Another day of travelling and nature in the Pyrenees! Breakfast at our Airbnb which surprisingly cost us 9 euros - we thought it was included in the room since it was described as a "bed and breakfast", but they didn't tell it was included (and nor did they mention it wasn't!). Oh well, only 9 euros and it was very delicious.
Another few hours of driving, this time to the east where we headed to the Vall de Boí, a long narrow valley in the high Pyrenees. Here was the next UNESCO site for us to examine - a series of Catalan Romanesque churches. There are 9 of them scattered across the valley, so we drove around and examined about 5 of them.
They all date from a period around the 10th to 12th centuries, and are mostly still surviving intact from that era (some have had significant or almost total reconstruction, others are mostly original). They're interesting to see because they have quite a distinct style unique to the area, where the terrain meant they were fairly excluded from the art and architecture trends of the outside world.
We ended up having to hurry around a couple of them because most were closing for siesta the entire afternoon (1pm - 4pm usually), meaning we'd be at a loose end for the intervening period.
Also managed to grab a spot at the best-preserved church for a "video scanning" session which I understood to mean we'd be seeing archaeologists scanning artworks or something. But it turned out to be a Vivid-style projection across the whole front of the church interior, depicting the murals and paintings that were originally found in the church dating from the 12th century (they have since been moved to an art museum in Barcelona for safekeeping). It was really impressive, though obviously won't turn up on video very well!
Drove around looking at a few more churches from the outside (you can do this during siesta thankfully), and lingered over lunch in a local restaurant. Interesting to see that here in Catalunya (aka Catalonia) people seem to speak more Catalan than Spanish; again a very distinct region. We were up in high mountain regions too, and although there are tourists I guess there isn't a huge desire to learn other languages.
Our Airbnb was in a mountain lodge type building (similar to style to most buildings up here - grey stones, dark wooden shutters and black roofs), though we were the only guests. Thankfully only a couple of rooms so it wasn't too eerie! Spent a couple of hours online before heading to the next town over where apparently the only restaurant in the valley was open!
Had a nice dinner, Shandos had duck while I had a mushroom cannelloni dish. Amused to see that the couple sitting beside us had also sat next to us at lunch! Back to the car where Schnitzel had spent the last hour (nice and warm for him, he's generally not allowed in restaurants and we don't like leaving him in our room when he's not super settled and comfortable).
Back home where we had a Skype session with Korrin and the kids as it was William's first birthday! Hard to believe a year's passed already. Spoke to the Cleavers afterwards briefly as well, good to hear that all's well. Off to bed at the usual time, excited for a new country tomorrow!Read more