The gnomes hut
A space dedicated to fantasy and to the typical characters of fairy tales hidden in a pine forest of La Garriga
A free day can offer you different possible activities: watch a series, read a book or maybe take the R3 train, which takes 45 minutes from Barcelona to La Garriga.
La Garriga is a Spanish municipality located in the Eastern Vallès of Catalonia. A small town where the surrounding landscape is characterized by mountains and pine forests. An environment with clean air and silence, very different from the chaos of the Catalan capital.
Apart from the historic center, churches and ancient villas of the past, there is a very particular wood near the station. It is very easy to get there. Once you get off the train, in front of the station, there is a slightly uphill road that winds its way between luxury houses and quiet avenues. At its end there is a pine forest, which offers a small surprise.
Following the directions in half an hour of walking I arrive at the wood.
As soon as I enter, I see a strange little house with rounded shapes with a strange chimney, later a badly tanned statue and then a miniature castle.
I keep wandering around the shaded area and I sharpen my eyes to see if I can find other sculptures. So it was! A magical tree, an Oscar-shaped statue, even a dragon and a lion! Without realizing it, I am walking in an enchanted pine forest where the most iconic figures of fairy tales appear all together hidden among shrubs and blades of grass.
But what is it about? Fortunately, next to the fairy tale house I find a sign with a brief description of the place.
Un bosco magico
It is called La Cabana dels nans or The gnomes hut. Yes, because in addition to the fantastic sculptures, the house has the air of a refuge for gnomes who live in the depths of a magical forest.
The illustrative plaque explains that this is a project conceived and implemented by Esteve Torrents Grau. A man whose manual skills and unbridled imagination shaped, over the years, the magical and extravagant figures scattered here and there.
“Yes, it is allowed to visit this enclosure” says an inscribed board hanging from a tree. It indicates that we are welcome, that here everyone can enjoy the place where they can spend moments of tranquility, leaving room for imagination or personal reflections.
Unfortunately, to be honest, not all the sculptures are in good condition. Some are marked by the weather, the passage of time and others by vandalism.
A pity that the colors no longer have the strength of the past and the disfigured faces of some works emanate a sinister and mysterious halo. Even nature doesn’t waste time in re-appropriating and devouring some of them with grass and creepers. There is an urgent need for maintenance and care!
Why is such a unique and extravagant place at the mercy of decay and bad weather?
The pandemic and lack of funds have left him alone, fading of his magical power. Unfortunately Esteve himself can no longer take care of him.
However, a crowfunding project is underway to renovate the area and give new life to the sculptures.
If you want to know more click on the link which gives you all the info about the project de la Cabana dels nans.
I still have a few minutes to take pictures.
Then I follow the path, which going down to the valley continues between fields of olive trees and vineyards. The clearly visible road leads to an old abandoned ceramic factory. Despite the deterioration of the structure, its solitary chimney and a windmill used for the extraction of underground water stand out.
The Wood of Evil winter
But the surprises are not over. In the vicinity of the factory is the Bosc de Malhivern. It is one of the few spots of holm oaks left in the area. In the past the trees were used for the production of wooden tools or for its charcoal of good quality.
The path is easy and well marked. There seems to be no one else apart people walking the dog or cycling. But with a careful step and a eyesight you can spot hares and other animals! It is enough to stop and watch in silence to realize that I am not alone. A whole life moves among the branches of the trees or the faint noises of leaves. With a slight slope, the forest ends in one of the main roads that finally lead to the city.
I head towards the center to take the train back to the frenzy of Barcelona, but with a more serene and charged soul to face the week!
If you want to have more info on La Garriga you can visit the web page of the municipality where you can discover other beautiful places of interest and paths immersed in nature.
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