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LIVE from the Camino A westerly trend

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
A few days ago I had a dip in the warm calm waters of the deserted beach at Banyuls. A couple of hours pleasant coastal stroll took me to Cap Cerbère, then up, past a wartime frontier post ("caseta dels Alemanys (Gestapo)", according to maps.me) complete with film crew and machine gun. At the Col de Belitres, a little higher, on the French side is a plaque honouring the International Brigades and the "Memorial Democràtic", a slightly weathered commemoration of the nearly half a million people who crowded through this border in early 1939, fleeing the fascists. Among them was the poet Antonio Machado and his mother, whose joint grave I had visited in Collioure the previous week. He died less than a month after crossing the border and she followed her son three days later.

Making my first camino footsteps in Girona province, the path takes you past a franquiste monolith down to bustling Port Bou, partly along a trail the town hall has put up following the last hours of Walter Benjamin, who committed suicide here in 1940, rather than face deportation to a nazi concentration camp.

I stayed the night at the Pensión Llançà, recommended by @peregrina2000 and @Sitkapilgrim which was fine. Although the marked trail from Llançà misses the spectacular ruins of the Abbey of San Pere de Rodes (see pic), I think it would be daft not to visit, both for the imposing site itself, and especially for the panorama of the coast from it and from its castle 15 minutes further up the hill.

The original plan had been to arrive in Santiago at the end of November, celebrating the 10th anniversary of my first compostela by picking up my 10th one (I missed out 2011, not knowing at the time how deep the addiction was going to become). In this peculiar year that looks increasingly unlikely (Ourense went back into confinement only today, and the idea of taking the Camino Mendocino round Madrid province looks improbable too). Also I may be summonsed home for my replacement knee op, delayed from earlier this year.

So I have decided that this year's goal is Montserrat. If I can make it to the sacred mountain I'll be happy: anything beyond that will be a bonus. Just being here at all is already pretty good.

IMG_20201006_124447.jpg
 

Felice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago Sept 2014
You bring back happy memories of that walk!
I walked in May 2016 and the flowers were superb. Coming out of La Vall de Santa Creu, I was pleased to find both the deep blue and brick red forms of Anagallis arvensis - the scarlet pimpernel - growing within less than a meter of each other. Then there is quite a change in vegetation as you go over the summit ridge.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Del Estrecho, Ruta Fray Leopoldo,
Vía Serrana, Camino Francés
At the Col de Belitres, a little higher, on the French side is a plaque honouring the International Brigades and the "Memorial Democràtic", a slightly weathered commemoration of the nearly half a million people who crowded through this border in early 1939, fleeing the fascists. Among them was the poet Antonio Machado and his mother, whose joint grave I had visited in Collioure the previous week. He died less than a month after crossing the border and she followed her son three days later.

Making my first camino footsteps in Girona province, the path takes you past a franquiste monolith down to bustling Port Bou, partly along a trail the town hall has put up following the last hours of Walter Benjamin, who committed suicide here in 1940, rather than face deportation to a nazi concentration camp.
Thanks for the reference to this history, Alan. It reminded me that I read just this week that Juan Romero, the last of the thousands of Spaniards who were sent to the concentration camp at Mauthausen, died at age 101.
Many of these Spaniards had crossed over the Pyrenees into France, thinking they would be safe in the refugee camps there. Pilgrims starting the Mozarabe in Almeria can visit a thought-provoking memorial near the Cable Ingles to the deported Andalusians.
 

Felice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago Sept 2014
If you are going to Montserrat, you might pass through Figueres. The large Gothic church there was heavily bombed during the civil war by the nationalists, and then rebuilt afterwards using the slave labour of the prisoners of war. I decided against going inside once I had seen the plaque.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Just being here at all is already pretty good.
I can only imagine.
As one of the many of us who are stuck in place, I very much look forward to your posts— they're always so evocative. This is a part of Spain I know almost nothing about, so I also look forward to learning something. (I already did with the Benjamin reference.)

