What do you look for when traveling? Do you usually try local food and drinks or do you keep cheap and eat sandwiches, burgers and drink Coca-Cola? Do you keep yourself in big cities or do you try to discover the landscapes and smells of the countryside? Do you travel with big open eyes and sensitivity or you just want adrenaline all the time? This post is for those that want to discover the roots of a culture, the basics of the mediterranean gastronomy and the meaning behind the modern art.
In les Garrigues, a county between Lleida and Tarragona areas, grow the best olive trees in the world and some of the best wine. From here you cannot produce as much olive oil or wine as in other parts of the world, like Spain or Italy. Les Garrigues landscape and climate doesn’t allow big and wide olive trees plantations. On the other side, every small plantation has a different characteristic, which allows different kind of nuances in many different olive oil and wine bottles. All depends on the field, the plants grown next to the trees, the variation of temperatures along the year…
In Les Garrigues we visited the “Vinya dels artistes“, which means “The vineyard of the artists”, from Mas Blanch i Jové winnery, where we could walk around between vineyards and olive trees while looking for the different art creations spotted around the landscape. Some sculptures are hidden and difficult to find and others are so big that are seen from different angles during the walk. The app provided by the winnery helps you to find all.
Some of the creations are also interactive and allow you to play with the art while enjoying a typical mediterranean environment, like the Dongda, the big bell. This sculpture is hidden between oaks in a small hill.
It was time to harvest the olives when we visited this place and could talk about the method of harvesting with the farmers just before finding another sculpture in the middle of the plantation. They use the tractor to hit back and forth the tree, which makes the olvies to fall on a net surrounding the tree. Finally, the farmer, with a special electric stick, move the branches to harvest the last olives.
But not only olive oil is cultivated here, also wine, as the name of the place suggest. Late in the winter, when we were there, there were no leaves and no grapes. Everything was harvested during autumn. However, the different art creations made that worth it anyway.
From some points during the walk there are nice views of La Pobla de Cèrvoles village. A typical Catalan countryside village with not much activity in winter but full of families coming from big cities during Summer. There are some sculptures located close to the cliff with views to La Pobla: “The light soaring on the Earth” from Esteve Casanoves, “Between Heaven and Earth” from Gregorio Iglesias and “Dongda, la Gran Campana” from Evru.
There are many other sculptures and art creations that we encourage you to find. For example, don’t miss a boat up to a tree or a starred sky on the rocks. But above all, don’t miss a wine and olive oil tasting at the end of your visit. We headed towards the winnery, where a young lady explained us the process of creating the different kind of wines they have while walking through the different zones of the building.
Art is everywhere, also inside the winnery, so keep you eyes open while tasing your different types of wine and olive oil. All your senses will appreaciate a good morning spent in”La vinya dels artistes” and you will leave Catalonia knowing a little bit better about its gastronomy and culture.