Surroundings of la Casa del Molí
Even though la Casa del Molí is located relatively close to urban areas such as Barcelona, the country house is located in a privileged place. The borders of the property are adjacent to two Natural Parks protected by the local government, the Generalitat of Catalonia: these two wonders are the Natural Park of Montmell-Marmellar and the Natural Park of Capçaleres del Foix.
The host will find here a corner of calm, finding an equilibrium among its flora and fauna. La Casa del Molí is settled outside Penedès plain, where agriculture is predominant, specially vineyards. This refurbished millhouse is located in a valley in the middle of coastal range, where highlands top reach 850 m (aprox 2500ft) above sea level in this area. In this range is where river Foix is born and, this river crosses Penedès until reaching Mediterranean Sea in Cubelles. Pontons River is a tributary of Foix River and it flows along the east side of la Casa del Molí. This water flowing is a fantastic attraction for quite a few species of animals:
In front of the la Casa del Molí a duck builds its nest every year around April and May and, if you are silent enough you can observe the whole family sailing along water stream at dawn or dusk. Around the river is where the natural habitat of slowworm is. In fact, the slowworm is a harmless, legless lizard. Wild boars often come round to quench their thirst, especially by end of summer. However, it is also frequent to hear them at night when they are looking for roots and worms down the mud. More silent and attentive you must be if you want to spot a roe dear. You can come across one of them at the early morning but sometimes you can get lucky as one of our guests was when he found outside a roe deer horn as a souvenir of his stay in la Casa del Molí. From time to time, foxes also drop by la Casa del Molí to get their dinner in case our chicken hens where left free outside hen house by mistake. Nevertheless, the danger for our hens came once from the sky. There is a couple of kestrels who live in Sant Salvador rocky cliff. One of their babies went hunting for the first time and chose Queca, one of our chicken hens. Fortunately, it failed and Queca still enjoys rural life with us.
Regarding other animals, it is possible to spot badgers, toads, frogs, rhino beetle, scarce swallowtail butterfly, zygaena butterfly, wild pigeons, woodpeckers, owls, etc.
And there are also occasional residents like a flock whose shepherds name is Joan, the last of the region. You can deep dive into it by reading this post in our blog. In addition, there is also a tenths of bee-hives in the area that produce organic honey and pollinize the flora of the valley.
Concerning this flora, there can be found mainly evergreen trees, especially pine trees and holm oaks. Also ash trees and oaks grow up in this area. The forest is quite dens and many of these trees are embraced by vines along their trunk. Among them sarsaparille is one of the most spread and it can be easily recognized by its spikes. In the surroundings of la Casa del Molí it is possible to find two kind of wild fruits. The easier to be found are blackberries, which can be delighted around early September. More difficult is to find red berries from strawberry trees. The time to collect this sweet, natural delicatessen is around November and December.
Another treasure shows up at night in the sky above la Casa del Molí. Night sky is a worthy spectacle and areas with low light pollution such as the one surrounding la Casa del Molí offer privileged seats. Milky Way can easily be observed during New Moon nights.
From historical heritage standpoint, surroundings of La Casa del Molí also offer the visitor interesting places worth visiting. The first jewel is in the very same building where they are hosting. La Casa del Molí is an old millhouse where wheat grains were milled into flour and where wood was cut into beams to build houses of the region. Also within a short walk from la Casa del Molí an old shepherd’s shelter can be visited. It is a round stone shelter made only with stones and it is known as “dry Stone shelter”.
Both Sant Joan Hermitage and Sant Salvador Hermitage are remarkable and it is a worth walking along the forest.
From one side, Sant Joan Hermitage (1075dC) can be spotted along the way up, which is 230metres above Casa del Molí. Even though this hermitage is closed it is really impressive to observe all the valley and beyond, towards whole Penedès area and even Montserrat.
From the other side, Sant Salvador Hermitage is not visible until you reach it. It is recommendable to drive up by car and take a short walk through the forest. It is a really atypical construction because it is build inside a cave and looks more like a tower than a heritage.
Foix is the name of the main river of Penedès county, as well as the sanctuary dedicated to Holly Mary of Foix. This sanctuary can be easily reached by car in a 20 minute drive from la Casa del Molí. It is opened the first Sunday morning of each month but again it is just worth the visit for the exceptional views, from the sea to Montserrat and Montseny range.
Foix gorges is a nice, cool place to visit in summer. Upstream river Foix water is crystal clear and fresh. Pontons river can also be delighted in les Dous park, where you can take a nice, flat walk below shadow trees.
A cultural visit to Santes Creus monastery is also a must have. It belongs to Cister order, together with Poblet monastery and Vallbona de les Monges monastery
The capital of wine, Vilafranca del Penedès, also deserves a visit. Beyond its architectural heritage are remarkable traditions and folklore. Cock fair in December, the vijazz festival in July as a perfect combination between music and wine, the local festivities at end of August consisting of la tronada, cercaviles, correfocs and human towers, els castellers.
Last but not least, don’t forget to enjoy the juice from our land. Local wines and cava are known around the world and aside from main cellars, which are also a must visit, it is recommended to get lost and discover other ones, each of them with a particular stamp. Besides la Casa del Molí you will find Caves Xamós, a small cava where you will enjoy a nice guided tour and finish with a tasting of their cava selection. Another interesting cellar is Parés Baltà. The visit includes a tour around the vineyards where you will understand the principles of organic farming and biodinamic farming. Once you are inside you will be guided along all the process to obtain wine and cava from grape fruits. At the end of the visit there is also a tasting experience. By the way, don’t miss their honey! Their bees are the ones mentioned above who live around la Casa del Molí.
Now that you know what you can find in the surroundings of la Casa del Molí, it is time to plan your holidays with family and friends!