All posts filed under: Catalonia

Above Barcelona's roofs

Barcelona – two days in the Catalonian metropolis

Saturday morning at the train station in Barcelona. Here, Barbara is waiting for her boyfriend, who will come here directly from the airport. Their aim on this weekend: Exploring Barcelona and getting a first impression of the city between the mountains and the sea.

Arriving an adapting

Two days will never be enough for visiting all the sights, recommended restaurants and bars, museums and popular districts of the Catalonian capital, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Therefore, the two set out for their little adventure, a little bit blind and disoriented, Barbara admits. The most important thing is the right direction: they focus on their hostel for leaving their luggage. Just following their nose, the couple goes by metro to the city centre, as their accommodation is located in front of the Universitat de Barcelona, close to Plaça Catalunya. However, they already change their plan during their metro journey, get off at the next station, look for a café and, in a more organized way, make a new weekend plan, while enjoying a café con leche and delicious croissants.

Blick über Barcelona

Where to start?

Goose, paella and the sea

Leaving their mystery tour-tactics behind, they both decide to go for a walk through the Barri Gòtic, the oldest district of the town. Their travel guide proposes a very interesting route with passing all the important sights. So perfect for tourists like them who don’t have much time. Starting at the Gothic cathedral “La Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia“ with goose entertaining its visitors, Barbara and her boyfriend walk to the “Palau de la Generalitat“ where the Catalonian government has its seat, until the “Puente del Bisbe“, they visit all the famous Gothic buildings of Barcelona. At the same time, they get closer to the sea and make a break in the afternoon, at Spanish lunchtime, in the warm spring sun while having a tasty paella and a cold beer.

Palm trees in the cloister

Apart from the goose, there are also palm trees and other plants decorating the cathedral’s cloister.

Event location and leisure time spot

After the couple finally has left the luggage at their hostel, they make their way towards the local mountain, called Montjuïc, which has a height of 173 meters. The Montjuïc serves as a perfect event location, but also without anything planned, attracts as many tourists as locals. Whether the rests of the world exhibition in 1929, like the German pavilion constructed by Mies van der Rohe, the Font Màgica (magic fountain), the parks around the mountain or the impressive castle at the highest point of Montjuïc, there is a lot to see. From the castle, you have a beautiful view over the whole city and the Olympic site behind (In 1992, the Summer Olympics took place in Barcelona) with its huge TV mast provides enough space for a few quiet minutes, before they go back to the hustle and bustle.

Magic fountain

Montjuïc impresses with size and architecture.

Fascinating show and culinary diversity

Soon afterwards, Barbara and her boyfriend sit at the crowded stairs in front of the Font Màgica, waiting impatiently for the light show to begin. At 7 pm, water fountains will be shooting up into the air, accompanied by music and colourful lights. After the show, it’s time for dinner and they are spoilt for choice: the streets are endlessly filled with restaurants and tapas bars, especially in the trendy districts. The two look around next to Eixample and finally find a place for having something to eat.

Magic fountain during night

Both of them are impressed by all the different colours and formations of the lights.

Gaudí’s masterpieces

On Sunday, they planned to visit Barcelona’s highlights: the Sagrada Família and the Casa Milà, both constructed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudí. In a good mood and full of anticipation, they make their way towards the Sagrada. Arriving there, they get extremely disappointed. Of course, they didn’t reserve our tickets online in advance, which would have been a good idea. A big mistake regarding the huge queue of people already waiting since 9 am to get in. So, the two join the queue and are lucky: as one of the last people they still get tickets for the entrance at 1pm. Both of them appreciate the unexpected free time in the morning and visit the art nouveau Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, close to the Sagrada. Afterwards, they continue their Gaudí tour and walk around the roof terrace and the exhibition spaces of the Casa Milà, while listening to an audioguide. People also call it “La Pedrera“ (engl. quarry), because the residents of Barcelona were not very amused by the building with its curved façade and the many projections. Barbara and her boyfriend, however, are astonished at Gaudí’s innovative architecture and have to tear theirselves away, in order to not miss the admission for Gaudí’s most famous building: the Sagrada Familia, which he dedicated his life to. So, in a way, they follow the course of his productive years chronologically.

