Montsec from the Air


We talked with friends about knowing Montsec differently and what better than from the air.
Let’s go! We will do the whole Montsec, from West to East. How? In a hot-air balloon, evidently.
The preparation, the joy, and the departure from Cal Soldat first thing in the morning, after a good coffee, cheers us up.

From where we will rise, how the balloon will inflate, how long it will take, what we will have to do… a series of questions that we all ask ourselves the first time of this experience.

We arrive to the starting point. Miguel, from Globos Kon-Tiki, an expert in this kind of navigation, is waiting for us. And the adventure begins!


The balloon is discharged, this is gibberish for inexperienced people like us: tarpaulins, ropes, towropes, carabiners, but everything is in place and it gradually begins to take shape.

The hot-air balloon is rising now and… now what? Run, run up to the basket, for the moment it is captive, but only for a moment. And we started to climb, the movement is noticeable, but the ground is further and further away.

We have learned that on a balloon you can never say that you are already up, there is no above, there are metres from the ground and it depends on the variables of the weather that it be lifted more or less.

Miguel walks us over the entrance of the Montrebei gorge; the sensations are different —now, during the activities, everything is sensations—, but these are sensations indeed. The Pyrenees, the river, the north face of the Montsec, spaces that cannot be seen from the ground, even if you go there expressly and, even so, they are not fully appreciated as from a hot-air balloon. Cars look very small. Dead silence.

We set course for the gorge. Very quiet weather allows you to get inside it and hover it from north to south. We went to the other side, the plain of Noguera. You can see the stairs of the wall of Aragon. Enjoying this spectacle of nature is so impressive that you wish you would never go down.

Luckily, there is still a long way to go. We turn left, go up 2,000 metres, and start to hover the Montsec. On the left, the Pyrenees; further to the front, Wall, lake Cellers, the San Antonio reservoir; on the right, Noguera, Segrie, the Santa Ana and Camarasa reservoirs, Lleida.
Montserrat. We cross the Terradets gorge. It looks small from above.

The world is at your feet. Dead silence. Not even the birds are heard. An unimaginable mental feeling. You are not shut, or tied; you are hung in the air and a gentle breeze returns you to this world.

We go to the Montsec in Rubies, the Ariet valley, Santa Maria Meià, Vilanova Meià, you can see the Sió river, Urgell, and Segarra. What’s happening? The ground is getting closer. Oh! How will we stop? We are landing… Done… Magnificient.

When we returned to Cal Soldat we had so many things to tell that everybody talked and talked. Some memorable experiences!

The Horse Soldier, we can prepare activities like this one and others to suit your needs.

The secrets of Mur


When our guests arrive to Cal Soldat, once they are settled, they visit the compound: the library, the wine celler, the oven… they watch our story video in the meeting room, and then they ask: How did you get here?

Well, Rosa was going to conquer Mur’s castle and then two fairies met and then… you’ll have to come to know the full story. But today we bring you our invitation to visit the complex of Mur, formed by the castle and St. Mary’s collegiate church (colegiata de Santa María).

The castle, dating from 989, amazingly looks like a boat, sailing the seas of fog in winter. Its homage tower, a key point for the Al-Andalus border castles, is a splendid spot to sight the enormous horizon.

We are in the 11st century. Count Ramón IV de Pallas Jussà, master of the castle, and his wife Valença, daughter of Arnau Mir de Tost, promote the construction of the collegiate church, dedicated to Saint Mary. In 1069 it was consecrated by Guillem Arnau, bishop of Urgel.

So this is a place where spiritual and civil power came together. The way these people lived, the men, the women’s influence… all the secrets of the history, known by a few, today are discovered.


– Arnau Mir de Tos – He was a medieval knight, a warlord, a forgotten man these days who conquered the Muslim territories from the lands of the Pyrenees to beyond Lleida and Zaragoza. At Mur, along with Ramón IV, they put together the strategies for the battles.

– Mur Collegiate Church – Eight centuries later, it played a main role in the salvation of the Catalan Romanesque art.

What happened? First of all, note that the best collection of Romanesque art is at the MNAC museum of Barcelona.

