Maçanet de Cabrenys is undoubtedly the favourite part of my Catalonia leg. It was a 3 days 2 nights stay with a small group of friends (6 of us in total) in one of the mountains in Girona. I remember the fun UNO games, the lunch/ dinner preparations, conversations about our dreams, international relations in different parts of the world and the long discussions and analyses about Spain’s problems over dinner. I remember one night the dinner conversation lasted for about 4 hours. I miss those conversations – the Singaporean friends around me rarely discuss fervently about the issues in Singapore. People complain a lot but they don’t give a lot of thought about how to overcome the problems and what is the best direction for the country.
We took the car and drove a pretty long way from Barcelona to Maçanet. En route to Maçanet, we stopped by Sergi’s hometown, famous for its strawberries, for a while and walked leisurely along the beach. It was a windy afternoon, the sea was beautifully blue and the empty beach seemed to stretch endlessly towards the horizon. I was with two nice, empowered Spanish girls who wanted to change their country and we spoke of our respective dreams. That was one great memory.
Maçanet de Cabrenys is a small, charming village and it is famous for the number of hiking routes that it offers. It also has a rather strong north wind. I must confess I was a little paranoid on the first night there because I imagined that the north wind could rip the house apart while we were sleeping. It turns out that the old house was quite sturdy. Most of the houses there, like the one Eva’s family owns, are summer houses. Even though we went on a weekend, it was fairly empty and it is probably because the weather was still a little too chilly to head to the mountains.
We attempted two of the hiking routes. The first one was more strenuous as we climbed up a mountain which lies in the Spain-France border. The north wind was quite strong and it felt as though we were pushed backwards with every step we took. It got especially strong towards the peak of the mountain and we had to stay low so as to prevent ourselves from being blown away by the wind. The view from the top was magnificent and calming.
The journey back to Maçanet de Cabrenys from that mountain was quite memorable. We encountered fallen trees on the road twice and we had to get off the car and devise ways to push them off the road. Never did I know that a tree could be so heavy until that day when I tried to lift/ push it. Those bulldozers make tree felling seem so easy! I also saw many cork trees. Apparently, many forest fires happen there in the hotter and drier summer months and while most trees burn to ashes, cork trees do not. Their trunks turn black but they remain as they were.
The second route we took was softer and we crossed a river rather unceremoniously, climbed a mountain and for the most part, walked on asphalt. I remember having good conversations on this hike; the previous one was a little too tiring for talking. We came across this self-sufficient house on the mountain and I find it really cool. Check out the solar panels dangling from the window and the cute staircase.