Heartfelt buen camino, peregrino. I hope you make it to Santiago after all.
 

filly

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, via de la Plata, Sanabres, camino de Levante, Norte, Primitivo, Ingles, Santiago to Muxia and Fisterra, part chemin in France, der Oekumenische Pilgerweg/via Regia, via Tolosana, Aragones, 2017 April/May Lisbon to SdC
Talking of concentration camps.... my father walked from Antwerp into Spain in about 1940, having been released from Breedonk Camp. Having crossed the Pyrenees he was again imprisoned in Miranda. Can anyone tell me whether that would be the Miranda on the Camino Frances? Any elucidation would be appreciated. He subsequently made it to Lisbon and onwards to Liverpool/London and worked with the Belgian Government in Exile (in London).
 

futurefjp

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
The Way is swiftly becoming my reason for existence.
A few days ago I had a dip in the warm calm waters of the deserted beach at Banyuls. A couple of hours pleasant coastal stroll took me to Cap Cerbère, then up, past a wartime frontier post ("caseta dels Alemanys (Gestapo)", according to maps.me) complete with film crew and machine gun. At the Col de Belitres, a little higher, on the French side is a plaque honouring the International Brigades and the "Memorial Democràtic", a slightly weathered commemoration of the nearly half a million people who crowded through this border in early 1939, fleeing the fascists. Among them was the poet Antonio Machado and his mother, whose joint grave I had visited in Collioure the previous week. He died less than a month after crossing the border and she followed her son three days later.

Making my first camino footsteps in Girona province, the path takes you past a franquiste monolith down to bustling Port Bou, partly along a trail the town hall has put up following the last hours of Walter Benjamin, who committed suicide here in 1940, rather than face deportation to a nazi concentration camp.

I stayed the night at the Pensión Llançà, recommended by @peregrina2000 and @Sitkapilgrim which was fine. Although the marked trail from Llançà misses the spectacular ruins of the Abbey of San Pere de Rodes (see pic), I think it would be daft not to visit, both for the imposing site itself, and especially for the panorama of the coast from it and from its castle 15 minutes further up the hill.

The original plan had been to arrive in Santiago at the end of November, celebrating the 10th anniversary of my first compostela by picking up my 10th one (I missed out 2011, not knowing at the time how deep the addiction was going to become). In this peculiar year that looks increasingly unlikely (Ourense went back into confinement only today, and the idea of taking the Camino Mendocino round Madrid province looks improbable too). Also I may be summonsed home for my replacement knee op, delayed from earlier this year.

So I have decided that this year's goal is Montserrat. If I can make it to the sacred mountain I'll be happy: anything beyond that will be a bonus. Just being here at all is already pretty good.

View attachment 84619

I have just arrived on French soil. Now enjoying a glass of vin blanc. Heading to Banyuls sur Mer ... Where do I sleep?
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Can anyone tell me whether that would be the Miranda on the Camino Frances? Any elucidation would be appreciated.
It's Miranda de Ebro on the Via de Bayona.
A long detour from the Frances would be to walk backwards on the Vasco from Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Haro. Spend the night in Haro (A fantastic place), then follow the GR 99 route to Miranda de Ebro.

From there it is 4 days on the VdB to Burgos, rejoining the Frances. Altogether, it's two days longer than going straight to Burgos on the Frances, but a very beautiful walk!
 
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filly

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, via de la Plata, Sanabres, camino de Levante, Norte, Primitivo, Ingles, Santiago to Muxia and Fisterra, part chemin in France, der Oekumenische Pilgerweg/via Regia, via Tolosana, Aragones, 2017 April/May Lisbon to SdC
Thank you so much. Greatly appreciated!
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
Shortly before Figueres, Dalí Central, the Camino passes the small town/large village of Vilabertrán.

The trail has been pretty much flat for the last 10 or more km since coming out of the hills near Vilajuiga. At first sight Vilabertrán doesn't look especially exciting: another former agricultural village now acting as a dormitory for workers in Girona and Figueres. It's only when you get inside the colegiata of Santa María that you realise quite how special the complex is. Here is a virtually intact, virtually undamaged Romanesque monastery mostly dating from the 12th century. Gloriously simple unspoiled church, monks' dormitory, cellars, refectory, cloisters, bell tower, chapter house, abbot's palace, prior's vegetable garden, everything. Other than a very modest gothic chapel for the local vicounts (complete with astonishing solid silver 14th century crozier 6 foot tall) nothing has been messed about.

Nothing individually is all that exceptional, but the combination is a series of delights that gives far more famous places a run for their money. Perhaps its relative modesty is what saved it? - several otherwise glorious Romanesque cloisters I'd enjoyed in the previous week had had their best pieces removed to the Bronx, but nobody bothered with what was here.

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Would love to hear your comments on Figueras and Dalí. Did you go to the museum? The church/cloister at Vilabertrán was closed when I went through. :( It looks lovely.

