Over the last two years or so the majority of our weekends, Saturdays at least, have been spent going from Cardedeu to the ‘Rectoria’.  This trip has been made markedly shorter over the last year by the completion of the new road from Vic to the Val d’en Bas, a not inconsiderable feat of engineering. 

The drive to Vic up the C17 from Barcelona becomes increasingly tortuous as you pass La Garriga.  The dual carriage way cuts through the steep valleys which divide the comarques (counties) of El Valles Oriental and Osona.   The orange and grey sandstone hillsides are covered with pines which run down to the boundaries of the villages shoe horned into the valley floor.   The road climbs steadily for about 10 km or so opening out on to the valley floor of Osona.  In winter your view might invariably be obscured by the ‘pea souper’ of a mist which envelopes the countryside and magnifies the chill of a cold winter day.  Sunny weather brings with it the early morning balloon flights over Vic, a welcome distraction for our wee passenger in the back of the car.

I guess I could be blindfolded, bundled into a car and driven up the C17 and I’d know when I was at or near Vic…..the giveaway is the smell of pig SHIT.  Yes, Catalans like most Spaniards love all things pork and the dear things have to come from somewhere.

So what about this feat of engineering!  That manifests itself twenty minutes or so after Vic in the form of five or six tunnels – Bracons – which now connect Osona and La Garrotxa.  The penultimate of which is 4500m or so long.  Leaving the last tunnel you are welcomed by a vista of snow capped mountains to the north and nearer to hand the dairy farms of the Val d’en Bas bounded to the west by the magnificent rocky mountain peaks of the Collada de Bracons.   You then only have a further 10 minutes drive before entering the Vall d’Hostoles and on down to the La Rectoria.

Yesterday was my first look at the house for about a month, previous weekends being occupied by Silvestre’s 5th Birthday Party and other matters.  My reaction I guess was a calm eek, jings and jeepers!   Walls had been knocked down and concrete applied on top of the stone arches to provide a ‘compression layer’.  We occupied ourselves tidying the garden.   Yes, there is quite a bit to do there as well.

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