On a Friday afternoon in August a colleague of mine came to my cubicle to ask me for some hiking advice. I gave him some pointers and went back to work. I had not worked for long when I felt a weird sensation in my toes. They were all jittery and eager to move. I realized that I had to go hiking that weekend.
I went online and looked for a last-minute accommodation in the Ribes de Freser area. After a short hunt, I found an attractive and decent priced hotel in Campdevànol. I booked it and went out to buy a map of the area — in the hope that there were some nice hiking routes in the vicinity of the town.
Day 1: Sant Pere d’Aüira
My train arrived in Campdevànol shortly after ten on Saturday morning. I went directly for the hills in the direction of Església de Sant Pere d’Aüira.
I headed for the north-western part of town in search of the Sant Cristòfol church where I could find the beginning of the GR-3 long distance path. On my way through town I came a cross a number of crossroads where I had to make a guess which one to follow. All my guesses worked out well and I found the right path in no-time — or a rough approximation thereof.
I followed the GR-3 path through the forest, over Puig de la Batalla, down to Coll de la Batalla and up the hill to the church of Sant Pere d’Aüira. The hike was rather easy and I reached my destination in about an hour and fifteen minutes.
Once at the church I sat in its shadow and enjoyed the environment. I listened to the relaxing soundtrack of silence mixed with cow bells clinging as the cows chewed on the grass. I breathed in the fresh air of the Pyrenees and admired the mountainous view around me. In a distance I saw a familiar mountain and said to myself: “Isn’t that Pedraforca?” A pleasant sensation went through my body as I realized that I was getting familiar enough with this country to know some of its mountains on a first name basis.
After an hour of shadow sitting I returned to Campdevànol following a slightly different route — making a stop at the Ruïnes de Sant Cristòfol “la Vella”.
Finding the hotel was easy and after a quick shower I was on a stroll around Campdevànol in search of a restaurant where I could have my belated lunch. At a first glance the town looked sleeping. I wondered if I would ever find an open restaurant. I had not walked for long when I found a nice one next to the church — Església Parroquial — where I had some grilled examples of the local products.
After lunch came a beer. After the beer came a siesta before heading out again for some pre-dinner hanging around on the main square — Plaça de La Dansa.
Day 2: Sant Julià de Saltor
See: Lost in Ripollés