The Cloisters is in Manhattan, about as far north as you can get. It has brought together a lot of pieces from a lot of places. The sense is one of harmony, though it is hard to forget about the fact of what they did to create that.

Did you sleep in Vilabertrán?
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
Would love to hear your comments on Figueras and Dalí. Did you go to the museum? The church/cloister at Vilabertrán was closed when I went through. :( It looks lovely.

The Cloisters is in Manhattan, about as far north as you can get. It has brought together a lot of pieces from a lot of places. The sense is one of harmony, though it is hard to forget about the fact of what they did to create that.

Did you sleep in Vilabertrán?

I loved the train ride to the Cloisters watching the crowds thin out from Midtown to Upper Manhattan.

Once there the view of Hudson River is spectacular.

The Cloisters was my go to for a spiritual uplift.

OP, thanks for sharing your pilgrimage.

Buen camino.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Would love to hear your comments on Figueras and Dalí. Did you go to the museum? The church/cloister at Vilabertrán was closed when I went through. :( It looks lovely.

The Cloisters is in Manhattan, about as far north as you can get. It has brought together a lot of pieces from a lot of places. The sense is one of harmony, though it is hard to forget about the fact of what they did to create that.

Did you sleep in Vilabertrán?

For more re the history now considered controversial of The Cloisters see
 
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Felice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago Sept 2014
Would love to hear your comments on Figueras and Dalí. Did you go to the museum? The church/cloister at Vilabertrán was closed when I went through. :( It looks lovely.
It was closed when I went past too. Really disappointed as I'd done some research and realised it looked good.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Would love to hear your comments on Figueras and Dalí. Did you go to the museum?
Peg and I went to Dalí's museum in Figueras in 2015 and loved it enough to go again with a friend in 2019. In 2019 we had a rental car and so we also drove out to visit Dalí's home. That was a mistake because we hadn't reserved tickets figuring that it was so far away it wouldn't be crowded. We waited around a bit and periodically asked if there was a cancellation (the first opening were a few days away). No luck on cancellations but we were eventually told that we could buy tickets for the grounds. We liked that a lot and it, and the scenery, was worth the drive. We did run into some luck though. At the airport in Boston we chatted with a couple also going to Catalonia and we happened to meet them again in the garden. The woman's leg was hurting and they decided to skip the house tour. Peg and friend got their tickets for free and I took a walk in the area. Dalí kept expanding his house by buying adjoining homes on several levels so the floor plan was unusual but Peg was amazed that otherwise the home was rather conventional. So, two points. Live and learn. Or learn from someone else's experience.
 
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alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
Figueres to Girona is mostly pleasant undulating country walks, mostly off tarmac, often in woods. Like some others here, I stayed in the Fluvià in Bàscara. I also had a very welcome dip in the riu Fluvià - there is a river beach at the edge of town, under the almost interminable bridge you have to cross to get there.

Stupidly, I didn't check the covid etc restrictions on the theatre museum, and it was busy when I arrived, with timed tickets only and a maximum visit allowed (?90 minutes). Of Dalí's works, my favourites are his collaborations with Buñuel, which you don't need to go to Figueres to see, and most of his show-stoppers are in Madrid or New York (or, my favourite, Christ of St John of the Cross, handily in Glasgow, only a couple of hours from where I live). I'd been in better circumstances many years previously, so it was no big disappointment. I probably should have gone in the morning when it would have been quieter, but first light-10am is my favourite time for walking.
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
Figueres to Girona is mostly pleasant undulating country walks, mostly off tarmac, often in woods. Like some others here, I stayed in the Fluvià in Bàscara. I also had a very welcome dip in the riu Fluvià - there is a river beach at the edge of town, under the almost interminable bridge you have to cross to get there.

Stupidly, I didn't check the covid etc restrictions on the theatre museum, and it was busy when I arrived, with timed tickets only and a maximum visit allowed (?90 minutes). Of Dalí's works, my favourites are his collaborations with Buñuel, which you don't need to go to Figueres to see, and most of his show-stoppers are in Madrid or New York (or, my favourite, Christ of St John of the Cross, handily in Glasgow, only a couple of hours from where I live). I'd been in better circumstances many years previously, so it was no big disappointment. I probably should have gone in the morning when it would have been quieter, but first light-10am is my favourite time for walking.


"Un chien andalou" : not a movie for the faint of heart.
I guess you know Buñuel's book The Last sigh?

Sorry for hijacking your thread!