La Pedrera

With its curvy façade, “La Pedrera” captivates all of its visitors.

Barcelona’s landmark

From the outside, the two are not very impressed as the building is not finished yet and a great deal of construction cranes shape the usual image. Therefore, they don’t really get why this church is supposed to be so special and unique, besides the many cranes, towers and other elements observed from the outside. As they enter the church, their opinions suddenly change. Amazed by the modern construction and the big luminous interior, both agree that the Sagrada Família is something special, indeed. Not only because of its history (they started to build it already 130 years ago!!!), but also because of its unusual looks, making it not a typical church. And that’s probably the reason for its incomparable uniqueness.

Barcelona's landmark

Long queues and huge cranes are part of the usual picture of the Sagrada Familia.

Tow days, hundreds of impressions, one certainty

Still fascinated by the architecture of Gaudí, Barbara and her boyfriend have to pack their things, because their time in Barcelona is coming to an end. Arrived with few ideas and plans, they leave with much more impressions and memories. They’re sure, this won’t be their last trip to the vivid metropolis at the Mediterranean Sea. Barcelona put a spell on them and still has a lot more to offer…let’s see where they will end up next.

Last view over Barcelona

One last view over the Catalonian capital.

 

Mountains covered with snow

Between Spain and France – on the way to the Pyrenees

The Pyrenees form the natural border between Spain and France and separate the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of Europe. On a warm spring day, we hit the road for exploring this no man’s land at the northern part of Catalonia and for learning what endless wideness and absolute harmony with nature really mean. 

Let’s go!

We start at Torroella de Fluvià and go towards Darnius and enter into another world. Dense cork-oak forests cover the mountainous landscape like a blanket and narrow streets, seamed by blossoming broom plants, lead us upwards towards the snowcapped peaks.

High above the valleys

Our way takes us higher and higher through the mountains.

Narrow streets and small villages

Like a thin thread the street winds upwards to the heights of the Pyrenees and passes small rivers and valleys through bridges, which seem to melt together with the subsoil. We pass Maçanet de Cabrenys and Tapis and get to the French Coustouges. If the street signs were not in French, you would not notice the difference, because time seems to pass slower there. Neighbours are having a chat at the one corner, children are playing at the other and one step further a man makes his way home with a fresh baguette. The narrow and steep alleys of the mountain villages remain silent. The natural stone houses adapt to the hillsides of the mountains and create a pleasant atmosphere.

Blue sky over pass road

Along the mountain pass our way leads us across the easter Pyrenees.

Textile manufacture in the middle of the Pyrenees

Just in time we get to Saint-Laurent-de-Cerdans. It is almost 12 o’clock and they still let us into the showroom of “Les Toiles Du Soleil“ before making their lunch break. Since the 19th century, the traditional Catalan company high up in the Pyrenees produces high quality cotton and flax textiles. We not only find ourselves in the village’s last textile manufactory, but also in a textile paradise. They use the colourfully striped materials to manufacture pillowcases, napkins, cooking aprons and much more. If you like sewing yourself, you can also take home piece goods or rests of textiles. An extensive spending spree later, we sit back in the car and continue our journey.

At the company of Les Toiles du Soleil

The firm premises of Les Toiles du Soleil.

The magic of the mountain villages

The narrow street leads us past the villages of Le Tech and Prats-de-Mollo-la-Preste back to Espinavell in Spain. The houses there seem to stick to the mountains as they are built on top of each other. Down at the river, where they drive by the horses from mountain pastures down to the valley every autumn, there is a small country hotel. There we eat delicious fresh trouts. After this unique taste experience, we head towards Molló. In the centre you can find an incredibly big Romanesque church, compared to the size of the village. We are winding up our way through the mountains, cross various times the river Ter and finally get to Camprodon. Especially the arch bridge “Pont Nou“, connecting both banks like a wooden brick, is something to remember there. Also in Sant Joan de les Abadesses you can find such a bridge. However, this small town is famous for the history of its convent dating back to the 8th century. The last stop is Ripoll with its beautiful Romanesque Benedictine monastery, the first one in Spain. Inspired by the St. Peter’s Church in Rome, the monks created a true oasis of peace.

Monastery in Ripoll

Cloister of the convent in Ripoll.

