Friday, February 7, 2014

On The Road: Banyoles

A walk around a pretty lake – all level -- what could be nicer?  The lake at Banyoles has always been there, but it’s taken me over a year and a half to get to it and it’s only about 40 minutes away.  Not that I didn’t want to go.  I’d always intended to…

I’ve seen lots of photos and they’ve always been inspiring.  The lake is pretty when the sun shines and it’s pretty when it's foggy.  The organizer of the walk said that if it rained, the walk would be cancelled, and that was also fine with me.

This was a walk of English-speaking people from a group based in Girona that usually meets once a week for coffee and a chat in a café near the Girona train station.  I’ve been to a few of their meetings, but small talk is not my forte.  A walk seemed a much better idea.


There are 9.13 kilometers of shoreline and they are dotted with 20 pesqueres (little fishermen huts).  These are, in fact, what make the images of the lake so uniquely picturesque.  These little huts were first built in the mid-19th century with the last one being constructed in 1931.  After that, new construction was banned.


Besides the pretty lake with its picturesque pesqueres, on a clear winter day you can enjoy a backdrop of snow-covered Pyrenees and Mount Canigó.  Once in Catalunya and now in France, this 2784-meter peak has historical significance for the Catalans and is the subject of many legends, poems, and songs.  It is also the source of most of the Catalan summer solstice bonfires.  Every 23 June, on the Eve of Sant Joan (Saint John) Catalans from thousands of towns and villages cross the border to France to light a torch at the peak and bring it back to light their town’s bonfire that night.  On Sunday, Canigó was blanketed with snow and clouds.


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