The Priorat is an ever-changing spectacle of life. Rows of little terraces built stone by stone centuries ago create a mosaic on the mountainsides, as much a part of the forest as the trees and shrubs. Some old vines express themselves like old grumpy grandfathers and others like graceful dancers. The walls and streets of the villages reveal the geology: La Morera glows golden because of the calcareous Montsant. The patterns in the streets of Torroja are defined by the pedra blava (blue stone) Paleozoic limestone. Stories are everywhere if you look for them.
At last the Priorat is growing again. Schools are filled with eager little minds and streets are alive with the sound of bouncing soccer balls, excited laughter and a lot of love. The movements of each day are centered around mealtimes. Ingredients come from the land, slow cooked, roasted, canned or cured, seasoned with the company of friends and family and plenty of time to enjoy them. Seasons provide additional gustatory traditions like calçots in the spring, charred on the fire, served on newspaper, peeled, dipped in a homemade sauce of red pepper, hazelnut, and olive oil. Head tipped back, you dangle it from overhead into your mouth. It becomes a big, exciting, delicious mess. No meal happens without the pleasure of pa i tomàquet (bread rubbed with garlic and a particular tomato kept hung in the cellar and fresh arbequina olive oil). And, of course, a little wine.
Life moves at its own pace in the Priorat — enduring, content. No single day is better than another and there is no lamenting over hard work. The perspectives are pragmatic, and yet this is also a land of dreams and the patience to achieve them. There is no sense of urgency because time continues on and on. The old-timers do not have any particular idea about the future, only that the Priorat is sempre, always.
Ethos Priorat is vividly panoramic. It is best viewed in landscape format to fully enjoy the experience.