Church in Molló

Size and age of the church in Ripoll make it something unique.

Back from the mountains

With a few pieces of fresh coca (bread) and a lot of impressions we finally make our way home. Slowly we dive back into the loud and stressful daily life at the feet of the silence found up in the mountains. We leave behind the isolation of the villages, the endless expanse of the mountain range and the feeling of being able to touch the clouds at the highest point of the mountain pass.

Looking at the snowy mountains

Hasta luego and bye bye! We are sure of coming back to the mountains for experiencing peace and freedom.

 

Along the coast

At the other side of the Pyrenees

The sun shines brightly and bathes small coastal towns, the mountain range Serra de l’Albera, picturesque bays, rough rocks, traditional fishing villages and narrow streets in a golden light. Perfect conditions for our trip on a sunny day in spring.

From Perpignan towards the Pyrenees

We start our journey in Perpignan and travel back to Spain along the French Mediterranean coast. Passing salt lakes south-east of Perpignan, very popular for surfing, we get to Argelès-sur-Mer. This seaside resort connects in a way the Pyrenees with the Mediterranean Sea and impresses with its small alleys and fine sandy beaches. However, we don’t stay long and follow the street along the coast, covered with hundreds of blossoming lavender and broom plants.

Coloured plants decorate along the coast.

Beautiful plants seam the coastline.

Picturesque fishing villages and unspoiled bays

Our way southwards leads us to Collioure, an old fishing village, which attracts lots of different artists. Again and again we see their framed motifs. At the promenade, a frame shows, for example, the ancient fortified church, captured by Henri Matisse. We make a small break and take in the splendid colours and the hustle and bustle in the bay. Then we leave Collioure and its colourful alleys and soon afterwards enjoy the peace in one of the secluded and delightful bays of Port Vendres.

Fortified church in Collioure

The bay of Collioure invites coffee lovers, sun worshippers and wind surfers.

Great view of the coast

Passing Banyuls-sur-Mer, famous for its sweet wine, we finally get to the Cap Rederis. From there you have a beautiful view of the coastal landscape: from the Cap Béar to the Spanish Cap de Creus, you can enjoy a stunning panorama, framed by various illuminated flowers. Down at the water, waves with sea spray break against the rough rocks of the steep coast and through the clear, turquoise water beyond you can see to the ground.

Looking down to the seabed

Through the clear water you can see down to the bottom of the sea.

A trip full of impressions

Wonderful strong colours and idyllic small bays. Traditional fishing villages and abandoned streets along the steep coast. Clear water in all possible shades of blue and great views over the entire coast. All these impressions make a trip along the southern part of the French Mediterranean coast totally worth it.

Approaching

The dream of flying

The fascination of flying is part of the human history. Ovid writes in his papers about self-made wings made out of candle wax and feathers which were used by Daedalus and Icarus for escaping from their captivity. Marco Polo speaks about manned wings with dragons. Ultimately, at the end of the 15th century, Leonardo da Vinci’s investigation about airstream and his drafts of helicopters, parachutes and other flying objects definitely prove the interest humans have in flying.

Boundless freedom above the clouds

The driving force is probably the feeling of freedom and the overcoming of gravity. Finally going beyond your own borders and achieving the impossible. Also parachutists strive for some kind of “flying“. They find happiness in controlling the free fall by repealing the laws of nature for a few seconds and then simply fly.

Up in the air

High up int the sky, parachutists show different formations, like the spiral dive.

Skydiving – a once in a lifetime experience

During his visit in Empuriabrava, Barbara’s boyfriend wants to realize his dream of skydiving too. Nevertheless, when she meets him at the airfield, he seems nervous, but of course, to jump out of a plane on 4000 m a. s. l. is not an everyday-thing. Still, he has to wait a little bit more, as it is the turn of two more groups before him. As the last group takes off, he gets called and a member of the flying school comes towards us: “Jonas?“ In a practised manner he puts him on the safety belts and disappears while saying “See you in a few minutes“.

Taking off

With this plane, Jonas is taking off.

Waiting game

Barbara watches the plane taking off and try following it with her eyes. Not only because she is in charge with taking photos, but also because she simply wants to know when and where her love comes racing down towards the ground, with a speed of 200km/h. However, because of the shining sun, this is not an easy thing to do and so she often confuses a seagull with the first parachutist jumping down to the earth.

