Time flies when I (Alba) look out the small window of Cal Sort while sitting on the sofa with Juna. I look through to see the vast forest of Vallcebre. The dark blue sky, the autumn colors, the pear tree in front of our new rural life in this Catalan Masia…
A what?? Yes, you read it well, a Masia. After two months of travelling with the caravan, we landed in Camping El Berguedà and spent almost four months there. In the middle of summer, the opportunity to rent this masia came up. We could not resist!! I mean, a historical building with four hectares of fields and forest! The first to say yes was Juna the doggy, of course.
The Transformation of Traditional Masies into Modern Homes
I always saw masies while growing up in Catalonia and Andorra (there known as Borda) but I could not imagine I would ever live in one. There are constructions that sometimes are more than 1,000-year-old and, no joke, they breathe so much history that I feel overwhelmed. So, what is this type of house exactly?
Masies are typical farmhouses1 made of stone found mostly in Catalonia and southeast France. They are usually facing south for the maximum use of sunlight in winter. They tend to have small windows and a big arched entrance. Here you have a sketch that I created using Chat GPT and DALL·E (the text I had to add manually… it became clear after five try outs that it would be easier to do it myself):
The ground floor was usually the shelter for the animals or the place to store tools for agricultural activities. Now our main entrance, bike storage and bathroom.
The first floor provided living space for the family. This was the main living quarters where they cooked, slept and spent time together. Now it is our living room and kitchen so close to the original use but… we got an upgrade!
The additional upper floor is not being used as granary or pigeon quarters anymore, it is now our bedroom(s) / second living room / office. What do you think of our creative way to make a bedroom? 😛
Overall, we are very comfortable living more sustainably and more rural. Finding joy in daily rituals like gathering wood and lighting the chimney, or walking to the Botigueta (the small supermarket in Vallcebre), and getting local and seasonal products.
You might think by now, this is the dream! And it is most of the time but, it comes with challenges too. I am planning to write more about the province of Alt Berguedà and the joys and limitations of live in this area 🙂 Today, I feel like speaking of the pretty side.
Back to Basics: The Simple Joys of Life in El Berguedà
Here we are, experiencing first-hand nature connection. I walk out the door every day to hear the birds waking up, the rustling of the leaves when the wind is blowing, and sometimes, the bells of the roaming cows and sheep. It is a wonderful feeling to be, in some measure, back to basics, living a rural lifestyle in the Catalan Pyrenees. And I don’t mean this only literally, but also figuratively. Going back to basics is also to start giving our attention to the simplest and most important matters after ignoring them for a while.
If you have been reading the updates that Jochem posted over the last few months, you’ll know that we’ve slightly deviated from our original business idea. The idea was to buy land and building a more sustainable way of life in a rural area. Moreover, we have possibly been ignoring what brought us to the mountains in the first place.
Although we have achieved to have a more rural living in El Berguedà, the journey about our potential business is still uncertain. Buying a rural tourism business or building one, is very out of our budget.
Living more rurally makes me feel inspired
We haven’t worked actively in this, however we have been developing many new ideas since we got to El Berguedà. There is so much that we could do here: from forest bathing walks to tastings of local products. From baking apple pie and making mulled wine (gluhwein) for visitors to offer workations for digital nomads. One thing is clear: Berguedà is inspiring to us and we want to spend more time here. We just need to gather some courage and take the leap.
I am unsure of how life will unfold in the next months but, one thing I am sure of, is that I feel inspired and happy every time I step out of this masia. Join me in this feeling with this aerial view of My Life in Berguedà!
This is my first article for a long while so it has taken me sometime to put my thoughts in order. I started writing in darkness and now the sun rays are touching my face. It’s time to start another day in #BeautifulBergueda! Juna, shall we go for a walk?
Is there anything you’d like to hear about next time? Did you like any of the business ideas I mentioned? Leave a message below and let me know please 🙂
And don’t forget to subscribe and stay tuned! You can also follow this adventure on living rurally through the eyes of Juna, our doggy, or get a full-on human experience with photos and videos of the stunning landscapes that Jochem takes every day, mostly on his morning runs!