Monday, May 19, 2014

CATALONIA: PUIGCERDÀ

Recently I could make a brief visit to Puigcerdà in La Cerdanya after enjoying a lovely morning in the fortified village of Villefranche de Conflent (World Heritage by UNESCO) and a fantastic journey on the Train Jaune (Yellow Train) between this village and Mont-Louis (also a fortified village by Vauban and World Heritage by UNESCO).





Estany de Puigcerda
Estany de Puigcerdà


I was in Puigcerdà only for an hour, where I could visit:


  • Campanar de Santa Maria (Santa Maria Bell Tower)
  • Plaça de Santa Maria (Santa Maria Square)
  • Plaça dels Herois (Herois Square)
  • Carrer Major (Main Street)
  • L'Estany de Puigcerdà (Puigcerdà Pond)
  • View from Plaça de la Vila (Town Square)
  • Train Station of Puigcerdà



Campanar de Santa Maria (Santa Maria Bell Tower)




Santa Maria bell tower in Puigcerda
Santa Maria bell tower in Puigcerdà


Plaça de Santa Maria (Santa Maria Square)




Santa Maria Square in Puigcerda
Santa Maria Square in Puigcerdà


Plaça dels Herois (Herois Square)




Herois Square in Puigcerda
Herois Square in Puigcerdà


Carrer Major (Main Street)



Carrer Major de Puigcerdà
Carrer Major (Main Street) of Puigcerdà


L'Estany de Puigcerdà (Puigcerdà Pond)



Estany de Puigcerda
Boats in Estany de Puigcerdà



Estany de Puigcerda
L'Estany de Puigcerdà is the place I liked the most of this town




Views from Plaça de la Vila (Town Square)




The Pyrenees from Puigcerda
View of the Pyrenees from Puigcerdà


Train Station of Puigcerdà



The Pyrenees from Puigcerda
Snowy mountains of the Pyrenees from Puigcerdà






In the Pyrenees I have visited the following places too:


- Catalonia





- Andorra



- France


Finally, clicking on the next link, you will find links to other beautiful places and villages of Catalonia.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

TREN GROC DE LA CERDANYA OR TRAIN JAUNE



The yellow train (Tren Groc de la Cerdanya in Catalan and Train Jaune de Cerdagne in French) crosses the Pyrenees from its northern slope in the south area of France, known as Catalunya Nord.

The Yellow Train is a fantastic way of reaching the territory of the Regional Nature Park of Catalan Pyrenees. In summer, some of the wagons have no ceiling to see the landscape in more detail.



Yellow Train
The Yellow Train in summer



The railway line of the Yellow Train is a symbol of the Catalan Pyrenees, with its colours of blood and gold. The route of the yellow train goes from Villefranche de Conflent up to Latour-de-Carol. The whole route is 63 km long through 19 tunnels and 2 high viaducts between mountains and  costs about 15 euros.




Train Jaune in Villefranche de Conflent
Train Jaune de Cerdagne in Villefranche de Conflent




Yellow train in The Pyrenees
Yellow train crossing a viaduct, with a series of arches across a valley of The Pyrenees


It can be caught in any of its 22 stations and the trip takes about 3 hours. Although its route is entirely in French territory, its wagons are painted in yellow in honor of the flag of Catalunya.




Tren Groc de la Cerdanya
The Yellow Train (Tren Groc de la Cerdanya in Catalan)


From the valley of the Têt River, the train offers fantastic sceneries punctuated by cultural sites.


La Têt from the Yellow train (Train Jaune)
Têt river from the Yellow train



You must not forget that at fourteen of the twenty-two stations, the train only stops if you have already requested it. To get on the train, signal to the train driver. To get off, warn the ticket inspector well beforehand.

Since 2004, as much as possible has been done to improve the quality and comfort of the train: new bus links and road services, rehabilitation of the stations, modernisation of the rolling stock... This Regional Express Train ensures that all the year round it is possible to make several return journeys every day whatever are the climatic conditions.