Watching parachutists up in the sky

Seagull or parachute? Hard to tell…

Big relief and endless joy

After a few minutes, the first ones arrive in various formations with their parachutes. Still, Barbara can’t see her boyfriend. She is scanning the sky impatiently for his parachute. They keep her on tenterhooks a little bit more and then finally she sees the right parachute. Rapidly she takes her phone and follow them with her camera while taking photos, hoping some of them will turn out well. Then she goes to the airfield and welcome a happy Jonas back on the ground.

With the feet up high ready for landing

Compared to the free fall out of the plane, landing is really easy.

Torroella panorama

Dream destination south – the villages of the Empordà

In the small villages near the Costa Brava, in the Alt Empordà, one encounters the ideal mix of peace, relaxation, culture, and entertainment. The temperate Mediterranean climate with many hours of sunshine makes you simply happy and creates a perfect year-round holiday feeling. Where the Pyrenees sink into the sea, there can be found privileged golf courses, historical sites, medieval villages, picturesque coves, and beautiful beaches with white sand.

Torroella de Fluvià

The small village of Torroella de Fluvià impresses with contrasts: the charm of the centuries-old stone walls of Catalan Masias charms has led many to buy holiday homes or family residences. The charm of tradition – accentuated by stylish interior design – complemented by modern technical equipment. Tradition and modernity is the motto. The great combination of old and new shows in many places. One experiences a symphony of peace and joy. Relaxing at the pool or walking through the beautiful landscapes. The skin breathes, the body feels reborn.

Ancient castle in village

The castle was once the home of a noble family.

Paradise for surfers

From Torroellea de Fluvià, the beach of Sant Pere Pescador is only 10 minutes away! Plus point: the entire beach of Sant Pere Pescador is protected, there only some camping sites around. All construction is forbidden and it is considered a paradise by surfers and kite surfers alike. Those who live or enjoy their holidays in Torroella de Fluvià can choose freely between the hustle and bustle of the summer or the tranquillity of village life.

Red flowers

In springtime you can see many poppies in the fields nearby.

Old mansions and castles with sea view

In the small village – just a few kilometers from the Bay of Roses – one is grounded. The scent of wild herbs is in the air. The river Fluvià –which gave the village its name- flows from the Pyrenees to the sea, through green meadows and fields. The privileged already appreciated the idyllic spot already in the past, which is demonstrated by old mansions and a castle overlooking the sea.

Church Sant Cebrià

The church of Torroella de Fluvià was built in the 12th century and is called Església de Sant Cebrià.

Pure village idyll

In Torroella de Fluvià there is a little piece of paradise left. The farmers cultivate their fields. The old women meet daily in the small shop on the corner and on the village festival young and old, residents and guests, locals and international newcomers dance together to the beat of a live band in the square in front of the Ajuntament.

Grass and cereals in front of a traditional stone house

Grown cereals in front of a traditional stone house, called masia.

Aiguamolls – nature reserve

Every weekend, there is a flea market at the village square, where you can browse through the old stuff and sometimes discover a real gem or a whimsical decoration.
The village borders on the nature reserve Aiguamolls – the famous bird sanctuary at the mouth of Fluvià. The Natural Park Aiguamolls del Empordà is one of the most famous and beautiful wetlands in Catalonia. In Aiguamolls you can observe rare birds, follow the storks and herons in the sky your with eyes or simply stroll through nature until you land on deserted beaches to collect driftwood and seashells.

 

Romantic panorama of Torroella

Idyllic landscape of Torroella de Fluvià.

 

Beautiful villas in Vilacolum

In recent years, Torroella de Fluvià has expanded to include the small tourist center Vilacolum. If you prefer a small villa instead to a country house, you are in good hands there. All property offers in the village and the surrounding area can be found at www.selected-Property.com

Dalí from a different angle

One day in the life of Dalí

Exposition in the Gala Dalí Castle in Púbol

The temporary exposition in the Gala Dalí Castle in Púbol gives visitors the chance to get an impression of the private Dalí – his work in his studio and the life with his wife Gala. From March 15 until January 7, 2018, you can see photographs of both of them, made by Ricardo Sans, a Spanish photographer.

