Friday, August 05, 2022

Our Next Adventure

We are flying to London 9/21 and returning 12/14 from Rome. Our tentative plan is to spend a week in London, 5 weeks in the north of France and 6 weeks in Italy working our way down to Sicily.

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Finally in Vic

Right before COVID we had tickets to fly on 3/20/2020 to Barcelona then train directly to Vic. Two years and two months later, we finally made it to Vic so we could catch our flight from Barcelona to San Francisco.

Vic is distinguished by its plaza major; big, unpaved, and preserved in the traditional style. We had just enough energy to go around the city center to check out all the modernismo buildings.

Our 10-week tour of Spain is ending. We loved every bit of it. It was abundantly clear to us, since our previous trip in 2017, Spain has made a lot of progress and is in ascendance.

Our first look at Plaza Major on the minor market day.
Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

We stayed in a hotel on the 2nd floor of the old train station - just a one minute walk to the tracks.
Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

It rained the afternoon we arrived, but we still walked around town, plus made an appointment for our (then mandatory) COVID-19 test.
Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

No curbs, few cars downtown.
Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Vic, Osona, Barcelona, Catalunya

The Cathedral is enormous (with a cloister).
Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya



The clinic we used for our covid shot is across the small plaza from the Cathedral. Bonus: it's a beautiful Modernismo building.
Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

There is a restored Roman Temple in Vic.
Roman Temple - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

A block of Modernismo buildings.
Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Small Plaza.
Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

This balcony caught my eye.
Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Later in the day we spotted the snow-capped Pryeneese in the distance
Vic, Osona, Barcelona, Catalunya

The striking Sant Jordi Building.
Vic, Osona, Barcelona, Catalunya

Political murals and graffiti.
Mural - Vic, Osona, Barcelona, Catalunya

Street festival.
Vic, Osona, Barcelona, Catalunya

Vic, Osona, Barcelona, Catalunya

A few more murals.
Mural - Vic, Osona, Barcelona, Catalunya

Mural - Vic, Osona, Barcelona, Catalunya

Mural - Vic, Osona, Barcelona, Catalunya

Mural - Vic, Osona, Barcelona, Catalunya

Our final view of Plaza MaJor.
Vic, Osona, Barcelona, Catalunya

Monday, August 01, 2022

Garrotxa: Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot

Our first full day excursion from Olot was taking the bus to Castellfollit de la Roca and walking back to Olot via the lava flows of Sant Joan les Fonts, about 18kms in total.

Castellfollit was built on multiple layers of basalt columns resulting from different volcanic eruptions at different points in geological time. Normally the basalt column formation itself would be fascinating enough. Here, there is a whole village perched on top! We followed the Park's Trail 13 circumnavigated the place, up, down, and around.

Then we headed out of town on the main road for a couple of kilometers to the next town, Sant Joan les Fonts. Here, they were having their flower festival. We followed the Park's Trail 16 along the river going west, passing by or on top of more lava flows. We had to cross the river twice, one was so long, it was easily worth 5-10 normal stream crossings. At one spot, the spacing was wider than my jump-stride, John had to pull me across. I was tempted to turn around.

After San Joan, we followed GR 83 towards Olot, going by Garrinada Volcano, to the Montsacopa Volcano. The top is a fantastic view of the town. Since we were in the middle of a heat wave with record high temperatures, I was pooped, but excited to have completed the excursion. See GPS track(s) of our 18.8 km route below.

GPS Track of our 18.8 km walk from Castellfollit de la Roca to Sant Joan les Fonts to  Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

The Olot Bus Station was 10 minutes from our apartment. New and modern. In general the bus transport in Spain is very good even though there is NO competition between companies for routes.
Bus Station - Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

We rode the bus about 20 minutes to Castellfollit de la Roca, getting off at the top of the town that is perched on top of a mass of basalt columns which you can't see until you walk down to the river.
Castellfollit de la Roca - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Castellfollit de la Roca - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Castellfollit - Walking from Castellfollit to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

The trail crosses the river - great views - and cirlcles back up to town.
GPS Track - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Castellfollit de la Roca - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Castellfollit de la Roca - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Castellfollit de la Roca - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Castellfollit de la Roca - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Passing a water channel/canal with a memorable "Stick Figure in Peril" sign.
Canal - Castellfollit de la Roca- Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

John was excited to see this road sign pointing to Andorra, just 140 kms to the northwest. But, sigh, Andorra will have to wait until another trip.
Turning right towards Andorra! - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotx, Girona, Catalunyaa

It's a nice walk from Castellfollit to Sant Joan les Fonts, a short section on the road shoulder and then a walk on a greenway passing several fruit companies.
Sant Joan les Fonts - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Sant Joan les Fonts - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Sant Joan les Fonts - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Sant Joan les Fonts - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Sant Joan surprised us with a Flower Festival with floral displays, young rockers belting out a fine cover of "American Woman", and a string quintet by the river.
Festival - Sant Joan les Fonts - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Sant Joan les Fonts - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Sant Joan les Fonts - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Sant Joan les Fonts - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

The medieval bridge, built with volcanic stone, crosses the river Fluvià (from Wikipedia).
Sant Joan les Fonts - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Medieval Bridge - Sant Joan les Fonts - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Medieval Bridge - Sant Joan les Fonts - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

The best place in town to view the triple layers of lava is near the old factories.
Sant Joan les Fonts - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Sant Joan les Fonts - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

I'm standing on top of a dry riverbed of basalt column tops.
Sant Joan les Fonts - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Sant Joan les Fonts - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Sant Joan les Fonts - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Pick your route.
Sant Joan les Fonts - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Sant Joan les Fonts - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Our route back to Olot from Sant Joan.
GPS Track of the "San Joan les Fonts to Olot Section" of our walk from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Mirador.
Sant Joan les Fonts - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

At this old quarry one can see 3 distinct lava flows. The difference in the shapes of the rocks is due to the relative speed at which the lava cooled; the basalt columns at the bottom cooled the slowest. Not only is it instructive, it's beautiful.
Sant Joan les Fonts - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Basalt Columns - Sant Joan les Fonts - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

The trail west along the Fluvia to Cingles (Cliffs) de Fontfreda was lush, hot but not humid.
Cingles (Cliffs) de Fontfreda - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Cingles (Cliffs) de Fontfreda - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

And more basalt columns at the Cliffs of Fontfreda. Wow!
Cingles (Cliffs) de Fontfreda - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Cingles (Cliffs) de Fontfreda - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Cingles (Cliffs) de Fontfreda - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Cingles (Cliffs) de Fontfreda - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

A couple of long stream crossings later (below, the shortest one), we walked up out of the river valley and headed south to Olot.
Cingles (Cliffs) de Fontfreda - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Cingles (Cliffs) de Fontfreda - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

After trudging up the backside of Volcà del Montsacopa to Església de Sant Francesc, we were rewarded with a pretty good view down to Olot.
Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

View of Olot from  Volcà del Montsacopa - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

View of Olot from  Volcà del Montsacopa - Walking from Castellfollit de la Roca to Olot, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalunya

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