The Yellow Train in The Pyrenees
The Yellow Train crossing a viaduct between the mountains of The Pyrenees



Nowadays it's a touristic train and its journey is really cultural. It's actually one of the most spectacular rail you can enjoy around the Pyrenees because of the impressive landscapes.





The Pyrenees from the Yellow Train
Nice view of The Pyrenees from the Yellow Train



The Pyrenees in France
I enjoyed landscapes in The Pyrenees like this one for more than one hour



Yellow Train in The Pyrenees
Railway line of the Yellow Train in The Pyrenees




The Pyrenees between Catalonia and France
A village in The Pyrenees near the border between France and Catalonia



The Pyrenees between Catalonia and France
The Pyrenees between Catalonia and France with the Canigou (El Canigó), a symbolic mountain




The Pyrenees from the Yellow Train
The Pyrenees from the Yellow Train




Yellow train in the station of La Cabanasse near Mont-Louis





Some years before, in 2009, I spent some days in Paris. You can see some pictures of these days in Paris clicking on the links below:





In France I have visited too:




Saturday, May 17, 2014

FRANCE: VILLEFRANCHE DE CONFLENT AND TRAIN JAUNE

Villefranche-de-Conflent (Vilafranca de Conflent) is historically a town in the Conflent region of Catalonia, and now a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France.

Villefranche is an eleventh century medieval town fortified by Vauban in the 17th century because of its strategic position in lands that changed hands between French and Spanish occupation. It lies at the foot of the Canigou at the heart of the Pyrenees. 

Classed as one of the 'Most Beautiful Villages in France', Villefranche is one of the 14 Vauban sites retained for UNESCO World listing.

Town walls of Villefranche de Conflent
Town walls of Villefranche de Conflent (Vilafranca de Conflent) surrounded by the Pyrenees


In Villefranche de Conflent we strolled around at our leisure taking in the Medieval Town and enjoying the fantastic views from the Train Jaune (Tren Groc de la Cerdanya) which runs from Villefranche de Conflent to Latour de Carol taking you on an unforgettable journey through Cerdanya (Viaducts, tunnels, bridges).

Finally we had lunch in Puigcerdà, where we could make a short visit. So, during this intense day we visited and enjoyed:

  • Villefranche de Conflent (Vilafranca de Conflent in Catalan)
  • Train Jaune (Tren Groc de la Cerdanya, Yellow Train)
  • Puigcerdà

Villefranche de Conflent




Spanish Gate of Villefranche de Conflent
Spanish Gate of Villefranche de Conflent


Church Square in Villefranche de Conflent
Place de L'Église (Church Square) in Villefranche de Conflent


Romanesque church of Villefranche de Conflent
Bell tower of the romanesque church of Villefranche de Conflent


Rue de Saint-Jaques in Villefranche de Conflent
Rue de Saint-Jaques in Villefranche de Conflent


Rue de Saint-Jaques in Villefranche de Conflent
Another view of Rue Saint-Jaques in Villefranche de Conflent


French Gate of Villefranche de Conflent
French Gate of Villefranche de Conflent


Town walls of Villefranche de Conflent
Town Walls of Villefranche de Conflent and Fort Libéria beside La Têt


Town walls of Villefranche de Conflent
Comtal Gate is the starting point of rue Saint-Jean in Villefranche de Conflent


Town walls of Villefranche de Conflent
A closer view of the town walls of Villefranche de Conflent, designed by Vauban


Comtal Gate in Villefranche de Conflent
Comtal Gate in Villefranche de Conflent


Rue Saint-Jean in Villefranche de Conflent
Rue Saint-Jean in Villefranche de Conflent



Nice corner of Villefranche de Conflent
Nice corner of Villefranche de Conflent


Fort Liberia and the walls of Villefranche de Conflent
Fort Libéria and the walls of Villefranche de Conflent