This story began in 1919, with the first detachments of the Romanesque paintings in Mur -using the strappo technique-, which end up being auctioned in 1921 at the Savoy Hotel in New York.

Today, the paintings are held at the Fine Arts Museum of Boston. Now at the Collegiate you can appreciate an exact reproduction of these master pieces.

We must say that ‘thanks’ to these turbulent facts, the rest of the Catalan Romanesque paintings were saved.

The great historical novel ‘Strappo’, by Martí Gironell, walks us through these events.

Did you know that Picasso was inspired by Romanesque? He was attracted by the mysterious look of the figures, the representation of the sky, the hell, the death, the beyond.

– Did you know that the first documents written in Catalan language were found in Mur Castle? The first document is dated from 1035, is the oath of allegiance of Radul Oriol to Count of Pallars Jussà, Ramón IV.

We recommend you to visit the castle and the collegiate church, they are holding even more secrets for you.

All the visit is guided and includes more detailed explanations of what it has been presented in this article.

Castle and Collegiate Church, there they are, proud, attentive and yet lonely.

Get ready for a rest to enjoy the culture and the history.

At CALSOLDAT it will be a pleasure to welcome you.

Cal Soldat Hike – Mont Rebei


It’s 8 am and at the square, the porches and the restaurant there is a feeling, smiles, energy and coffee scent.

Adults, young people and kids are checking: bags, backpacks, maps…

The day before, they watched a video report about the canyon, explaining the background, precautions to keep in mind, gear to take, the sketch of the place…

Are we ready?

What a good feeling to go out for hike with family and friends!

The Mont-Rebei canyon or congost is an unknown territory, a nature’s master piece, where the river Noguera – Ribagorzana has made its way through Montsec Mountains for centuries, shaping a 500 meters deep canyon, which also works as a border between Catalonia and Aragón.

40 minutes in the car and we’ve arrived to LA MASIETA, a parking, information center and agrostore. Note that yesterday, during the preparation party, we talked you about the work of the Foundation LA PEDRERA in this natural protected space.


We get going, watching the startling, steep and spectacular landscapes.

What a feeling! We cross a suspension bridge and start entering the tiny path carved out of the rock, in the middle of the wall.

The atmosphere and the scenery overwhelm you, you can feel your breathing and your heart, all mixed with the murmur of the water and the whispers of the air. It’s such an astonishing place that you can feel the encountering with mother Gaia.

In the resting spots you can take some photos to bring the memories of this journey home.


And we arrive to the point were the canyon opens. Spectacular! So far, we are in the Catalan wall. Two choices:

1. Rest, talk, cool off and return calmly admiring the landscape from the other side.

2. Shall we keep hiking towards Aragón?

Remember that, as we told you, in 2013 a second suspension bridge was built so we can cross to the Aragón side and go up and down the wall through wooden stairs, to Montfalcó.

We keep going… After a little break, we get to the second bridge, we are prepared to rise through the stairs, where we’ll probably see the golden eagle, the bearded vulture and other birds living in these walls.


We arrive to Montfalcó and, at Casa Batlle shelter, after restoring the energies, we visit the Romanesque chapel of Santa Quiteria and San Bonifacio. What a sight! We are in the ridge of the mountain, with the river deep at the bottom, on the right we see the water valley of Canellas reservoir, and in front of us, in the Catalan side, the Pertusa Virgin chapel is waiting for us to come by on another hike.

Back to Montfalcó, we notice the silence of the rocks, but the stones of the ruins are talking to us.

Return from Montfalco.

– Returning by following the same path, but having in mind that the landscape we’ll see now is completely different from the one we saw earlier.

– Returning on a catamaran through the canyon.

– Using a taxi (no joke, there is a taxi service from the shelter to La Masieta).

Afterwards, when we are telling the stories of the day with a relaxing cup of tea or coffee, we’ll talk you about new hikes and trips like The Chinese wall of Finestres, a geology’s delight.

About Montclus, a town open by an earthquake. About Altimiris, a settlement of the fifth century with a 400m climb that reminds the Machupichu.

Here at CAL SOLDAT you have your home. We’ll help you organising these and other trips

for you and your family and friends, enjoying an unknown territory to which you’ll certainly come back.