Europe

Discovering French Cerdanya by car from Barcelona

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While the day before we discovered the Cerdanya on the yellow train, that day we dedicated to know better the area by car. As I mentioned in the previous entry, it is difficult to access some points by public transport, so it is necessary to use the car.

The first point we visited was the Great solar oven of Oidello. And do not think that from there come the baguettes They are sold throughout France, but it is a solar energy research center based around a huge furnace formed by endless mirrors that concentrate the sun's rays at a very small point. There we made a playful and pedagogical visit of the properties of sunlight and the research work that is carried out.

The furnace was built in that enclave for the great purity of the sky and for being an area that enjoys more than 2750 hours of sunshine per year. It was put into operation in 1969 and is used primarily to investigate the development of solar power plants, as well as to test aeronautical and aerospace materials, among other uses.


The exhibition is very good and includes a video that explains the history of the oven. However, what blew our mind was the live and live demonstration of how it works. To do this, our guide led us to a replica on a much smaller scale. Then, he oriented two large mirrors in the proper way, took out a wooden stick, placed it where the sunlight was concentrated and set the wood on fire in less than a second (!). It is not surprising that the large oven is able to melt a steel plate about ten centimeters thick by opening a hole in the middle. And after the interesting visit to the oven, we headed to the fortified population of Mont-Louis, about fifteen minutes by car.

Like Vilafranca de Conflent, Mont-Louis is also a fortified city that was part of the "Vaubanes" built by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban. King Louis XIV wanted to secure the territories he just got in the Pyrenees and ordered to build strengths at strategic points in order to secure that and other key territories of France.

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