We are now at Sant Nicolau. Bonnie is happy and well.
Our morning walk is down the lane which leads winds through the woods and emerges at what must be one of my favourite views. Across the fields lie the mountains. On the left I see the dark shape of Mare del Deu del Mont which is actually not far from here
Beside it to the right, or so it appears, is Canigó now covered in snow
This beautiful mountain is in the Pyranees, in the region of Rossello´ in France. But ask any Catalan and they will tell you it is in Catalunya Nord, that part of the country which was ceded to France by Spain by the Treaty of the Pyranees in 1659
Canigó is deeply symbolic for Catalan people. There is a famous poem about its legends by Jacint Verdaguer. And a beautiful song called Muntanyes del Canigó. I am trying to learn it while I am here and practise singing every day on our early walk as well as in the little church.
I am not always moved by mountains, I am more of a sea person. But I love this view. A few years ago we went to Prades and climbed Canigó. Just short of the top there was thick mist so we turned back but it is something we will do again sometime soon.
Every year at the feast of Sant Joan, close to the summer solstice, a group of young people from Perpignon take a flame which is kept lit all year round and climb with it to the top of Canigo´. There a large bonfire is lit and more torches are taken from this mother flame and carried far and wide across Catalunya to light the Sant Joan fires. Crowds of people climb the mountain to be part of this ancient ritual. After the descent the torches are taken away by foot, on bicycle and in cars. they say that over 3000 bonfires are lit from the one at the top of Canigo´.
The flame is symbolic of the life and vitality of the Catalan culture. The mountain, although it lies outside the borders of the present Catalunya, exists outside the world of treaties and countries and frontiers. It is very powerful and as I look at it each morning it is clearly part of this landscape
Here is Marina Rossell singing Muntanyes de Canigó. I searched through several versions and this is the one that I like best. It is a beautiful song but so often these culturally significant songs are sung too sentimentally as I know from a similar tradition in Scotland.
This one is lovely and listen to how she rolls her rrrrr’s! I need to practise that more.