Thank you for your posts.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Of Dalí's works, my favourites are his collaborations with Buñuel, which you don't need to go to Figueres to see, and most of his show-stoppers are in Madrid or New York (or, my favourite, Christ of St John of the Cross, handily in Glasgow, only a couple of hours from where I live).
I know this is off topic but I think every time I've been to Washington DC I've managed to view Dalí's Last Supper at the National Gallery. Last year we got there as they were calling out for everyone to leave. I managed to talk my way in because I only wanted to see the Dalí and I knew where it was, at the end of one wing. I rushed there and they had moved it to the end of the other wing. I did manage to get there but it wasn't a very long viewing.
Dali_-_The_Sacrament_of_the_Last_Supper_-_lowres.jpg
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Bringing back such good memories.

Alan, something that is a little ahead of you now, but maybe worth considering, is whether you want to detour off to see San Pere de Casseres on your way into Vic. It is not as spectacular as San Pere de Rodes, or as some of the French places you have been to on this trip, but I enjoyed it, and especially the setting, a lot.

It’s one of those “so close yet so far” places because of the river. I’ve attached a google maps shot. My blog details how I did it, using the local PR C-40 trail. My wikiloc tracks show the convoluted route, 33 km from L’Esquirol to the parador at Vic. (And it is also pretty clear that I took at least one longer way than needed, going into Tavernoles, but it was a nice walk so I decided to stay on the path).

The added surprise was the neolithic sacrificial altar and the Piedra del Diablo on the way to the monastery, just sitting out there in the middle of nowhere. The path was overgrown when I walked, but with GPS I never got lost. I got a taxi from the parador into town (and stayed at the Seminary hostel), but a splurge in the parador with a short walk into Vic the next day would be much more fun. If you haven’t been there, I predict that Vic’s museum will knock your socks off.

Oh to be walking! Buen camino, Laurie
 

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SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
The Vic museum is a gem. Visited it on a regular holiday.

 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
The Vic museum is a gem. Visited it on a regular holiday.


I was going to add one or two of my favorite pictures from the museum but saw that the website has far more and far better examples!

So I will just add two tidbits about Vic — its Roman temple and unpaved plaza are both well worth seeing and sitting in a nearby café to enjoy a glass of wine from one of the prettiest bottles I’ve ever seen. Beware, it is a very high alcohol content Priorat!

Sorry, I don’t mean to jump ahead of Alan, but did want to make the point about Sant Pere in case he wanted to think about planning a detour. Buen camino, Laurie
 

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alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
I liked Girona very much indeed. A little like a smaller Barcelona, but less frenetic and multinational. The cathedral, with its soaring gothic vault, was amazing, and I loved the multi-coloured buildings making a canyon along the riu Onyar. Best of all, I thought, was the simple romanesque beauty of Sant Pere de Galligants, with its lovely small cloister complete with zoomorphic capitals, including an impressive mermaid and a very fine cat. It was allegedly founded by Charlemagne, although sadly this apparently seems unlikely.

Out in the streets, almost every surface is covered with independentista flags or slogans, or the yellow loop, and ubiquitous posters called for "llibertat presos politics". I noticed that one of the main squares has been renamed "Plaça de l'1 de Octubre 2017". The yellow loop that covers so many surfaces can be confusing as, when the paint fades, it looks just like a fading camino yellow arrow. I resisted the temptation to buy a covid mask with the independent Catalonia flag on it, as I didn't think it would help getting served in bars once (if) I reach Old Castille.

Hoping to detour to Sant Pere de C if the stars (and weather) align.

IMG_20201010_111234.jpg
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
Leaving Girona is much nicer than entering it, as the camino goes through a park and then on a vía verde, so few dreary suburbs or industrial estates. For the first few hours the old railway line follows the Ter river and it was a hot day, so my progress was slowed by stopping for a refreshing swim in the silvery green water. Lots of sedge was in flower and was far from "withered on the lake", and many birds were singing, and absolutely nothing ailed me. Because of slow progress I stopped the first night in Anglès, busy with bank holiday bicyclists. The Ter provided hydroelectric plants which were bombed by the nazis towards the end of 1938, badly damaging some of the nearby villages in the process.

The next day I paused for coffee in Amer, even more independentista than Girona, with a two storey high picture of Puigdemont captioned "no surrender" and other messages in German and English. The villages got smaller and the surrounding hills higher, with even some views of snow-capped Pyrenees in the distance.

The camino officially turns west at San Esteve d'En Bas, but I carried on an hour or so to stay at Olot, as I've got a bad addiction for volcanoes, and Olot is sited in the midst of some good ones. It also used to host a black Madonna that was unearthed by a bull in 872AD, a neat matching of the Marian story with the Europa legend.

