This week, we speak with: Marc de las Heras
He considers himself lucky to be able to walk along Catalunya, discovering its landscapes, its culture and its people. A passionate about the landscape, lover of caves and good gastronomy. Director and presenter of the Catalan television program GR, that has become a referent for the ones of us who want to better known Catalunya, going... View Article
He considers himself lucky to be able to walk along Catalunya, discovering its landscapes, its culture and its people. A passionate about the landscape, lover of caves and good gastronomy. Director and presenter of the Catalan television program GR, that has become a referent for the ones of us who want to better known Catalunya, going through all possible routes and path. This week, we speak with: Marc de las Heras.
Introductions are needless. In just five seasons, the TV program GR with Marc leading it as a director and presenter, has became one of the essential programs in the television grid. Several reruns of its seasons has been scheduled in different channels of the Catalan television, being all of them a success. Furthermore, its loyal viewers keep enjoying program after program, looking for new hideouts to discover. He has plenty of ideas and projects for the future of the program, and a great motivation to continue with it. Will we discover new routes and meet people from all over the Catalan countries http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pa%C3%AFsos_Catalans in the future of the program? “I wish! The whole territory has plenty of possibilities. And people ask for it. Just thinking that I can keep on doing this job, I feel already motivated”
For those of you who haven’t see it yet, you can brows the official website of the program tv3.cat/gr where you will find all the tours done so far. What makes this TV program different from any other guidebook is that their recommendations are not closed itineraries. Once they have introduced the area and the surroundings, they invite and encourage you to discover on your own the best places and hidden spots. And it’s right here where we can glimpse the real personality of the team that makes the program. “There are so many things to say and to show on-route … We talk about the area and what can be found, we always recommend to visit a tourist information office, to speak with the locals, to merge with the surroundings. I love to discover, to get lost, to get into caves.”
“I don’t like being a tourist, I like being a traveller”
And it is right now, in this exact moment of our conversation, when we start talking about routes and landscapes, when we realize about the true passion that he feels for his jobs. “There are so many places in Catalunya, we are so lucky to live here! It’s so exotic that you won’t get bored of it. You can film on the snow, the desert, the beach, … You can’t get bored!”. His predisposition has changed since the begining of the interview. Even his tone of voice is different. He talks about landscapes, mountains, valleys, … he jumps from north to south and back north. We travel from the Parc Natural dels Ports with the massís dels Tres Reis as its main mountain, to the Alta Garrotxa. We talk about vies verdes (former railways reconverted into paths where to walk or cycle), about the Terra Alta and la Garrotxa. He recommends us so many routes and explains them all so fervently and compellingly, that we end up willing to walk the country long and wide. We can not help but asking for his favourite part of Catalunya. He doesn’t hesitate: “The place that overwhelmed me the most is the “Avencs de la Febró” (the chasms of La Febró)”, in the Serra de la Mussara. “When I was a kid I wanted to be Indiana Jones”, he says. And maybe that is why this is his favourite spot in Catalunya. Full of caves, that were used as a hiding place for smugglers and bandits; history, it is said that the General Prim hide there for a while; and legends in which people disappear and dimensional travels, among others.
He confesses himself a food lover, and doesn’t hesitate to considerate gastronomy as one of the best traditions of the Catalan culture. “What I like the most about Catalunya, is that we are capable to convert any meal into a celebration. Any big celebration is always related with gastronomy. A like that a lot and I think this defines us as a country.” We are curious to know which is his favourite dish, and we finally decide to ask. “I love “calçotades”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cal%C3%A7otada and “caragolades”(cookede snails). I love “cargols a la llauna” (typical dish from the Catalan cuisine, where snails are cooked in a pan)”. He speaks wonders of the cooks working in shelters and mountain restaurants. “The best day was when we go up the “Mola” (Parc Natural de Sant Llorenç del Munt i l’Obac) and we ate “botifarra amb mongetes amb un porro de vi (another traditional dish of the Catalan gastronomy consisting in Catalan sausage with white beans and a traditional glass pitcher full of wine”. We would also climb the highest peak if such a meal was waiting for us up there. “Filming the GR we have been in secluded places, where you have to eat whatever they have. There are plenty of traditional dishes that I didn’t ate before and that I have started to appreciate: “cap i pota” (a stew that transforms parts of veal’s food and head into a gelatinous rich plate), “peus de porc” (pig’s trotters),…”.
We have seen him working as a sheperd, farmer, butcher, cook, but which projects do you have, beside the GR? “I would like to write a book” – A route guide, we guess? “I would like to write a route guide, yes. But what I would really like to, is write a novel”. If you write it with the same passion you show when talking about Catalunya, it will be a success.
Do you want to know more? Keep an eye on our next articles if you want to know which of the places that Marc has recommended us, have we visited. On Thursday a new section will come up on the web where we will explain the history and legend that surrounds the name of the towns in Catalunya. And every Friday we will introduce a popular Catalan idiom, and we will try to translate and explain it for those of you who are interested in our culture. This week we will start with a gastronomy related sentence. Are you going to miss it?