Last Monday we had lovely spring weather yet again and we decided to walk to Sant Cugat again through the natural park of Collserola.


The magnificent mountain range Serra de Collserola rises up over Barcelona Metropolitan Area. It is almost touching the city. For the huge population that lives around these mountains it forms a much-loved and incredibly valuable natural area and a great privilege to enjoy. Collserola is a well-preserved natural area – 22 times bigger than Central Park in New York. Though forest predominates it includes a variety of other plant formations that provide a habitat for valuable biological diversity as well.


Compared to the last walks we chose a different route that turned out to be quite spooky. During the whole walk we were nearly the only ones on the walking trails. Soon after our start the path got blocked by a seemingly wild hound that was not amused by seeing us. The dog was medium sized, had blood in his face and looked deranged. Michael and I froze – what to do? The dog snarled at us while Michael talked calmly to it. Should we try to go back? But with every move the dog snarled again and moved as well. I picked up a branch – not sure if it would help but I felt better with it. After a while (it felt like 10 minutes) the situation got finally solved. A cat climbed up a tree and distracted the dog that found it much more interesting to follow than gnarling at us. With the path cleared we continued very quickly our way.

Fifteen minutes later – still quite excited – we arrived at the site I had planned to visit: the ruins of the old Casino de la Rabassada located in the middle of nowhere.



“In 1899 the Grand Hotel de la Rabassada was built, decorated by the workshop of the French painter Edmon Lechavallier Chevignard, which was extended in 1911 with the construction of a casino, designed by the architect Andreu Audet i Puig, and an area of ​​attractions. It was a pharaonic work that had a budget of 2.5 million pesetas, unusual at the time. More than 300 guests attended its inauguration on July 15, 1911, ten years after Tibidabo had opened. This majestic casino was the symbol of the luxury of a city in full economic expansion. It did not lack anything and even had its own amusement park, restaurant with large dining rooms and chefs from Paris, orchestra, hotel with luxury rooms, recreational rooms, public oratory, and grandiose gardens with exotic vegetation from various parts of the planet.” (source: Wikipedia)


However, its decline started shortly after its completion as the Spanish government forbade gambling. So the hotel and restaurant remained for several years until in 1930 it got finally closed. The building deteriorated and was used during the Civil War first as a refugee against bombing and then as barracks. In 1940 it got demolished.


After many decades, nature took back nearly the whole place. So, after the encounter with the wild dog trespassing the area was even more exciting for us. We discovered one major remainder:



We continued the path through the undergrowth and left the areas of the ruins (trespassing is actually forbidden) – nobody to be seen. Except when we coincidentally discovered the Fountain of Ribes and another surprise awaited: apparently a cat had chosen the solitude of the area to die. We felt a bit like in Stephen King´s “Pet Sematary” this day…

We kept a certain distance to the cat while watching her fast pacing breath, quick photo of the modernist fountain from 1909 and then we quickly walked further.


The rest of the walk was luckily without further incidents. We discovered many old chapels before arriving to Sant Cugat where we – after five hours of walking – really enjoyed a beer and a tapa.


In the back: Montserrat


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We left the Pyrenees Friday evening together with our friends and as we still had the rental car Michael and I decided to drive to Montserrat on Saturday after having dropped off Ingo and Peter at the airport.

Montserrat is the world famous monastery an hour drive away from Barcelona. It is situated in the mountain and you can reach it by cable car or by car. Founded in the 10th century it is still functioning.



It was our third visit to Montserrat and finally we had good weather and could go hiking in the iconic mountain. Starting at an altitude of 740m we climbed down to Santa Cova, a religious shrine built into the rocks.


Santa Cova shrine can be seen in the back on the right

Walking down the pilgrimage path you will find many religious scenarios.


After a visit to the chapel we continued a small natural path around and up to the top of the mountain.



After 90 minutes of climbing up and arriving to the upper cable car station we felt challenged by the iconic rocks and decided to go to the top of one of them.



On the very top (1200 meters) we could enjoy an amazing view. The weather was incredible – after having spent a few days in the snow, the sun felt so good and it was possible to walk in t-short.

We continued a full round on the mountain after having climbed down from the rock and returned to the monastery – extremely tired after 5 hours of hiking in an altitude between 600m and 1200m.

We will come back for some more!!!


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Last week we went skiing with our friends from Dortmund, Ingo and Peter. They arrived on Saturday by plane and the next day we took a rental car to drive to our destination: Baqueira-Beret in the Catalan Pyrenees. After a four hours drive we could check into our lovely apartment in the middle of the Val d´Aran.

Baqueira has been founded in the 1960s as a ski resort and since then has grown into (according to their website) the biggest ski area in Spain with 147 km of slopes. The village has been extended over the decades and we stayed in the most modern area – Val de Ruda. A modern apartment complex constructed with perfect infrastructure:

No cars – as all traffic disappears in the massive underground garage, extension of the major ski lift to the apartments and ski lockers underneath the ski lift, so you did not have any hassle with carrying your ski equipment.


Modern Val de Ruda apartments with ski lift connection



View on Baqueira (1970 brutalism)

Michael and I spent full five days on the slopes with daily changing weather conditions: lovely sunny days to cloudy, arctic days with -9 degrees. Though it is not the biggest ski area that we have been to – like Dolomiti Superski with 1200 km of slopes and the biggest ski carousel in the world – it was pleasant for those five days and just enough variety.

Especially, the outer slopes were situated in lovely, natural areas with no signs of civilization. The ski conditions were good with around 250 cm of snow in the mountains. The ski area was located between 1500m and 2600m with mostly blue to red slopes.


A downside were the ski huts in the area – that lacked food offering and coziness that we are used to in the Austrian and Italian Alpes.




All in all, we had a great time but next ski trip we will be back in the Dolomites!

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After a rather cold February spring finally started at the end of the month with mild temperatures. So we had a couple of spring walks. For example we walked on the Carretera de les Aigues which is a 9 km walking and cycling path along the slopes of the Tibidabo mountain range with incredible panoramic views over Barcelona. At the end of the track we found a tapas bar where to sit in the sun and enjoy a drink.


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