Ricardo Sans’ heritage

The Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation bought around 900 pictures from the Ricardo Sans heritage, which where taken by him during his cooperation with Dalí. Both got to know each other in 1949, through mutual friends. Since then, Sans documented them with his photographs between 1949 and 1956. The exhibition is divided into four different sections: portraits of Salvador Dalí (1949-1956), portraits of Gala (1951-1953), portraits of Salvador Dalí and Gala (1951-1954) and their everyday life in Portlligat (1950-1956). Organized by huge picture frames, the images seem like a photo album visitors can “leaf through“.

Visitors watching the phptographs

We were very interested in observing the private Dalí and Gala in the photographs.

Photographs showing the Dalís from different sides

The pictures give an insight into the private life of Dalí and make possible a better understanding of the extroverted artist. Some photos show him eating sea urchins, other while painting the Christ of Saint John of the Cross. The portraits of Gala show her mostly posing in front of the camera, with a smile on her lips. There are two photographs standing out, both of them are double exposed. The first one shows Dalí with his better half in their courtyard of their house. The second one shows Dalí hiding in the living room, typical surrealist style, showing that Salvador Dalí knew better than anyone else how to draw attention.

 

Eccentric Dalí and Gala

Dalí with the love of his life, Gala in their house in Portlligat.

Dalí as designer

The exposition is definitely worth a visit, because you can also visit the Gala Dalí Castle at the same time. In its on special way, the medieval building, which was given to Gala as a present from Dalí, gives you the possibility to immerse in their lives. Dalí himself furnished and designed the castle for Gala, the love of his life. A glass table serving as a peephole for observing their guests or a radiator covered with a painting of the exact same radiator are only a few examples for Dalí’s creativity.

Golden water tap

A very unique detail is the golden water tap in Gala’s bathroom.

 

 

Three restaurant chefs

Disfrutar in Barcelona wins the ‘Miele One to Watch’ Award 2017

Restaurant run by former El Bulli chefs as global rising star

Disfrutar in Barcelona has been named this year’s Miele One To Watch by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Opened in December 2014, Disfrutar is a collaboration between chefs Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch. The three met while cooking at former No.1 restaurant El Bulli, where they worked alongside legendary Spanish chef Ferran Adrià.

Disfrutar as one of  the world’s 50 best restaurants

Disfrutar’s founders will be presented with the coveted award at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards in Melbourne on April 5th. The Miele One To Watch Award celebrates emerging global talent and recognizes a restaurant that is outside the 50 Best itself but has the potential to rise up the list in the near future.

Front of Disfrutar restaurant

The modern front of the restaurant. (photo: Adri Goula)

“Worthy winners of the Miele One To Watch Award”

William Drew, Group Editor of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, said: “Disfrutar showcases the individual talents of these three chefs and broadens their influence on Spain’s culinary scene. Their commitment to pushing the creative boundaries of gastronomy makes them worthy winners of the Miele One To Watch Award.”

Inside the restaurant

From inside, the new restaurant has an understated elegance. (photo: Adri Goula)

Disfrutar – a symbolic nod to Barcelona’s cultural heritage

Following El Bulli’s 2011 closure, Casañas, Castro and Xatruch opened „Compartir“ (meaning “share”) in Cadaqués. Building on the success of their initial venture, the trio launched Disfrutar (meaning “to enjoy”) to widespread acclaim, earning their first Michelin star in 2016. Centrally located in Barcelona’s Eixample district, Disfrutar evokes a Mediterranean spirit with its décor and laid-back ambience. Beyond the entrance, guests walk past two open kitchens and are led into the spacious, whitewashed dining room that extends to an open terrace. Bright and earth-coloured ceramics in various forms dominate the space, a symbolic nod to Barcelona’s cultural heritage and the restaurant’s focus on artistry.

Disfrutar's kitchen design

With its earth-coloured ceramics and the open kitchen, Disfrutar evokes a Mediterranean spirit, indeed. (photo: Adri Goula)

Macaroni made out of gelatin

While Disfrutar’s multi-course tasting menus uphold modernist culinary principles, they also reveal the chefs’ quirky personalities. Avantgarde, theatrical and inventive, each course aims to delight and excite the senses. Signature dishes include macaroni made from gelatin, tossed in truffle foam and smothered in Parmesan at the table. A deconstructed whisky tart invites guests to wash their hands in whisky and inhale the scent as they eat.

