Walking the touristic area of Salou revealed quiet roads, closed camp sites, bars, shops and restaurants, even locked park gates.
It was not an evening to go far. The black clouds sat looking heavy in the sky, the wind lifted, spots of rain would fall every now and again, all threatening signs of a storm that wasn’t intending to blow over. The dark sky added an eeriness to the unused railway line of Salou. It was months since a train had travelled through here due to rail and station refurbishments, during which time it had become to look very overgrown and abandoned.
In contrast, trees of the street connecting the town to the main road into Salou were full of blossom, almost making a flowery arch way. The smell was beautiful and I was particularly thankful that these were not the ones to cause my hay fever allergies.
The main road was quiet, the usual traffic in, or out for that matter, was not currently permitted. People walked on the wide pavements, keeping their distance from each another and mainly wearing variations of sportswear. The Plaza Europa roundabout wasn’t much different to during the usual winter months when the surrounding restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops are closed. But this wasn’t the quiet season, this was May and there should be a bustle of people working and holiday makers mulling around.
As I made my way towards the park, with little hope that it would be open to walk around I passed through a small alleyway, home to the oldest established English pub in Salou. The quaint place would normally be oozing atmosphere at this time, full of content diners whilst drinkers would sit outside soaking the last rays of sun. Not that that would be likely tonight anyway, as those black clouds still threatened a downpour.
As expected, the park gates were closed and locked. Inside the sport equipment and children’s rides had been taped off. Nobody would be going in to visit the fish, crayfish or turtles that lived in the ponds. Nor would they enjoy the views of the various species of plants and trees that line the earthy pathways.
Continuing towards the beach with a plan to make my way back home, I passed the main tourist street. Silence. Only as I got nearer the beach did I become embraced by life once again. People were still out exercising, walking, jogging.
The sky was now an incredible blue that reflected in the water. For all that it was strange to see the tourist area completely closed and empty of visitors having a good time, the beach was appreciating the lack of touristic amenities. The water sport equipment was not blocking the reflection of colour on the water and the long stretch of golden sand that helps give this area its gold coast name contrasted perfectly against it.
Walking alongside the beach, the distant mountains silhouetted against the sky with a layer of cloud beneath the peaks, the row of lights along neighbouring Cambrils shone brightly. It was a beautiful scene. But my happy mood became tainted. I felt lucky to be here, now, witnessing an area of natural beauty that is often hidden by people when I remembered why those people weren’t here. Many are suffering, losing their life or loved ones, feeling unwell, anxious, unsure of their futures for health or financial reasons. Even though I, myself am unable to work as usual and know too of the suffering this time has caused, I felt remorseful that I should be benefitting from it. I hoped that I was not alone, that others too could find the inner happiness and wellbeing from the current situation, wherever they may be.
A few drops of rain later I returned home, as those clouds carried on moving and the storm did blow over after all.