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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I did not make that detour, even though it's more populous and so welcoming -- instead I took the Way from Anglès along the reservoir, which was IIRC my only 35+ K stage so far on this current (delayed) Camino.

WP_20190515_15_11_51_Pro.jpg

Slept on the floor at the town hall in Vilanova de Sau, where they are lovely people indeed.
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
After several days of relative flat, the camino leaves the lovely d'en Bas valley to go up a cliff. I got to els Hostalets d'en Bas at around 8.30 and was delighted to find a bar open for breakfast, and surprised to find it full of middle aged men, most of whom were drinking red wine with their tostadas. I didn't join them as there is around 800m of ascent to do, 500m of it in just 2km. Which was hard work, but very lovely as well. Some of the trees were already in their autumn glory, and of the rest, mostly "leaves look pale, dreading the winter's near". Nearing the high ground the reward for the hard work (scrambling in places where it was too steep or slippery to walk) was spectacular views down over the valley, and back towards the snowy Pyrenees, looking very pretty. The higher ground was a mixture of pasture with lazy cows and their musical bells, and "forests ancient as the hills, enfolding sunny spots of greenery". Just lovely. At some point I crossed the provincial border and made my first ever camino footsteps in Barcelona province.

The kind landlady of the hostal I'm staying at l'Esquirol took my temperature on arrival. It showed 32.7, "hmm", she said "¿estas muerto?"

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alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
When @peregrina2000 suggests a detour it's usually worth the extra effort. So it was this year with Sant Pere de Casserres, a largely 11th century Benedictine monastery perched high up on a narrow peninsular over a loop where the Ter River turns into the Sau reservoir. It's not easy to get to (the path is narrow and sometimes steep and overgrown) and it's not near anywhere - ~10km off from Roda de Ter on the camino, and c20km back to it at Vic - but it is serenely lovely, both in its position and its architecture. And of course, arriving at opening time of 10am, I had the place entirely to myself, other than the custodian and an eagle overhead.

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Sounds like the trail is still in need of maintenance, and there was a good stiff ascent also, as I remember. Looks like you had a beautiful day to visit. Did the trail you took take you past the neolitic sacrificial altar and burial site? I never did really figure out how I got there. I’m assuming you didn’t walk all the way from L’Esquirol to Vic via San Pere, so did you by chance splurge and stay in the parador? Or did you just grind it out on that ailing knee of yours?
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
so did you by chance splurge and stay in the parador?
It did make it a much easier walk. Sadly, covid means that the parador buffet breakfast, my main reason for ever staying in one, is not allowed. But any sit down breakfast in Catalunya at the moment is a treat, even any coffee (hotel residents are still allowed meals at the moment).

The road down to Vic from Sant Pere de Casserres was not exciting, but once down in the fertile plain it was fun to see the farmers putting the land to bed for winter, with one or two late harvests - a field of maize, and some sunflowers - still being gathered in.

Vic must be a fun town usually, but Saturday night's paseo, with all the bars and restaurants closed, was a very subdued affair.

The episcopal museum is such a treat, with the soaring romanesque Tower of the cathedral to guide you there. Relatively small, so you have a chance to look at the masterpieces thoroughly, rather than rushing past and getting what I call "museum fatigue" when you see so much stuff you can't really absorb it.

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alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
The first sight of Montserrat's outline from Manresa is both beautiful and a bit daunting. Somehow you've got to get up those unmistakable jagged edges. At least the ascent is significantly less steep coming from the south than the cliff-like path up from the Barcelona side.

There are many well marked trails, and I decided to leave the official Santiago one to go up the camí de les Ermites Romàniques. It starts with the pretty, small 12th century one of Sant Jaume de Marganell, passes near Sant Cristòfol de Castellbell and carries on (sometimes quite steeply - 200m in a km) up the GR4 to the larger bulk of lovely Santa Cecilia, followed by gorgeous views looking down onto the tower of Sant Benet (which the official trail passes) and enjoying hearing its bells.

Vespers this evening in the basilica was memorable. The sombre, mostly baritone or lower voices of the monks entoned the often repeated words, but towards the end 50 of the young choristers appeared, all wearing pale blue masks and their curious black and white robes, and did a soaring adaptation of Ferrer's version of the Ave Maria. Astonishingly moving, with the black Madonna looking down on the 20 of us in the congregation. And tomorrow morning I may get it at Lauds again, followed by my favourite Caravaggio.

