I did my first confluence (42ºN 3ºE) on 18th August 2005, after trying another one (41ºN 0º) two months before, without getting it, as I explained in my story on the DCP web.
Last Saturday, 4th February, with my good friend Juan Jesus Bastero S.J., “Juanje”, a Jesuit priest, teacher of biology and natural science in the “Jesus Maria–El Salvador School”, of Zaragoza, I went to Point 41ºN 0º, as I had wanted to do almost a year ago.
I had told him about DCP, and he was very interested in accompanying me on the adventure.
Some weeks before, I had prepared the visit by looking at plans, maps and reading about the first visit, in 2nd February 2002, by Ramón Barrachina, to the same point. He said he had walked from his car for a while and at last, when he got to the Point, he saw a track near it. So, I looked at the Google Earth aerial views to try and find some kind of way to arrive by car.
However, on the Google Earth satellite map it was impossible because the pictures are not clear in this zone. I tried with SigPac (Agrarian Data Geographic Information System, from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Spain) where the resolution is better and I found a good aerial map. I printed some pictures from Valdealgorfa village to Confluence point 42N 0º and then by cutting, sticking and joining papers I got a fantastic aerial map 0,40 meters long.
Together, “Juanje” and I started at 10 a.m., driving from Zaragoza to Alcañiz (Teruel) on the N-230 road. After 98 Kms., we took the N-340 in the direction of Tarragona. A few Kms. later we saw a sign on the left to Valdealgorfa. It was 11.30 a.m. Ten minutes later we were in the main square of a nice small village.
We stopped, looked at the compass, GPS and the aerial map. The map was like a puzzle, but it showed us we had to go east a couple of Kms. It showed us, too, that there were a lot of ways through the village to the Point we wanted to get to. It is because fruit and olive trees need good tracks to enable farmers to collect the harvest, which had been the previous month.
After half an hour, after we had taken a wrong road and come back two hundred meters, because the track was off the map a little bit, we got to the Point, having walked a few meters after leaving the car on the country road. My second Point In my life.
And "Juanje’s" first Point. He was a perfect co-pilot, looking at maps, the compass and the GPS, showing me the right way while I was drawing. He, too, showed me birds, plants, stones and thousand-year-old olive and fruit trees with scientific names.
We found the small heap of stones that Ramon Barrachna described in his story four years ago. It appeared as he described it and, I think, nobody had seen or touched it since then.
We took shots of the cardinal points in the properly established way and the GPS with all zeros and a general view and photos of ourselves for posterity.
Then we went back to Valdealgorfa and the main N-320 road. However, we did not drive towards Zaragoza, we drove in the direction of Tarragona, because three Kms. further on more, there is a monument and a sign at the place where the Prime Meridian crosses. This is because in Aragón, we are proud of this, and we put signs and illuminated monuments on main roads announcing the exact places.
There, we took another photo of ourselves by the monument and went back to Alcañiz, where we had lunch at 2 p.m. Two hours later we were in Zaragoza.
I accompanied my friend “Juanje” to the Jesuit College and went home. I told my wife about the adventure and I went to bed for a well-deserved siesta.
Next May I will be in London with my son and his wife and we want to see the Greenwich Observatory. I am sure I will remember the trip I made with my friend “Juanje” to the Prime Meridian, in Spain, and the imaginary line of meridians and parallels that join countries and cities.
Next March I will be 72, but I am preparing the next visit to another Confluence, 42ºN 0º Lalueza (Huesca), one of two points where the Prime Meridian crosses from North to South Aragón, and one of three in Spain.