Cantonigròs

February 19, 2007 at 8:11 pm 5 comments

This past weekend we went on a camino with Pau and Mireia. This hike had been in the works for quite a while. Sebastian and I had talked about organizing one way back in January. We wanted to hike up north, around Vic and Pau, who is a member of the hiking feferation in Vic, knows many of the trails there. We contacted him about a month ago to see if he was available to go for a hike with us. Sunday was the day we went. We let people know where we were going and when to meet but in the end only Alex, myself and Sebastian went from Barcelona. We left for Vic on the 9:20 train out of Placa Catalunya.

Pau i Mireia

An hour and a half later, we arrived in Vic. Pau and Mireia met us at the train station and off we went. They told us that they had made reservations for lunch and that we would be hiking to the restaurant, eating and hiking back. We were in for a huge, pleasant surprise. We headed off in the direction of Olot, which is north of Vic. The highway progressively climbed as we got further from Vic. The whole landscape changed from what we were used to in Barcelona. Most of the trees were bare of their leaves and the sky, wow, so dramatic. The sun and clouds were having this huge battle for dominance and the clouds were winning each skirmish, although at times it seemed the sun would win. It was like this for the entire day and made for some of the most dramatic skies I had ever seen.

So here’s a photo of what Barcelona was like on Thursday of last week, lush and green. Keep this in mind when you view the photos from our hike.

We pulled into a parking lot for a restaurant and our hike began. we were in an area called Cantonigròs. Pau pointed the way and off we went. The light was really flat so it was hard to get good photos since there was hardly any contrast.

We walked down the highway to a dirt road that went towards the mountain.

Actually, the road ran along a valley in between mountains, the scenery was amazing. We walked past working farms and the livestock was right there. Some of the biggest bulls I have ever seen were here too. These are cows by the way.

The path eventually started to wind it’s way upwards. It started off with a gentle climb and as we entered the forest we ran into some hunters with their dogs. We could hear dogs howling since we entered the valley. I’d never seen hunters with dogs before (except in the movies) so it was quite a treat.

Aparently there are a lot of wild boars here and signs were everywhere warning hikers of the possible danger. We kept on walking upwards and the path started to narrow at points as we made our way across the terrain.

That soon ended as we started some serious upward movements. The path varied from lots of vegetation to rock. The sky kept up the show and at this time, the clouds were really winning the battle. They were so thick it was getting dark.

You could see we’d climbed a fair bit up into the mountains

and of course we had to shoot some photos (just the excuse I needed for a rest)

After our rest, ooops, I mean photo session, we climbed at a much quicker rate. The slope of the path increased quite a bit. I was sweating like mad. I sweat easily, even just doing my weight workout. I keep meaning to ask a doctor if it’s good to sweat so easily or is it a sign that something is up. I’ll have to wait until I get back to Canada I guess. Here’s the view from a little higher up, note the sky again. The sun is starting to gain a little ground.

At this point we’re “almost” at the restaurant. It’s on top of that mountain in the back and if you look closely you can see the trail that leads up. This was going to be fun (tongue in cheek).

We started up the trail and Sebastian, the mountain goat, went bouncing up the trail. You can see where we had come from and now, where we are going.

I went up at a good rate and stopped about half way up. I could actually hear my heart pounding, it was amazing. On the way up there was a marker and it gives you an idea of just how high we’d climbed in 1 hour and 30 minutes.

On top of this mountian were more trails continuing on and walking the narrow trail gave you fantastic views on both sides of the range.

It was weird because the sun was winning the war on one side and it seemed like the clouds were gathering on the other side to attack.

This was an amzing place to be. So close to the edge and nothing to guide you. You really felt the three dimensional world when you looked at the edge of the cliff.

There was also a geological marker placed at the top and there were indicators to different areas on the horizon.

As high as we were, the trail climbed even higher. Since our table was ready we only went so far.

From here we turned around and went back to the restaurant.

