Stunning Santa Pau and Castellfollit de la Roca
When together with some awesome friends (also bloggers) we were getting under the skin of the hidden gems of Catalonia and staying at Castell de Rocaberti (yes, we did stay in a castle!), one of the trips we were supposed to do was hot air balloon.
Waking up super early was a challenge, especially after long chatting the night before, but for all of us it was supposed to be our first time in a hot air balloon. And you know how it is with the first timers, no matter what, it makes us excited. But when we got there all sleepy, it was way too windy. The beautiful sunrise saved the situation though.
We needed a back up plan for some 2 hours as the weather didn’t let us go hot air ballooning. Richard, the organizer of our trip from Charming villas, decided to show us a bit from Santa Pau, a little town I’d never heard of until that morning. Walking through the silent streets with almost everything closed at these early morning hours, gave this medieval village a unique touch.
Little squares, a single nave Gothic church of Santa Maria, many arches, quirky statues along the streets, sleeping cats, flowers at the balconies and the famous porticoed square Firals dels Bous which in 1297 was the place of the local market. We walked it all around, and even around a castle built in the 13th and 14th ct until we got to the viewpoint from which we could see Roses bay and the Ser river valley.
Castellfollit de la Roca
After Santa Pau, we drove to Castellfollit de la Roca, a little enchanting town with 40 m high basalt cliff formed by 2 lava flows which originated from the volcanoes Beguda and Olot. The old town dating from the Middle Ages is constructed mainly from the volcanic rock – buildings, street furniture and also the paving slabs. Basalt is the rock formed when the lava cools so the local inhabitants used it as it was in abundance in the area.
I remember we strolled along the medieval streets (for the first time ever I’ve seen a defibrillator machine at the street!), all looking similarly stunning and very silent as we visited early morning during the weekend. Then we made our way to the Sant Salvador church from the 13th century where temporary exhibitions take place nowadays. The elder woman at the door of the church who was in charge of the exhibition was wearing her rulers. Super funny and chilled out. Who would expect such a thing in an old Catholic church? Definitely not me!
Different carpets, paintings and little statues of Rubens looking women were hanging on the walls around the church. But it’s not the only thing that made the church interesting. Between 100 – 200 steps go to the Bell tower with the panoramic view of the whole town, the basalt cliff and also the Fluvia river valley.
*** It took me 4 hours to write this post about Santa Pau and Castellfollit de la Roca.