The view to Canigó

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.

Muntanyes de Canigó
fresques son i regalades
sobre tot ara a l’estiu
que les aigues son gelades
que les aigues son gelades


El Cant Dels Ocells

I know I have let things go rather on the language front – if you’ve been reading here then you’ll understand why.
But I made this little video in the hermita of Sant Nicolau near Ordis.
It is a beautiful Catalan traditional song, made very famous by Pau Casals playing it on the cello.
The words are:-

Al veure despuntar
El Major lluminar
En la nit més joiosa
Els ocellets cantant
A festejar-lo van
Amb sa veu melinosa

For me it is a hymn to the birds and I sang it as a thank you to all the birds of Sant Nicolau who gladdened my days and nights there.
And also as a thank you to Pep for all the love laughter and music he has brought into my life.

Life is But a Dream

I’ve had a blog block.
And some lovely friends here to stay, with lots of chatting and adventures but less time for hovering over the computer.

But I’ve got a fresh approach now to writing here – not quite the ‘I’m doing this for me so who cares if anyone comments or not’ but more of a ‘there are people out there who enjoy reading it but have their own reasons for not writing anything in the comments section’
So, if at least I can relax and stop worrying that I am getting it wrong, perhaps I can find my way back to writing about what I find interesting in my life here.

However, now it is late and I want to sleep so here is a photo of Granollers where there was no Thursday market due to the General Strike

 Some shops were open and others were closed. It was sunny and there was a large and peaceful demonstration which we watched for a while before taking all the dogs out into the countryside. We all had a lovely day walking in the woods and eating in the little restaurant at Santa Fe

Back home everyone helped me prepare for my singing group tomorrow by singing Row Row Row Your Boat in four parts.  We were wonderful.

 And if life is really just a dream, let’s make it a beautiful one!