From Hostalets de Balenyà to Aiguafreda de Dalt
The charm of an ancient monastery immersed in the peaceful winter
This time the train R3, from the Sants station in Barcelona, stops near of Hostalets de Balenyà a small town of about 3000 inhabitants.
Thanks to a map and with great tranquility I leave Balenya to head initially towards the marshes. A series of small dams built for water collection. The route extends between open fields alternating with small wooded areas. The winter is coming and you can feel it. Everything is silent while the colors of the landscape have now acquired calm and dull tones.
In half an hour I arrive at the first dam of the three marked on the map. I put my backpack down and look at the landscape illuminated by a weak sun. The environment inspires a somewhat ghostly feeling. Personally I have never liked the places where the water stagnates and remains calm. A still mirror reflecting the shape of the trees that extend to the edges of the shore surround the dam. I lose a bit of time in taking some pictures and resume the journey.
Aiguafreda de Dalt
The path leads me to El Muntanyà, an urbanization of the municipality of Seva. The name derives from an old rural house dated back to 1041 (vil·la Montannan). Today is the site of many second homes for weekends in the mountains. There is not much to see so I continuous the route interspersed with small breaks to check the map and enjoy a good air (the one in Barcelona is very polluted!). Finally I arrive in Aiguafreda de Dalt.
Following the road you get to a XII century AD building. Which, apart from subsequent modifications, hides its Romanesque architectural origin. The link coneixer Catalunya tells the story of this rectory that is very important for the inhabitants of Aiguafreda. Being written in Catalan I try to make a small summary below.
The origin of the church
The documents available describe the act of consecration of the church of San Martì on 5 August 898 by the bishop of Vic, Gotmar. The structure was completed by order of Emma, daughter of Count Guifre I and abbess of San John.
However, it is supposed that the church of San Martì existed before 898. The abbess Emma, during the act of consecration affirmed that there was “life and organization already before 898”. So she would only have completed a hermit construction that already existed in 844, begun for part of his uncle, the Count and Monk Sunifred.
Recent archaeological research has discovered the presence of a cave-crypt just below the church where some bodies were found. This indicates that long before the official acts, already existed a place of worship belonging to the period of the early Middle Ages.
In addition to the complex there is an abandoned cemetery of the XIX century.
Aiguafreda and back home
The sun remains completely veiled by a typical blanket of winter clouds. I am going to the descent to the village of Aiguafreda where I will find the usual train that will take me back to Barcelona. Momtseny’s park hides not only natural wonders. This is a place where man has settled since ancient times and has left his architectural imprints of great charm.
Do you want to read again? Check my list of articles in Travel and other stories or check out my gallery of this excursion.