Winning architects

The Pritzker Architecture Prize 2017 goes to Catalonia

Winners are  Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta

The Pritzker Architecture Prize is regarded as the Nobel prize for architects. The prize is worth 100.000$ and is awarded by the Hyatt Foundation and a jury of prestigious architects, since 1979. In 2017, the award went to three Catalonian architects, Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta from Olot, Girona. Since almost 30 years, the three architects have been working together under the label RCR ARQUITECTES. Through their projects, they create an interaction between space, light, shade, ambience, surrounding, colours and landscape.

“Great understanding of history, natural topography and culture”

According to the jury, their work is “powerfully connected to the surrounding landscape“, which comes from the “strong sense of place“ and the great “understanding of history, natural topography and culture“. They always intend to “highlight the natural surrounding“ through the siting of buildings, the choice of materials and the geometries and “to pull them into the building“. Their work connects past and present, just as exterior and interior, which shows their “love for both tradition and innovation“. They often use modern materials like glass, plastic and recycled steel.

Folded steel walls in vineyards

The vineyard Bell-Lloc in Palamós, dating back to 2007. Here you can see folded steel walls, integrated in the vineyards like sculptures. (photo: Hisao Suzuki)

Aiming at regional work

For the first time, three architects together are honoured with the prize. Their purpose is to tackle the local history and landscape and to work regionally. All three of them are deeply attached to their roots, preferring local life rather than a jet-set lifestyle or working with the most famous architects worldwide. However, they prove that, wherever you are in the world, with the right sense for time and space, you are able to design in a creative and modern way.
Most of their projects are realized between Girona and Barcelona, near to their office in Olot.

All of their projects provide balance. To be open minded and close to your roots is the recipe for success, according to RCR ARQUITECTES.

Plastic roof floating in Olot

Since 2011, you can find a transparent, bent plastic roof, floating between old stone walls at the restaurant Les Cols in Olot. (photo: Eugeni Pons / Hisao)

 

Here you can see some of their well-known work:

 

 

 

 

Pink rockstars in Roses

Carnival in Roses 2017: colourful, loud, cheerful

Hot rhythms and tight costumes

Samba and hot disco rhythms, that is the motto of carnival at the Costa Brava.
People are having wild parties in Roses, L’Escala, Empuriabrava, Platja d’Aro and other places along the coast of Catalonia.

Dancing all night long

Rising temperatures make it easy to have a street party while dressed in short costumes. Salsa rhythms are roaring from the decorated carriages. At the promenade, people are in party mood. Garishly dressed, people are dancing all night long.

Dancing in the street

In Roses, people know how to make party.

The beat booms far out to the sea

Golden knights waiting for their battles, coloured masks laughing into the crowd: the beat is roaring over the sea. People applaud when  the festive carriages, going from Plaça Catalunya to Plaça Frederic Rahola, pass by. There is a lot of dancing, flirting and singing going on.

Gentlemen of Freixenet

The noble guys from Freixenet know too how to celebrate.

The square in front of the harbour

This year, there have been 62 creatively decorated carriages and lots of marvellous costumes to admire. The mayoress gave the keys of the town to king carnival, who would be in charge for the town during carnival time. At the end of carnival, on Monday before Lent, she got back the keys and power.

Lions partying at carnival

A little party never killed nobody.

Funeral of the sardine

The end of carnival is near when weirdly dressed figures wander through the town of Roses on Monday before Lent (in other parts of Spain this would be Ash Wednesday). After the funeral of the sardine, carnival is officially over. There is big fireworks when the locals set fire to the sardine. In some places, the burning sardine gets carried to the open sea. The legend says that something has to be destroyed for something new to arise…

Partying dragon in Roses

The last party people are walking through the town.

This unique tradition has many explanations:

1. The custom is supposed to originate from 19th-century Madrid. At Ash Wednesday, Lent starts. The townspeople went to the countryside, in order to symbolically bury something. Because during Lent they did not consume any meat, they buried pork ribs, which were called “cerdina“. Over time, while passing on the legend, some mistake happened and “cerdina“ turned into “sardina“ – sardine.

