09 Dec 2020
CATALONIA.- Tourism, Culture and Gastronomy. Tourist and gastronomic proposals and experiences.
Although the situation in tourism is still not improving, the latest information, in which some countries have started to vaccinate the population, has led to an increase in the number of enquiries about travel on the different websites about tourist products and experiences. Due to the established health measures, some programmes and tourist visits have access restrictions or only allow virtual visits at present, and continue to update their tourist experiences, providing novelties or new proposals while waiting for a complete reactivation of the sector.
Catalonia Tourist Destination - Video
PLACES OF CULTURAL INTEREST.- The Cistercian Route
This route was created on 1989 and it’s one of the most complete in the Catalan cultural offer. The regions: Alt Camp, Conca de Barberà and Urgell are the ones that have Cistercians monasteries, temples that were founded in XII century and they are known because they were the official mausoleum of the kings in Aragon Kingdom for more than 300 years.
In Vimbodí and Poblet (La Concade Barberà) is situated the Poblet Monastery, the biggest of the entire route and the only one that still has a monk community. It was founded in 1150 and it developed his activity without problems until 1853. The confiscation stopped its activities until 1940. This year the monks returned to the monastery and started an important process of restoration and preservation. This active monastery is one of the biggest inEurope and it was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO
Santes Creus Monastery, situated in Aiguamúrica (Alt Camp), was founded in 1150 and is the only one that reflexes better a way of construction which follows bernardian manners. Nowadays, there’s no monastic live, because a lot of monks were expelled in 1835. So it’s a unique opportunity to enjoy a visit in every single place of this Cistercian place and know all the legends about the monastery.
Vallbona Monastery, situated in Vallbona de les Monges (Urgell) is the only feminine monastery in the route and it has conserved the community for more than 850 years without a break. The first notices of this little monastery date in 1150 but it wasn’t until 1176 when it was full integrate into the Cistercian order
CALÇOTADES.- Typical Gastronomy in Catalonia
Calçots.- A gastronomic phenomenon
Regarding the origin of calçots, it is said that it was a farmer from Valls, in the nineteenth century, know as Xat de Benaiges, who, by mistake, prepared grilled some onions that overheated. They burned on the outside and, instead of throwing them away, the farmer peeled the outer layers, discovering the calçots.
Between December and April appear, in Tarragona region and especially in Valls, the calçots and the calçotada, a feast in which tradition and gastronomy come together.
The calçots are a sweet and tender variety of onion, with many properties, such as antineoplastic agent, diuretic, digestive, tonic, and even aphrodisiac. Prepared grilled, and served on a tile, together with romesco or salvitxada sauce. The ritual of this popular Catalan feast is to take the calçot for the top end, peel the outer layer, soak it in the sauce and put it directly into the mouth; therefore a bib is often used to avoid staining.
Although the calçots are typical of Tarragona region, more and more restaurants in Catalonia include them in their menus; from typical farmhouses which offers the most traditional calçotades, to innovative restaurants, which reinvent this delicacy.
Fuentes.- Ag. Cat. De Turisme – InCatalonia
PLACES OF CULTURAL INTEREST.- Casa Milà-La Pedrera
After the Sagrada Familia, this is the most well known work of Antoni Gaudí, built between 1905 and 1911. It is the last, and without a doubt the most striking, of the living spaces designed by the genial Architect, and is the most significant example of the curved line in his work.
Its official name is the casa Milà, as it was commissioned for Pere Milà, but it is popularly known as the Pedrera. Outside the grey stone undulating sculpted façade, decorated with wrought iron balconies is of note. Inside is the feeling of the unreal – as if one has entered a fantasy world.
Open to the public are the hallway, the grand indoor patio, a floor completely filled with furniture designed by the architect and the terrace with several phantasmagoric chimneys, known as espantabrujas, inspired by the landscapes of the Turkish Cappadocia . From here there is beautiful view of the city.
One can also visit the so called Espacio Gaudí, in the attic, that was previously a laundrette, with 270 plain brick catenary arcs that create a structure that appears like a skeleton with curious perspectives. Here there is a small museum where models of all of Gaudis´ buildings are on show as well as photographs, designs and audiovisual presentations on the life and work of the architect.
Inside, the courtyards are large and, due to their shape and paintings, they look like a cave; the roof has an unusual and artistically charged roof, which has nothing to do with the architecture of its time, where you can see the chimneys, figures that remind us of warriors’ heads. From here you have a good view of the city of Barcelona and other of its characteristic monuments.
The Piso de la Pedrera, (Pedrera flat) was opened in 1999 as a permament exhibition space and is situated on the fourth floor of the building. It has a total area of 569 square metres, and recreates the flat of a Barcelona family at the start of the 20th century and is decorated with furniture and items from the period.
The building was declared a Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984 and two years later was acquired by Caixa Catalunya who made it their head office. On the ground floor temporary exhibitions are held.