Religions have tried always to put their temples as close as possible to the stars. Nowadays, the religion of capitalism also tries to reach the sky but in other terms, usually with super tall skyscrapers representing the power and wealthness of a corporation or a nation. Humanity has always dreamed of reaching the sky, the moon, the stars… and sometimes we suceeded, literally or not. Some days ago, in a window of freedom between confination periods due to COVID-19, we decided to reach a piece of sky. We may not be able to fly long distances, so we need to touch the sky in a different way.
We found this piece of sky in Sanctuary of Bellmunt. This small building is located in the north of the Vic Plain, when the plain is no longer a plain but a mountain: the Bellmunt mountain range. To reach this place we went by car because there is a car park just few metres before the summit. However, during the long curvy road we found cyclists, runners, hikers… all of them among the mist.
Vic is the capital of Osona county, a closed valley 1h north from the Catalan capital, Barcelona. In winter, it is common to find it covered by a dense mist, usually freezing fog. We started the curvy road in Sant Pere de Torelló and prayed that the mist was over at the summit, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to enojoy the 360º views. We reached the car park at 1200m above sea level and that was just the limit of the fog. We took the cameras and hiked the last metres to the sanctuary at 1246m.
It was early in the morning and the atmosphere was getting hotter. This means that the fog was going up so we had to hurry up to reach the top of the mountain and the sanctuary before the fog. And if you take a look to our photos you see that we succeeded. We could end the post here and just attached the bunch of photos of the landscapes… but let’s give you more information about this place.
It is believed that the Sanctuary of Bellmunt was once the church of Sa Reganyada, dated back to 1020 A.D. Nowadays it is a romanic church with a Virgin Mary of 22cm inside. This Virgin is also called “the Virgin of the wings” because of the millions of winged ants that come to the summit to die every August. Nowadays the sanctuary has some rooms were you can spend a night and a small restaurant where traditional Catalan food is served every day.
In the summit you can find two main viewpoints: the first one is located just next to the church and the second one is in the hill just in front of the sanctuary, with a higher point of 1250m above sea level. From there you can have the typical photo of this place.
It was a cold day and some snow fell the night before in the surrounding mountains. After taking some photos there was no best plan than asking for a hot coffee in the sanctuary and drink it while looking peacfully to the landscape. While having our breakfast we met a guy, whose photos can be seen quite often in the national TV channel of Catalonia. That man goes everyday to the summit to check the weather all over the Vic Plain to the south and his reports are well enough to be added and shared with all the Catalan community.
After some time there, we decided to leave and go for a visit to the surroundings of the Montesquiu Castle. It was time to drive into the fog again.
Montesquiu Castle is located in a park full of artistic creations, like a Solar System made to scale. Unfortunately, when we reached the castle it was already closed for visits inside, so we could only take some photos outside and its main entrance. The castle dates back to 1285 when the stronghold of Montesquiu was conceived as the residence of the lords of the town of Besora. In the 19th century, the house passed into non-noble hands and in 1976, by express order of the last owner, Emili Juncadella, the castle and the estate passed into the hands of the Diputació de Barcelona, which turned it into a Regional Park.
Around the Sanctuary of Bellmunt and Montesquiu Castle it is plenty of nature hikes that can be done, not only for experts but also for families with kids. Osona county is a place also full of history and its capital, our next stop, is the perfect example: Vic. We stopped there for a lunch in El Jardinet restaurant, a nice spot with a private garden in the middle of the medieval town.
Vic is also famous due to its medieval market which is organized every december. It is not only a place to buy some of the typical food, like the Llonganissa de Vic, a world famous sausage with a Protected Designation of Origin, but also to enjoy medieval shows in the middle of the street, walk among minstrels, practice with some handicrafts…
In Vic there is also a famous square where you can buy in the market every Tuesday and Saturday. This square is also the place for big concerts, demonstrations and where the city beats. It is a romantic town where a traveler couple should stop, at least half a day. Get lost between the roman temple and the cathedral, enjoy the smell of the bakeries or protect yourself from the rain under a porch.
And the best moment of such a romantic walk could be after a great lunch like the one we had. A round tour through the town was also needed before taking the car back to our home.