Friday, June 15, 2012

5 Days Exploring Catalunya: Part 2

Since Kaitlin left early Sunday morning, that left me with 2 full days to explore on my own. I spent Monday exploring a little town called Olot, famous for being built around several extinct volcanos. The drive from Girona to Olot was an hour long, but the rolling hills, greenery and medieval towns kept me occupied.

What makes Olot unique is that it's built on the edge of the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park. Within the city there are 3 small volcanos, and there are around 40 in the entire national park.
I was only there for a few hours, since it was Sunday and everyone knows that Spain shuts down on Sundays, but it was long enough to accomplish my main goal of hiking a volcano.

I showed up in town right during the middle of a festival. Yes, those are giant statues of a king and queen, and yes, the townspeople are holding flowers and each others hands' and dancing in a circle. And yes, there was also a live band. Oh Spain, you really have the whole fiesta thing down to a tee.
 "Hiking" up the volcano. It literally took 5 minutes. 
 This was the view from the top. In the background you can see another of the volcanos.
 The crater is entirely closed and grassed-over, and on the edge of the crater, there was a church!

 In short, Olot was cool. If you are ever in Girona, I highly recommend a day trip to Olot and....this next city, Besalú. If you like medieval architecture and cool bridges, this city will be your dream come true. Walking across this bridge was like taking a step back in time.
Real chair? Or 2D chair?
I found a hiking path that went behind the city. Not only where the views absolutely stunning, but I was in heaven since I hadn't seen a real hiking path since leaving Wisconsin. 
 Besalú's main city square. Love it!

Catalunya was so much more than I expected it to be; I'd also associated the region with Barcelona, and never thought to explore it any further. I'm so happy I changed my mind! The people were so friendly, and when they heard us speak Spanish they excitedly asked us where we were from. I guess there are so many tourists in that region that foreigners who actually speak Spanish isn't common? I'm not sure. This trip was definitely one of my favorite's from the past year, and I highly recommend visiting this region if you're looking for a fun weekend trip!

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