main courses 7.5 euros and desserts 3 euros. Local wines are not expensive.
Mary and Michael who only took over and reopened the establishment in June 2010 are excellent hosts and will be determined to make a short or longer stay a success.
It won’t be long before Mikes DIY and Mary’s gardening skills convert the rear courtyard and covered terrace into an enviable planted hideaway.
Address – Carrer Esglesia 6, Riba Roja del Ebre – a stones throw from the old church. Parking is in a square with direct access to the rear of the premises.
Telephone number – 638-072-291
Email – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
© Dick Handscombe July 2010.

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