Berga. A small city in the mountains of Catalonia. A city where the true Catalonian feeling is stronger felt than in the other places in the region that I’ve been to.
The Catalan spoken here has stronger sounds, so strong that it sometimes almost seemed Dutch to me. Normally I understand a bit when someone speaks Catalan. In this area it was completely impossible for me to follow anything.
Andorra & Montserrat
But who would be bothered by such a thing as language when the people are so lovely and the views so magnificent?
When you find yourself on the top of a mountain, you’ll see the snowy mountains of Andorra at one side, and the strange formed mountain ridges of Montserrat on the other.
My friend and I left Barcelona for the weekend and we found ourselves chasing my friend’s childhood memories. Her grandparents used to live in Berga and during her childhood she spent a lot of time here.
8 year olds
As if we were both 8 years old again, we followed the routes up the mountains, where she used to explore the surroundings of the house where she had spent so many holidays.
I saw her watching at the houses where the other kids used to live, with who she played football. Sometimes the ball was kicked into one of the courtyards, and they had to sneak in through the gate in order to get the ball back.
Much to my horror she told me that she and her sisters went looking for snails in the rain, and when they’ve caught enough, her mother would cook them. Cargols, is what they call them in Catalan, and they’re considered to be a delicacy.
It was in Berga where she learned how to ride the bicycle. The big garage of her grandparents was filled with bikes. The bicycle dealer in Berga was still there, but it wasn’t as big anymore as it was before. Or was that just the clash of the child’s perspective versus the adult one?
In a bit less than 20 years Berga has changed very little. The store where her grandfather bought his newspaper and candy for the children is still a shop, but now it sells clothes.
The videotheque is still there. And apparently it still rents out Betamax and VHS.
Time seems to move on slowly in Berga. And after the speedy and busy life in Barcelona, that was just what we needed for a weekend.
This article was picked up by the local news of Berga.