"The rock shoots out of the ground to razor sharp points surrounding the village"
We have left Barcelona and are on our way to Abella De La Conca. On all of the routes we drive we take the non toll roads, to of course save money. However we have quickly realised that these routes are also the most scenic routes. So even if you are not cheapos like us I would 100% recommend taking the non toll roads if you want to see some absolutely stunning scenery. The drive to Abella has certainly lived up to our expectations too. The landscape was starting to become greener and the mountains bigger. It also looked a little English, with all the farmed fields, except far in the distance we could see snow capped mountains. All of this just adds to the wonder of Spain's inner regions, the driving really is such a fun part of the trip.
As we grew closer we could see the tiny village of Abella De La Conca set up high in between the mountains. A tiny village wearing a wizards hat made of beautiful limestone. The scenery here is dramatic to say the least. The rock shoots out of the ground to razor sharp points surrounding the village. Abella also has some hidden gems high up in the Wizards hat, here are three beautiful arches swooping from the cliff side. Unfortunately for us they will stay hidden because we got lost trying to find them. Hey ho that's how it goes sometimes when you're wandering around in the searing heat looking for crags with nobody around to ask, it can't always be a success. It was a little frustrating at the time as we could see them but just couldn't reach them!
The day still ended up being a good one though. We walked down to the river and walked through the canyon, crystal blue water followed us all the way. It was so much fun to explore.There are even climbing routes on the rock right by the river. After searching for the arches in the scorching heat we ditched our climbing gear and replaced it with a beer! A few people were walking through the canyon with their kids and they seemed to be having a great time, it's also a great place to be when the suns blazing.
The Eco Refugi is where we stayed, this is actually the only place to stay. It is run by Eleanor and Nic who are really kind and hospitable people. There are no shops, restaurants or cafes in Abella De la Conca so make sure you bring all of your supplies with you. They have a lovely cosy communal area for relaxing and chatting. They also have a kitchen that you can cook in. The rest of the village is about fifteen houses and that's it! We turned up without booking, which was a mistake! Unfortunately a large group had rented out the whole house. Thankfully they let us camp for two nights until the group left (definitely contact them ahead of your arrival as they have lots of group bookings, they are also out a lot working until late at night so you could be left sitting around). This turned out to be so much fun. We camped in some old ruins. It was like our own private hangout. At night it was so hot but because it was only us, we could sleep naked with the tent open using only the mosquito net. This meant we got to gaze at the stars from our "bed". As the tent was in some old ruins it was hard to get the guide ropes in but as I said to Sarah "we are not expecting a storm are we?" We both laughed. Low and behold as night fell on our second night in the tent we were about to go to sleep and Sarah said "it smells like rain." We looked out and the sky was angry all around us. A quick tidy of all our stuff so it didn't get wet and then we sat back to watch the storm. It took about another 20 minutes to break but when it did it was literally right on top of us. The lightening flashes and thunder claps happened simultaneously and the rain really poured onto the tent. Our own private stormy disco. Inside the tent Sarah repeatedly asking "are we going to get struck?" Whilst I was worried a huge boulder was going to roll down the cliff side and crush our heads! The storm passed we survived and went to sleep.
On the morning of the decision of the referendum we were inside the Eco Refugi escaping the heat and chatting with the large group staying there. The mood was very low and people were genuinely gutted about the decision. The group had booked their trip through a climbing centre in London. In the group there were mixes of different nationalities, Polish, Spanish and others. They felt that they were no longer welcome in the country they had lived in for over ten years. It was really sad to see how worried they were by the decision. The people who we did our Workaway with on the off the grid arm and also the family we stayed with in Barcelona were also worried about how the decision would affect them. Such a huge knock on affect for so many people. Such an insane time!
The climbing here is again very good quality. The routes we tried were technical and quite tough but fun all the same. We could only try a few of the areas one because of the heat and two because of my ongoing finger injury. I would not personally come here again in June but you cannot arrive everywhere at the perfect time when you're on a long trip.
Abella De La Conca is a very pretty place and definitely worth a visit if your passing by. A climbing holiday would be really good here at the right time of year. It seems like the Refugi is well equipped to handle large groups too so you and all your mates could come together. It seems you can book loads of cool activities at the Refugi too, such as mountain biking, climbing, canyoning and so much more. The Refugi has a really good ethos too aiming to raise the profile of the local area and preserve it. They restored the building using an ecological approach. Check out their website here. There is a short five minute video on there that I would definitely recommend you watching, I have added it to the bottom of the blog.