Leslie here has been called many 'philes' in his time, but there's only one that holds validity. Orophile. Someone who loves mountains.
After hugging the Costa Brava for a few days, we had to head to Girona to sort out our solar panels. About 40 minutes further inland was the La Garrotxa natural park. Go on then.
We only spent the bones of a long weekend here, but it was amazing. First off, when we think of 'Spanish' landscape, a barren image comes to mind. However, up north, the only colour present is a lush green.
Here's what we did:
Stayed in Besalu.
Besalu offered typical medieval architecture, free parking and a white chocolate croissant. To us, that ticks every box.
You wouldn't need to spend more than half a day here to fully enjoy it. It has about 2,500 inhabitants, a few streets and fewer shops. You can drive to Besalu from Barcelona in less than two hours (if you don't drive our van...) and also see Girona on your way. When Leslie was in Barcelona, it was the old town that grabbed his attention. Girona and Besalu both have this architecture and history in abundance. Girona having the Jewish quarter (which a lot of GoT Season 6 was shot in, apparently) and Besalu is exclusively old, tiny street goodness.
Hiked in Sadernes.
Further inland from Besalu is where things start to get interesting. Particularly in a place called Sadernes.
After a morning in Besalu, we drove a massive 20 minutes to Sadernes. With nature in excess and phone signal absent; we winged it. If you are in to rock climbing, the place seems to be absolutely pumping. It was the weekend, so it was busier than usual, but there were still many people scaling walls. Anyway, if you are in to rock climbing, send it up here, my guy.
We kept our feet on the ground. The river runs through and cuts a deep gorge in the landscape. It was gorge-ous and the only regret was not going further up to get some sweet, sweet panoramas. After a quick, and very cold dip, we thought we may go find our next parking spot. So off we went to.. Castellfullit De La Roca
This place is just so rad. It's a town built on top of a 50m high basaltic cliff.
We parked down below, with a seriously cool view of the floating houses. There's a drone video soon to be released on our Instagram. Visuals do this place more justice than words.
Hiked up an extinct volcano in Olot.
Hike is a stretch. It was a 15 minute wake-up call for the legs. It's also not that amazing. Montsacoppa is small and green, but it does have a beautiful view of the town below it. We didn't have to sacrifice more than an hour to fit this in to our schedule, so it was definitely worth it.
Went River Dancing at Gorg Moli Dels Murris.
This place was worth the hefty 3 euro entrance fee.
From the car park, you have a few options on where to visit. We walked 20 minutes to Gorg Moli Dels Murris. Natural pools, a winding river and crystal clear water. Unfortunately the sun was shy so it was pretty fresh, but well worth the dip.
It was actually so good that we have decided to return when the weather picks up. We found this place on Google after coming down from the volcano hike and it was possibly the highlight of the week. Again, this is exactly why the van was such an attraction for us. We decided on a whim to check the river out, had tortellini in the car park and drove back to our site at Castellfullit De La Roca. The freedom it brings is beautiful.
We just need to keep an eye out for low bridges.
For quick summary:
- 19 euro a day total expense. (over the last 9 days)
- Parked for free 4 out of 9 nights (needed for electricity.. and a hot shower)
- Solar Panels are being installed on Thursday. (Two 180w panels. These will run the laptop and all camera batteries etc, as well as fairy lights, and a fridge.)
- Catalonia is not Spain. We are starting to see and accept this.
We'll be back to let you know how life with solar panels feels. We're confident it is going to feel even better.