Train Jaune 


Train Jaune in Villefranche de Conflent
From the station of the Train Jaune in Villefranche de Conflent you can see the Fort Libéria


La Tet from Le Train Jaune
La Têt from Le Train Jaune (Tren Groc de la Cerdanya)


Train Jaune (Tren Groc de la Cerdanya)
Enjoying the journey on the Train Jaune


Train Jaune (Tren Groc de la Cerdanya)
Viaduct over which passes the Train Jaune (Tren Groc de la Cerdanya)


The Pyrenees from the Train Jaune
Beautiful view of the Pyrenees from the Train Jaune (Tren Groc de la Cerdanya)



The Pyrenees from the Train Jaune
Small village in the Pyrenees near the railway of Train Jaune (Tren Groc de la Cerdanya)


El Canigo from Le Train Jaune (Tren Groc de la Cerdanya)
El Canigó (Le Canigou) from Le Train Jaune (Tren Groc de la Cerdanya)



Train Jaune Station in Mont-Louis
Train Jaune Station in Mont-Louis

Puigcerdà


Estany de Puigcerda
L'Estany de Puigcerdà (Puigcerdà Pond)


Carrer Major (Main Street) of Puigcerda
Carrer Major (Main Street) of Puigcerdà


I have visited more places and cities in France:



In the Pyrenees of Catalonia and Andorra I have visited the following places too:


- Catalonia




- Andorra





Finally, clicking on the next link, you will find links to other beautiful places and villages of Catalonia.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

COSTA BRAVA: CAMI DE RONDA IN SANT FELIU DE GUÍXOLS

Camins de Ronda (Ronda Way) were  footpaths built in 19th Century along the Costa Brava coast to help the police to patrol the coast and avoid smuggling. It was formed from small footpaths through the cliffs along the coast of Catalonia.


Sant Feliu de Guixols in Costa Brava
View of Sant Feliu de Guíxols from the beginning of the Camí de Ronda (Ronda Way)


Nowadays Camins de Ronda are a set of public seaside footpaths (belonging to the GR-92) often connecting beautiful beaches of the Costa Brava. They have been restored to provide pretty hiking trails, as they pass through some of the Girona coastline’s most emblematic locations, offering beautiful views of these beaches.

The network of footpaths that has been best restored can be found linking together the fishermen’s districts and the coves in the townships of Begur and Palafrugell, as well as different points of Palamós and Platja d’Aro and the entire coastline from S’Agaró to Sant Feliu de Guíxols.



Cala Jonca in Sant Feliu de Guixols
Cala Jonca from Camí de Ronda (Ronda Way) in Sant Feliu de Guíxols



Cami de Ronda in Sant Feliu de Guixols
Stairs near Cala Jonca in Camí de Ronda (Ronda Way) from Sant Feliu de Guíxols to Sant Pol beach


Cami de Ronda in Sant Feliu de Guixols
Wide area to walk quietly of Camí de Ronda (Ronda Way) in Sant Feliu de Guíxols



Cami de Ronda in Sant Feliu de Guixols
Sea views from this point of Camí de Ronda (Ronda Way) were quite relaxing


Cami de Ronda in Sant Feliu de Guixols
There are several flight of stairs in Camí de Ronda (Ronda Way) from Sant Feliu de Guíxols to Sant Pol beach in S'Agaró



Costa Brava from Sant Feliu de Guixols
Costa Brava from Mirador de Sant Elm (Sant Elm viewpoint)



Costa Brava in Sant Feliu de Guixols
From Camí de Ronda (Ronda Way) you can see nice places like this one of La Costa Brava 





Besides, in Costa Brava you can visit the fantastic old city of Gironamany lovely villages and interesting places, like:


Moreover if you like beaches, below you have other beautiful beaches in Catalonia, Spain and Portugal:


- Costa Daurada beaches

Barcelona Beaches


Finally, clicking on the next link you will find more beautiful villages, beaches and landscapes in Catalonia.