The restaurant, Sanctuari de Cabrera, is in a building that heralds from medieval times. It was a church and a sanctuary and the church is still there beside the resaurant. A really amazing place and a fantastic treat.

We had salad, mountain paella, beef, wine, dessert,coffee and penty of great conversation. I might add that at the beginning of the day, we, or should I say they, decided to speak only spanish and catalan. I survived and even managed to get into the conversations.

Pau and Mireia even taught me how to drink wine from a porron, a catalan wine dispenser. It takes a bit of time to master and after pouring lots of wine on my face and shirt, I finally managed it.

Here’s some clearer photos of the porron.

The room was very humid with all the cooking going on and the outside looked so uninviting. Fog was just rolling across the ground and being inside was so comforting.

The cooking was done like it has been for centuries, by fire. The kitchen had few modern conveniences since the place was so isolated.

When we left, it seemed like the sun was finally going to win the war, at least in the valley we were heading down into. The dark clouds were still blowing across so it could go any way.

The return trip took far less time than it took to get up there and when we finally made it back to the car, the sun poked out and gave us a grand farewell.

Shortly after that photo, the clouds waged a massive assault and won the day. Less than 2 hours later, the rain started.

Pau and Mireia had given memories that we will treasure for the rest of our lives. A fantastic day with fantastic friends.

Entry filed under: "Santuari de Cabrera", Alan's Blog, Blog, Cantonigròs, Catalan, Churches, Culture, Friends, General Medieval, Hiking, Parks, Restaurants, Spain, Trekking, Vic, Weather, Weekend.

Thursday’s Walk Feb 15,2007 Why I blog…

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. HD  |  February 19, 2007 at 10:49 pm

    YES! This is it! Careful, it’s addictive…..

    Nice pics, they make me smell the country side and taste the food. Btw, if you get a chance, taste the wild boar 😉

    Reply
  • 2. Marianne  |  February 26, 2007 at 12:03 am

    Some fantastic shots from your hike. Love the atmosphere. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • 3. Elmo  |  February 22, 2008 at 2:08 am

    Hi Alan, it’s Elmo, from Brazil, you met me in Barcelona with T-Rex, Alex’s cousin. I first saw your blog today and I really found it amazing, you are a really good groupie. But what really impressed me was this post about the hike you made with Pau and Mireia, which, by the way, you told us about when we were in Vic. It’s a pitty I haven’t read this post before, otherwise you would have talked a lot with you about it.
    Although it haven’t happened to me yet that day, now I know how you felt when you took the hike, cuz I felt it too when I went to Andorra on our last day in Europe. Me and T-Rex rented a car and I drove all the way to Andorra. And the most impressive thing is the huge difference between the landscape in Barcelona and the sights one can see when leaving town.. The difference is so big, in such a short distance! As you are from Canada, you might be used to travel a huge distance and see nothing but the same thing all the time… at least here in Brazil it is that way.
    I think I never said goodbye and thanked properly to you, Alex and to your friends who welcomed us so dearly in Spain. I’d like you to give me their e-mail, if possible, so I can do so. Anyway, I miss you a lot guys, it was very nice meeting you. Now I look back at those days and I wish I had more time to chat more, it’s a shame I got so shy. You should really come visit us in Belo Horizonte, you probably will need to buy a new Hard Rock T-Shirt (which, by the way, I also bought in Barcelona).

    I think now I became an Academic Groupie’s groupie.

    Thanks again, keep in touch.

    elmo

    Reply
  • 4. Johnny  |  June 26, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    I used to live in the area about eight years ago. I’ve just got back to the UK after a trip back to Catalunya for a wedding. We used to visit Carbera a lot and the reception for the wedding was in the sanctuary. It’s possible to drive most of the way up to a small car park at the foot of the steps/trail. From there it’s about a 20 minute walk. Great views at the top – on a clear day – and the food is great, although it’s always pretty much the same courses.

    Reply
  • 5. Alan Bell  |  June 26, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    It was a total surprise when we go there. I might add that the whole day was a supreme joy. Thanks for the comments and coming by
    Alan

    Reply

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