Last week I was on the train from Barcelona to Ribes de Freser, on my way to Vall de Nuria. I was looking out of the window and enjoying the pre-Pyrenean scenery, when something grabbed my attention. Abandoned, overgrown houses - not one, but many! The train was passing through an entire abandoned village.
The train even stopped at a station in this ghost village, and a couple of people got out. My curiosity peaked. I had to investigate this later, so I took a mental note of the station's name and location. Then I carried on with my trip to Vall de Nuria.
When I got home later, I looked up the abandoned place. Turns out that it used to be a textile factory that grew big in the 1940's. It employed nearly a thousand workers and the village was built to accommodate them. Later the business declined, and was completely shut down about 10 years ago.
However, the train station was still working. There was also a river, hiking routes and other fun things to do in the area. Of course, I immediately put this down on as my next destination. I love randomly discovering hidden places like this!
Next Sunday, I got on the same train to Ribes de Freser. I decided to get off a little before the abandoned place, so I could start by visiting a castle that I had noticed on Google Maps while virtually exploring the area.
I was in "deep Catalunya", far from the touristy sites. Here there were only small villages along the river Ter, green hills, forests and the Pyrenees in the distance.
I got off at a tiny train station in one such village. After a 20 minute walk through some fields and forests, I reached the castle.
It was a very well-maintained castle with a beautiful green lawn, surrounded by pine trees. There were even guided visits inside it, but I decided to skip this, as I had a big day ahead.
I had my breakfast (a sandwich) in the castle's garden, then started my hike towards the abandoned village.
I knew there was a hiking route there - I had seen it on a few websites - but it wasn't well marked. I asked a couple of people and they told me it was a long way and would take 2-3 hours. I shrugged and thought, "well that's what I'm here for" then kept on walking.
Turned out it only took me 1 hour. It was an uphill walk that got pretty narrow and muddy at one point, but nothing crazy. Quite a pleasant walk in fact.
I found some mossy trees and a very old water fountain on the way there!
At one point, the trail started descending and came out at an opening with some houses. I had reached the abandoned villalge!
The houses seemed in pretty good condition. Most of the windows and doors were shut, however one was opened and there was some laundry on the balcony... Squatters?
It was very quiet and peaceful here.
I love this little overgrown bench :)
A little bit further I came out at the village's train station. It was completely taken over by the plants. Such a magical place!
The train still stops at this forgotten, magical station. I could've gotten off here but I wanted to see the castle and do the hike.
From the train station I walked further into the village.
Inside the factory - it was fenced off but I managed to take a couple of photos through the fence.
I walked around the ghost village, imagining what it was like to live and work here in the 1940's.
It was around 1pm and starting to get hot, so I decided to head to the river to cool off :)
I had to walk on a narrow passage next to the train rails, on a bridge over the river. Luckily no train passed while I was there :)
On the other side of the bridge, I walked down to the river. There were a couple of people having a picnic, tanning and taking dips in the river. I walked a bit further down so I could get my own spot.
The river was crystal clear and cold.
It took me a while to get used to the temperature of the water and take a dip - but once I did, it felt soo refreshing, I didn't want to get out :)
I spent a couple of hours here taking dips in the river and enjoying the sun.
Around 4pm I headed back to the train station.
On my way there I passed this beautiful forest church.
About an hour later I was back where I started, ready to take the train to Barcelona.
This was such a cute summer day in "deep Catalunya". I'll be coming back soon to explore more of the villages and rives around here :)