High above Granollers


I took a walk this evening up to the derelict tower that sits on a hill overlooking GranollersThe tower Torre de Pinos is an old fortified defense tower built in the 14th century and now half in ruins it is protected but not really cherished.
But the place is magical. I took these photos on a sunny afternoon last week, walking along flower lined paths while trying to take photographs of the swifts. It is not easy to catch one moment of their flight path as they are the ultimate aerial birds. I had many photos of empty blue sky! Swifts eat, drink, mate and sleep on the wing and only come to earth for long enough to nest and feed their young. Barcelona is full of the sound of their excited cries and from our terrace here I can watch them at night. In Catala they are called Falciots, not orinetes which are swallows. Up in the fields around the Torre, high above Granollers, in the evening when the air is full of flying insects, I am able to feel as if I am in their world.
Tonight I went to the Torre just before sunset. The sun was hiding at first behind a large cloud and I watched it slowly emerge like a luminescent red balloon to glow with midsummer fire before settling down behind the hills. I had no camera and could only wonder and marvel at the dance of the swifts, the rays of purple light spreading across the sky and the wildness of this place so close to the city. So often I stand with my neck craned to watch them high above but tonight I had the amazing experience of having them whizz past my head so close I could hear their wing beat.
Life sometimes throws at us ‘momentos malos’ and it was in this kind of mood that I climbed the hill tonight with Duna as my companion. I felt very aware that nowhere within miles or kilometers was there anyone I could talk to freely in my own language. I was missing not so much ‘home’ but the feeling of ‘being at home’. If you ever imagine living in another country, include this in the fantasy, it can be hard! Small things can feel like the last straw and it is easy to feel inadequate when you can’t freely do the most normal thing – talk. So,what to do, where to turn?
For me it is to nature, which exists outside frontiers and customs, languages and barriers, frustrations and misunderstandings. All exists in the moment and tonight as the light was dying it was beautiful to be part of that moment.

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9 thoughts on “High above Granollers

  1. I came across your blog when I was looking to read blogs by expats in Barcelona. I spent 4 months there – September 2008-December 2008 studying abroad in Barcelona. I lived at the Collblanc stop with a fantastic view of Barcelona. I have since graduated college last May, and am now working in the Chicago, IL, USA area in insurance. Your blog brightens my lunch hour and makes me miss Spain so much that it hurts. Keep blogging, please. I am living vicariously through you!

    Christine Anderson

  2. I’ve just had a week in the Dordogne and the swifts there were wonderful, the whole week was punctuated by their whirling and screeching. I love the sound – it means summer and hot lazy days when only the swifts are busy…

  3. I am so enjoying your posts. You describe the landscape so beautifully and while I have not lived outside of my own country I have visited for extended periods and completely understand the kind of lonliness you describe. Keep writing, it is wonderful to read.

  4. I am so looking forward to experiencing everything you describe with my own eyes and ears and of course giving you the opportunity to talk in your own language for a few days. You mentioned somewhere you were going to concentrate on learning Catalan instead of two languages at once. I think that is very wise to just immerse yourself in the words you hear around you. When I moved to the Netherlands all those years ago and starting learning Dutch, it would have been really difficult to try to learn German as well (related but very very different).
    Looking forward to a good blether next week!

  5. I so love our swallows, it is very uplifting to watch them darting around.

    Early on in my relationship with the Cuban I had similar feelings of isolation when we would visit his family in Florida. Still in the English speaking US, but they only spoke Spanish, and all the people we visited only spoke Spanish. Not as total as your experience, I know, but even on that level I used to get very lonely and frustrated for that week. I’m thinking of it as expat training. 😉

  6. Yes it’s good to practice first then maybe you don’t take it so personally. And I don’t always feel that way – mostly I am fine but when the isolation hits then it can be quite strong! Now i am trying really hard to learn Catalan – letting go of Castellano for a while although of course I still speak it. But I hope my Catalan will speed up as I concentrate more on what I am actually lietening to all day. and sometimes it is good not to know what is going on! that too has been a lesson.

  7. Kate, your blog is wonderful, so glad you came and found mine and left me a note. Ohmygosh, how I know that feeling of just wanting to be home. But then when I got home, I really missed Catalunya. I’m forever divided, I wonder if you will be too.

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