If anyone happens to stumble by my blog, sees this image and knows what it is… please tell me in a comment.
We were sauntering around Santa Pau, Spain, a medieval village in Catalonia about 1 1/2 hours north of Barcelona. I peeked around a corner and noticed this, stopped and looked for a bit but couldn’t figure it out so snapped a quick photo and continued my meander.
Your guess is as good as mine.
Old Door in Santa Pau – 2018
“Travel early and travel often. Live abroad, if you can. Understand cultures other than your own. As your understanding of other cultures increases, your understanding of yourself and your own culture will increase exponentially.” (Tom Freston)
I am finding this to be true, this quote from Tom Freston. The more I travel the more educated I am about the world. The more educated I am about the world the more open I am to new experiences, new ideas. The more open I am to new experiences, new ideas the more curious I become. The more curious I become the more I wish to discover. The more I wish to discover the more open I am of other people and their ideas. The more open I am of other people and their ideas the more I love LIFE.
Happiness = Travel + Curiosity + Adventure. IMHO.
“My message, especially to young people is to have courage to think differently, courage to invent, to travel the unexplored path, courage to discover the impossible and to conquer the problems and succeed. These are great qualities that they must work towards. This is my message to the young people.” (A. P. J. Abdul Kalam)
The above is one of my favorite photographs from Besalu, Spain. It encapsulates the colors, the mood, the laid-back vibe of the medieval village. When I took the image I didn’t even see the woman sitting so serenely. She was a bonus when I arrived stateside and began processing my images.
Spiritual Beech Trees of Catalonia, 2018
“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” (Martin Buber)
Such it was for me. After the tram ride though long-dead, eroded volcanoes we had lunch then showed up again at Lava Parc for our next adventure – a carriage ride to see the beech forest. I kept asking Xavi “are we there yet?” “are we there yet?” and he patiently said “…..you’ll know when we’re there.”
And I did. The carriage lunged up a hill and slowed down in a sea of green – the beech forest. We all grew silent and the guide told us this grove of trees exists because of a particular soil mixture that occurred due to the volcanoes. And, these trees only grow here, in the heart of Catalonia, and in Iceland.
We slowly clambered out of the carriage, which left us to hide behind a curve in the road. Our chance to experience this place without intrusion. As we fanned out I left the group and went into the forest. Touching a larger beech tree I began suddenly to weep. Tears flowed from emotions deep, deep within me, and would not stop. I wanted nothing more than to lay here in this forest and sob. Most of my photos are blurred from emotion. My reaction was not unnoticed by Xavi who, when it was time, came to help me out of the forest. Tears blurred my vision. My family, who know me well, gave me lots of hugs and we left the forest behind. I am weeping while telling the tale. This was an unexpected experience, a surprise reaction, a truly rare moment that I’ll never forget.
Extinct volcano, Lava Parc, Spain
“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” (Rosalia de Castro)
Before traveling to Olot, Spain, I didn’t have much time to research for travel. Therefore, we just took things as they came and delighted in each discovery. We were wide open and accepting…and the surprises were many. Olot is called the “City of Volcanoes” because it is ringed by 42 inactive volcanoes, four being in the city center. One day we went into the countryside just northwest of Santa Pau to Lava Parc. There, we took a slow, rambling tram ride through a lush Catalonian countryside to experience them.
During the tram ride we passed a horse farm – oh, but I could live right here!!! With these horses!!!
Seen from the tram as we travel up the side of the extinct volcano – the soil, which is already being reclaimed by nature.
Before protections were put in place, villagers began mining the volcanoes for resources. You can see that now that they are protected nature is reclaiming the cut portion.
“The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.”
(Gilbert K. Chesterton)
On our way to Besalu we passed through a scenic little village that was as beautiful as any other scenic little village you’ve ever seen. Charming. Delightful. Filled with small curvy roads, narrow alleys created by towering stone medieval walls. Back onto the roadway to Besalu my son-in-low slowed and pointed to the right. “That’s Castellfollit de la Roca,” he said. (I had to look it up on the map.) My jaw dropped because the village we’d just driven through could be seen perching upon a cliffside. “We’ll stop on the way back for photos,” he said. So we did, and in doing so we noticed the massive Catalonian flag draping down the cliffside.
Beneath the cliff lies a beautiful valley where an old mill site sits, along with a new bridge. We found our way down to the bridge through a lush area filled with community gardens. Many men were busy hoeing and picking vegetables – a photographic gem of a place but I left them alone and walked to the bridge with my family.
From our perch below on the bridge we could better see the giant Catalonian flag cascading down the cliffside, right below the medieval watchtower. Such pride, these Catalonians.
One final look and photo of Castellfollit de la Roca with running stream and the beautiful flag. I had a new appreciation for this village on our way back to the hotel after seeing it from below.
High Chair – Besalu, Spain
Sauntering through the medieval stone walls of Besalu, Spain, was a transport back in time. All my thoughts about old Spain flew away as I literally stood on the ground about which I’ve read in history books. My romantic self loved the high walls, stone roads and old doors and windows. That romantic self also dreamed about living in this ancient, artistic city filled with the smells of cuisine, the air vibrating with conversations of the locals in Catalon. We sat in a central square, pulling up chairs beneath umbrellas for shade, ordered our beers and sat silent, immersing ourselves into the world of Besalu.
After a sweet respite soaking in the atmosphere we paid, took our leave and rambled on through more streets whereupon we happened upon …. chairs. Chairs attached to walls. chairs in odd places.
Two Chairs – Besalu, Spain
A plaque on the wall told us these are the Chairs of Career Rocafort. Two artists, one from Italy and one from Girona. The creator of this work, Ester Baulida, says “these chairs symbolize the difficulties that humanity has in accomplishing its aims and resolving the problems it has to confront.”
In searching for information about this I found interesting tidbits from other bloggers that all ran on a similar vein. Here’s what one said: “Another highlight of the museum was the chairs. These pieces of furniture were nailed long ago to the walls of the dwellings from the outside with legs. In such an interesting way, the townspeople struggled with dark forces in the Middle Ages. Chairs were nailed to sit on them to catch the spirit (in particular, witches) flying over the city. If there are chairs outside, why should she climb into the house? On the other hand, the furniture is nailed so that you can not sit on it, and so there was no reason to linger among people.”
Well, turns out the chairs have nothing to do with witches, unless one interprets that the chairs symbolize politicians … then, wait a minute….! Ha!
Boarded Up, Besalu, Spain 2018
Jet lag has left me and I’m revisiting a recent trip to Spain via processing the photos.
Besalu was my first time experiencing medieval villages of Spain. The textures of old wood juxtaposed with stone the color of sienna made me want to weep at its beauty. We visited family in the village of Olot in Northern Spain, about an hour and a half north of Barcelona. There, my son-in-law acted as interpreter and tour guide for our week long journey into Catalonia. I’ll post pics as processed.