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
It sounds like you are navigating covid closures pretty well. Are you going to try to circumvent Navarra? Maybe walk to Huesca and then cut over to Logroño, or just take the Logroño branch of the Catalán? Luckily you have time to think about this.

When you have time, I’d love to hear your stages between Vic and Manresa, and also your impressions of the church in L’Estany, if you went in. Oh, and I’m not done — I wonder whether you went into the monastery complex after Navarcles (if it was in fact open). Tall order, I know, no rush!

You are really seizing the day, Alan. Sending lots of good wishes, Laurie
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I'm sitting here slack-jawed, with my eyes out on stalks. The vespers and lauds and Caravaggio on top of all that? Just wonderful.

Continued buen camino, Alan!
Here's hoping you can thread the needle and evade any covid restrictions in Navarre and elsewhere.
 

filly

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, via de la Plata, Sanabres, camino de Levante, Norte, Primitivo, Ingles, Santiago to Muxia and Fisterra, part chemin in France, der Oekumenische Pilgerweg/via Regia, via Tolosana, Aragones, 2017 April/May Lisbon to SdC
It did make it a much easier walk. Sadly, covid means that the parador buffet breakfast, my main reason for ever staying in one, is not allowed. But any sit down breakfast in Catalunya at the moment is a treat, even any coffee (hotel residents are still allowed meals at the moment).

The road down to Vic from Sant Pere de Casserres was not exciting, but once down in the fertile plain it was fun to see the farmers putting the land to bed for winter, with one or two late harvests - a field of maize, and some sunflowers - still being gathered in.

Vic must be a fun town usually, but Saturday night's paseo, with all the bars and restaurants closed, was a very subdued affair.

The episcopal museum is such a treat, with the soaring romanesque Tower of the cathedral to guide you there. Relatively small, so you have a chance to look at the masterpieces thoroughly, rather than rushing past and getting what I call "museum fatigue" when you see so much stuff you can't really absorb it.

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View attachment 85476
It did make it a much easier walk. Sadly, covid means that the parador buffet breakfast, my main reason for ever staying in one, is not allowed. But any sit down breakfast in Catalunya at the moment is a treat, even any coffee (hotel residents are still allowed meals at the moment).

The road down to Vic from Sant Pere de Casserres was not exciting, but once down in the fertile plain it was fun to see the farmers putting the land to bed for winter, with one or two late harvests - a field of maize, and some sunflowers - still being gathered in.

Vic must be a fun town usually, but Saturday night's paseo, with all the bars and restaurants closed, was a very subdued affair.

The episcopal museum is such a treat, with the soaring romanesque Tower of the cathedral to guide you there. Relatively small, so you have a chance to look at the masterpieces thoroughly, rather than rushing past and getting what I call "museum fatigue" when you see so much stuff you can't really absorb it.

View attachment 85475

View attachment 85476


Surprised about the Parador ‘buffet breakfast’. I assumed that such a governmental tourist enterprise would have standardised their Covid routine.

All I can say is that there was a stupendous buffet at the Santo Domingo de la Calzada parador.

Individual tongs, bottled and ‘jarred’ niceties and brilliant waitress service. Made the place a bargain!! (well relative..)
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
there was a stupendous buffet at the Santo Domingo de la Calzada parador.

Individual tongs, bottled and ‘jarred’ niceties

I am jealous. At Vic-Sau they served a perfectly decent breakfast - one piece each of the buffet's greatest hits, as it were - but definitely not the same as the proper buffet. To be fair I think there were only 7 of us staying, so putting on the works would have meant some shocking waste.

and lauds and Caravaggio on top of all that?
Lauds yes, starting in the dark with 24 monks outnumbering the congregation by 6-1, and noticing for the first time the magnificent new organ they've installed since my last visit.

But no Caravaggio, as the wonderful museum is a covid casualty, closed for the foreseeable, as is the monastery albergue. Very sad, but further confirmation that getting home now is probably my best plan, especially since Zaragoza, where I should have been some time next week, apparently goes into lock-down today, and my friend in Barcelona, where I'm staying until my flight out on Friday, says she's heard rumours of a curfew starting by the weekend.
 
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pelerine

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte 10, Primitivo 13, Plata 14+15, Salvador 16, Torres 17, Portugues 18, Mozarabe 19
Have just finished reading the lot! Most enjoyable although I never walked in those parts.

Have a safe trip home!
 

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