Cherry Blossom Stroll
In the early 1990s, more than 2000 ‘sakura’ ornamental cherry trees were exported from Japan and planted in the Vallespir, following the death and burial in Amélie of a Samouraï warrior, come to the military hospital to be treated for tuberculosis.
Symbol of the fragility of life, fleeting and delicate, these trees don’t bear fruit but their exquisite pink blossom is a joy. A walk amidst them is enchanting, even as they flutter to the ground in a grand finale known as ‘sakura snow’.
To enjoy them, every spring in all their glory, take a stroll along the banks of the Tech below medieval Palalda.
– Turn right after the bridge opposite the casino, following signs for ‘Centre Equestre’, along the banks of the river Tech in either direction. There’s even a river beach to cool down just before the footbridge.
For a longer but still gentle walk, you can stroll along tree-lined avenue to Centre Équestre, through the arboretum planted on the side of the road and follow the road as it loops back to the village.
– From the car park, walk past the Fontaine Pagès, stopping for a picnic spot, shady tables and fresh water. Bring your boules!
– Turn left past a house called ‘le sancture’, and with house number 18 in front of you , turn left for a quick detour down the steps onto carer del sol for panoramic view of the whole valley. Zig zag back down to the river, or retrace your steps and carry on.
– Continue on original path through medieval streets into ‘Place de la Nation’, maybe pop into museum or 10th century church.
– Back down ramp, turn right in front of the café, past artists’ studios and left downhill onto steep Carrer dels Serrats.
– Turn right at bottom into Cami del Riberou, take path down through allotments to return to riverside path on banks of the Tech. Turn right to return to the centre of Amelie. Enjoy.