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Sobre las Nubes [So-bre las Noo-bes]

Sobre las Nubes (Above the clouds)

We boarded the bus at Universitat; driving through winding narrow roads, fog and miniature villages, ascending the mountains of the Pyrenees. We were on our way to Berga, a town thirty minutes from the French border perched high in the mountain range above the clouds. We traveled to Berga to meet my language partner, Laia, who lives in the small village Vilada, outside of Berga. The bus dropped us at our stop, vaporous clouds trailed from its exhaust pipes lingering in the chilly mountain air.

We sat in a local spot for lunch, enjoying menús del dia and learning how to drink wine from  the porrón at our table. The rurality of Berga was tangible in the style and presentation of our traditional Catalonian meal.

Drinking from the traditional catalan wine pitcher called a porron; interior of the restaurant

Escudella, a soup traditionally eaten at Christmas time in the Catalonian region

Traditional Christmas dishes: Canneloni & grilled pig’s feet; desserts of egg flan and cheesecake. 


We walked off our meal making our way uphill, through the steep cobblestone streets of Berga.

The city and permanent decorations for the city’s biggest attraction, Festa de la Patum.


Behind the Outlook

Laia’s father drove us to a higher altitude in the range, soaring above the clouds bank.

Map of surrounding mountains

a glowing tree

Inside Santuari de Santa Maria de Queralt

It was dusk, and we were chilled from several hours of exposure to the misty mountain air–we drove to Vilada, a small village with only around 500 inhabitants, and where Laia grew up. We were invited into the tangerine house perched on a ledge against the pink sky. Sipping warm coffee and tea, I looked around at the interior of Laia’s house. It was cozy, warm, and the blinking from the lights on the small christmas tree gave the living room the familiar flow of the holidays. I had finished my coffee when Laia’s grandmother appeared in her house, greeting us warmly,  as a proper mediterranean grandmother should. She smelled of laundry and “kitchen”, and was preparing for Christmas dinner, marinating a large chicken (that she described to us). “My grandparents live upstairs”, Laia noted.


With my own family spread out across the entire globe, I wondered what it would be like to have lived just downstairs from my grandparents–able to walk upstairs on a whim and enjoy my savta’s food and saba’s smile, or watch my grandmother’s belly shake as she enjoys a hearty laugh.

We were dropped off at the Manresa train station, our feet weary from a whole day of hiking and exploring. We made our rounds as we said our goodbyes and thanks–Laia pulled a package out of her knapsack, handing the parcel to me. “These are a special cookie from my village”.

A wonderful end to an incredible day in the outskirts of Barcelona.

The BEST holidays

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