Your hosts

Vermieter You have by now read about so many references to “we“ or “I“ that it seems only fair to introduce you to who is actually behind Cal Viola, Cal Batistet-Ferrer or Cal Alemany. “We“ are Georg and Montserrat Daemisch-Falgueras, married since 1972 and inveterate fans of Torroja for even longer. Georg is an electrical engineer and runs a small business specialized in the care and assessment of power transporter (which makes him some kind of “transformer doctor”, as I always like to call him). I, Montserrat, own a translating agency (ATÜ Regensburg). We go to Torroja about three times every year to spend several weeks there at a time, but not too many – because we love living in beautiful Regensburg and because here is where we have our friends and ”last but not least“ our horses. Whenever we are in Torroja, we love to take our guests along “on adventures“ while more or less pursuing our daily activities, which, to outsiders, already seem quite adventurous in themselves. We love hiking and discovering new caves, hermits or “Graus“ (Grau = ascending canyon leading to a high plateau) in the Montsant Range; we love visiting far-away villages, picnicking on riverbanks and mounds, and most of all we love riding the “underused” and therefore often too ”spunky“ horses of our friends (they are corralled in a walled garden down by the river). Our dream would be to have several reliable horses on hand for our braver guests, because experiencing the Priorate on horseback is simply a dream, but right now we are still looking for a satisfactory solution for the periods where neither we nor horseback-riding guests are on location. Hence, we are still waiting for some divine inspiration on how to solve this dilemma: although there are good horses on the market as a result of the global economic crisis,  the problem is not to purchase them but to keep them maintained and -most importantly- entertained, and to ensure their correct riding, even though we already have an idyllic riding arena. Guests with bicycles visit us very often, and they are always very happy with the empty winding roads (excellent for racing bikes) and the countless farm roads (great for mountain bikes). We do not rent out bikes either, because the terrain is very demanding and who wants to miss their ”broken-in“ bike? In August, we are naturally more inclined to lounging in the pool, taking long siestas, trying out new restaurants or going horseback riding in the evening hours. By contrast, spring, autumn or winter are perfect for hiking and exploring new sites and areas. We have known the Priorate for so long that we have come to the following “realization“: the Priorate is where we go on ”vertical vacations“, i.e. we continue immersing ourselves ever deeper into the landscape and its people (thus practising a form of ”slow tourism“ akin to ”slow food“). We know nearly every single tree and rock, and even the majority of Torroja’s and the area’s residents are familiar with us. We love sharing our roots and knowledge of the land with other people because we want our guests to love and appreciate the area just as much as we do without having to spend years of research. Anyone travelling to the Priorate should not plan on “ticking off“ the entire area between Barcelona and the Ebro Delta  in a single week or going to the beach every day. This would not do the Priorate justice, and it would mean missing many of its treasures. Not to mention the invaluable inner peace to be found there! It is truly amazing how much there is to discover, even to people who thought they had seen it all. Even the ancient village roads contain a wealth of surprises: some unexpected repairs, or the statue of its patron Saint Michael restored to a church’s façade, or a new artist who moved into the village, or an American who broke off all her ties to the land of endless possibilities who bought a house in the village which she is currently renovating (I just love it when old houses are resurrected back to life) and wants to live in the village from now on (without speaking a word of Spanish) – may their adventures be successful, and of course we help wherever we can. On the issue of artists: believe it or not, but there are actually some female artists who make enamelled necklaces and earrings, others do sculptures, and others again who make jewellery out of flint stones from the river. The modest but no less interesting shop of one of these female artists (Montserrat Aixalá) is diagonally opposite Cal Alemany. Prices start as low as 5 Euros! And anyway, there is definitely no lack of art if you, like we, are inclined to consider an olive pesto, salami, a paté, wild honey from the area, ceramics etc. etc. works of art. And those keen on getting more out of Torroja, e.g. for making a hearty lasagna on a cold German winter evening, should run and collect wild thyme and rosemary from the village’s outskirts (or even from the sacred Montsant mountain, way up on the high plateau, where every spice and herb has a particularly flavourful taste). I am fond of saying that wine as well as oil or herbs and spices have the power to transmit moods when you put them on your tongue, allowing your taste buds to “read” the stories they have to tell. In summary, this kind of “intimate tourism“ is like a relationship of many years – there is always something new to discover! And that „something new“ is usually something positive!