2. In the 19th century, a group of students organized a funeral procession, in order to celebrate carnival one more time and symbolically start Lent.

3. King Charles III. of Spain (1716 – 1788) prohibited to eat meat at Ash Wednesday, instead people were supposed to eat sardines. At Ash Wednesday, temperatures were unusually rising and it got too hot for the sardines and they turned inedible. The smell was unbearable. Therefore, they organized a funeral. This spontaneous procession then became tradition and a party.

4. Other legends tell that the sacrificial offering was part of praying for a large fishing.

Nowadays, it is impossible to truly discover the origin of this tradition. The only certain thing is that the custom terminates carnival with big fuss, before starting again next year.

Looking into the blue sky

La Garrotxa – A walk through autumn woods

Autumn comes, the summer is past, winter will come soon, too. The November weather on the Costa Brava was perfect for the coloured leaves: As these need low temperature in the night and high during the day as well as intensive sunlight. Rarely have we seen such a beautiful November accompanied with this vivid colours.

The Hidden Life of Trees

“The hidden life of trees”. Peter Wohlleben decrypted it, so that his book became a bestseller. Peter Wohlleben is German’s most famous forester. In his book he shares his deep love of woods and forest and appear at the top of the bestseller lists. It will intrigue readers who love a walk through the woods. Not looking for disenchantment but for the magic! In keeping with the romantics, we want to hang loose – the reason why we replace the beach walk in November with a walk in the forest: instead of shells, we collect coloured leaves and mushrooms.

Perfect autumn weather

With every coloured tree we see, we get more fascinated by nature.

The healing power of the forest

The forest relaxes and lowers blood pressure. Inhaling the scent of pines, it strengthens the immune system and leaves the thoughts calm. Rustling sound of fallen leaves. A gentle breeze. Soft moss beneath our feet. Light and shadows do a round dance. “You can communicate with trees like you do with your brothers. Forests are silent. However, they are not dumb. It doesn’t matter who is coming, they make feel everyone better,” Erich Kästner said once.
In Peter Wohlleben’s book, the readers will begin to recognize trees for what they are, told with scientific competence and fairy tale-like: This book is his declaration of love to the forest, told by trees, which communicate with each other, have feelings and a memory …

Bridge over not so troubled water

Thinking of Peter Wohlleben, we can almost feel the strong connection the trees have with each other.

La Fageda d’en Jordà

Joan Maragall (1860 – 1911), one of the most important promoters of the renewal of Catalan culture at the end of 19th century, was fascinated by the singularity of the beech grove. In his poem “La Fageda d’en Jordà“ he praises the calmness and beauty, which any visitor falls for. The lonesome walker that unconsciously starts to count and slows down his steps, sinking into the luscious green and abandoning himself to the sweet oblivion of the world; finally, becoming a prisoner of the grove…
Fageda d’en Jordà – this is not only the name of a poem of the famous Catalan poet Joan Maragall, but also of a legendary beech grove near Olot.

Falling for the beauty of the woods

We are falling in love with the beauty of the forest.

The labyrinth of trees

We get into the adventure and find ourselves already in the middle of the forest. A fabulous canopy of leaves above our heads. The dark trunks structure the green, yellow and red. Sun reflexes dance around. Grouchy boulders are scattered on the lava ground, littered with leaves. Is it behind these stones where the goblins hide themselves, protagonists of numerous legends? We prefer not to leave the red marked pathway number 1 to find out more; more than one got lost in labyrinth of trees.

The labyrinth of trees

One can get lost easily in the labyrinth of trees.

A source of inspiration

Haven’t we just listened, unconsciously, to the rhythm of our steps? Haven’t we looked up to the green tree tops for too long now? The magic of this place is undeniable. It is not surprising that this singular forest has not only inspired poets but also painters, for example Olot’s famous school of country painters. In less than an hour we perambulated the marked walking trail and, full with new impressions, get back to the car. This time, La Fageda has released us.
In La Garrotxa you can find plenty of restaurants with good regional cuisine, for example in the picturesque medieval village of Santa Pau.

The trees as an inspirational source

The magic of the woods has inspired many artists.