Bob, Josep and friend in Asnurri.
One of my resolutions was to blog more often and to return to writing some of the stories that accompany the photos. In reviewing my 2006 photos and blog entries, it occurred to me that my blog has become more photoblog than a combination of the two. Perhaps that is because my life this past year has included more visual images than completed stories. It has been said that a picture is worth a 1000 words--which reminds me that David Chinn has redone and re-started his blog, A Picture's Worth, which is definitely worth taking a look at. The new version includes not only submitted photos but a paragraph or two of back story for the photo. This year I too hope to take the time to add some back story to my photos.
Back to Asnurri. In September 2006 we spent 10 days with friends who live 5K from the Pyrenees. Each of those 10 days we were taken on a personal tour to visit 13 of the thousand-year-old villages that literally hang off the steep inclines of the mountains. These villages have tongue-tangling Catalonian names like Ars, Arséguel, Bescarán, Ansobél, Castelbó, Montferrér, Puigcerdá and my favorite, Asnurri, in today's photos.
Our friends Josep and Angeles know most of the people in these small villages. He, being a gastroenterological surgeon has, over the past 20 or so years, operated on many of them. Because of their friendship with a family from Asnurri we were given a tour of their dairy and some information about the village. We met a neighbor with two live rabbits in her hands who introduced them by holding them high and saying in Spanish, for our benefit as they speak primarily Catalan in this area, "para cena (for dinner)." Much of the food consumed in this area is grown either on their own farms or purchased fresh in the twice-weekly markets in La Seu D'Urgell. After a brief conversation we climbed the steep, narrow streets viewing a new breath-taking scene with every turn of a corner or gain of altitude.
Looking back on where we'd been
We climbed and circled our way through the small village, constantly amazed at the beauty. I wondered how anyone could get any work done in the midst of so much to see. I was so preoccupied with the village itself that I took almost no photos of the exquisite views from so high in the mountains.
Even 1000 years ago drainage was a priority.
After viewing the village and taking countless photos we were taken to the dairy. The feeding is all done manually but the milking is computerized and totally controlled for each individual cow. The photo below is of the milking carousel. As each cow steps onto it, her ear chip is read by the computer, her udder is washed with sterile solutions then the attendant hooks her to the milking machine. By the time she completes the round, all her milk has been collected, measured and logged into her milking history.
Milking carousel in Asnurri Dairy
(as always, for a larger image just click on the photo)