Balloon therapy

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Pals: a beautifully restored medieval town

Brendan Daly goes up, up and away during a trip to the picturesque wilds of Catalonia

It’s just after 9.30 on a Monday morning, and I’m floating.

I’m in a hot-air balloon suspended about 800 metres above an undulating mosaic of oak forests and dormant volcanoes: La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park in Catalonia, north-east Spain.

Despite a few clouds, we’re surrounded by sweeping, shimmering vistas: the hazy, mountainy outcrop of Montserrat, the looming, hulking presence of the Pyrenees, and a flitting, almost dancing, sun on a sliver of the...

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