As always, our trip to Spain starts in our favorite bar – La Vinya del Senyor (God’s vineyard), opposite the beautiful and iconic Catalan Gothic Basílica de Santa María del Mar in old Barcelona.
La Farga de Bebié to Ripoll
El Camí Oliba (Route of Abbot Oliba) starts in Montserrat near Barcelona and terminates 200km north at the French border. Rich in Romanesque art and architecture, preserving Catalan language, traditions and culture it traverses the heart of Catalunya. The Camino (de Santiago) Ripollès also follows this Route.
We join the Route two hours by train north of Barcelona at the abandoned textile factory of La Farga de Bebié. The well-marked trail is mostly wide and easy walking but in places steeply up hill, barely a goat track. It’s rugged, remote, tranquil and beautiful: 3½ hours.
Ripoll to Sant Joan de les Abadesses
Sant Pau de Segúries
We arrived in Sant Joan de les Abadesses to find today was the annual fair day at the nearby village of Sant Pau de Segúries. There would be gigantes y cabezudos (“Giants and Big-Heads”) and sardanes (traditional Catalan dancing) today so we took a taxi there.
Sant Joan de les Abadesses to Camprodon
With rain forecast we made an early start on the 18.5km (4 hours) day from Sant Joan de les Abadesses. Described as “a tranquil walk through woodlands, meadows and crops, and farmhouses” it’s a slight climb to Camprodon (990m) in the Alt Ripollès, the High Lands of Ripollès.
Stopping for a coffee in Sant Pau de Segúries we spotted a sign “Via Romana”. Roman Road! And only a 30 minute diversion.