Valleys and Waterfalls in the Catalan Pyrenees
Vall de Nuria is a picturesque valley in the Catalan side of the Pyrenees. In winter it's a ski resort, and in summer it's an alpine mountain paradise. After 5 years in Barcelona, I decided it was finally time to visit it in summer 2018.
I got on an early morning train from Barcelona to Ribes De Freser. It took more than 3 hours. The sun was just rising and the train was travelling through fields and little villages.
Once I got off this train I immediately transferred to the next one - a cremallera (monorail). That one was full of tourists, all going to Vall de Nuria. The landscaped transitioned to cliffs and pine trees.
The views were beautiful, but after another 40 minutes, I was starting to get tired, I was wondering how much was left. The train entered a tunnel and when it came out on the other side, we were in Vall de Nuria! It was so beautiful I felt like crying.
I got off the train and enjoyed the sun in this meadow for a while. Then I went exploring.
The first thing I found was this cute donkey and a bunch of other cute animals! 😍
I found a trail going up the hill, and decided to take it. 15 minutes in I was already rewarded with views.
The trail continued upwards and got steeper. It entered a forest that was full of mushrooms.
After a while I found a cave that used to be inhabited by a hermit. It even had a stone doorway, made by hand.
I had been following thee trail for an hour, and the views were just getting better
I kept finding mushrooms and cute little creatures, like this pretty bug.
At the top, I took a break and had a snack. Then the trail took a sharp turn and circled back to the lake, this time from the other side.
I went back to the resort and had lunch - a very overpriced sandwich, since all of the restaurant dishes had meat in them, which I don't eat.
After the lunch I walked around and found an ancient stone church and a water fountain.
I had a coffee and relaxed on the meadow a bit longer. Clouds were coming out and it was getting colder.
I wanted to hike down to the village of Queralbs, and take the train from there (I had orignally planned to hike back all the way to Ribes de Freser, but I found out it was gonna take over 5 hours, which I didn't have).
I still needed 2-3 hours to get to Queralbs, and it was already 3pm. I finished my coffee and started the hike down.
This was probably my favorite part of the trip. I only passed a couple of people on this trail, and I was on it for hours. It was so peacefull, I was surrounded by pine trees and towering cliffs in the background.
I also found waterfalls! I could only get close to one of them, and the water was way to cold to think about swimming. It was beautiful nonetheless :)
An hour and a half had passed, and I wasn't even halfway to Queralbs. The sky was grey now and it looked like it might rain. I had to hurry.
The views were only getting better. I found more waterfalls.
Along this part of the trail, I managed to trip and twist my ankle - not once but several times! Every time I had to stop for 10 minutes to recover. I was worried I might not make it on time to Queralbs, and miss my train to Barcelona. It was already 5pm, the last train was at 7pm.
At least the views were unbeatable :)
There was no one on the trail now, just me and the mountains.
Another hour and the landscape started changing, going flatter and more foresty.
And finally - I saw houses! Old, secluded houses made of stone. It looked like no one was living here. Well, I'd love to make this my home :)
More houses started appearing - I was entering Queralbs.
I was in time for my train, with a few spare minutes to explore the village. All the buildings were made of stone. I need to come back here and spend a couple of days!
There was even a celebration going on here, with dances in the main square and a little market. Oh and the village had a small waterfall! I definitely need to come back here.
Unfortunately I was in a hurry and couldn't stay to enjoy the celebrations.
My next destination was Ribes de Freser, I had an hour here until my train to Barcelona.
This city was bigger than Queralbs, but still quite small. I bought artesanal chocolate from a shop. I could see the mountains in the distance.
I got on the train exhausted but happy. Next time I'm coming for at least a few days.
See you soon, Pyrenees :)