Associació d'amics del camí de Pallerols de Rialb a Andorra
 
From Ireland to Pallerols and Andorra

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This is an account of a group of Irish teenage schoolboys, and their leaders, who came to Pallerols on Wednesday 26th June and stayed for four days.  

We trekked over three stages of the Camino de Andorra, following the blue and yellow markers to cover the same route that Saint Josemaría and his companions took in November and December 1937. In this we were greatly helped by Ramon Camats who gave us detailed explanations of various sites, such as the Peramola bridge, the Rectory and Church in Pallerols and the stables area in Peramola. We were also greatly helped in planning the trip by Jordi Piferrer's guide book Camí D'Andorra which is written in three languages

For the mountain stage, we were very grateful for the guidance received from Octavio Rico who expertly picked out the parts of the route that were covered with shade from the trees, as the local weather was very hot at that time. On the first day we hiked up to Casa del Corb and were impressed at the way the cave is set up. The views were spectacular from outside the Casa. We then hiked around Roca del Corb and descended the valley that leads to Casa Juncas and from there to the bridge at Panta d'Oliana.  After a very nice swim we returned to the facility in Pallerols where we cooked up a good dinner in the well appointed kitchen and dining room that is available for groups in Pallerols. We were all able to sleep there in the area for young people and the separate rooms for leaders.

The next day, Friday 28th we rose very early and joined a group from Valencia and Malaga at Aravell for a joint hike up to Collado de la Torre and from there we descended to the River Civis crossing point, where the access point to the Cabra Morta Ravine. It was not our intention to scale the ravine this time but we did admire it from the vantage point of the road.  The Valencia and Malaga group were camping out overnight on the mountain, something we might try to do the next time! The descent through the woods was delightful and everyone was exhilarated at completing this hike. We returned to Pallerols and had Mass in the evening followed by a nice dinner.

On Saturday 29th we went to the Grotto of our Lady of Canólich, Patron of Saint Juliá de Lória. This marks the point where, in 1937, St Josemariá and his companions prayed the Salve Regina in thanksgiving for having arrived in Andorra. They are depicted in the painting behind the statue in the grotto. We began a walk there which lead ups down into Sant Julià de Lòria covering the final stage of the 1937 expedition.  We arrived in good time to attend that Mass in honour of St Josemaría which was taking place that day in the Church where a sculpture of St Josemaría commemorates his visit to the Blessed Sacrament in that Church on 2nd December 1937. It had been the first un-desecrated tabernacle he could visit since the previous July 1936 when the Spanish Civil War broke out.

Our priest, Fr Donncha, was one of the concelabrants of the Mass and we were touched by the warm welcome of the Parish Priest. Indeed we were overwhelmed to be invited to the meal held after the Mass and to be asked to perform and Irish song for the guests. It was an experience we will never forget. That evening when we returned to Pallerols we decided to do a "bonus" hike up to see the cabana de San Rafael and were delighted at the hike up. We had a good get together at the sire which has a nice area to sit down. It was a most memorable day.

Our group consisted of Dr Ezequiel Mercau, Santiago Pampillon, Dr Pat Gill, Fr Donncha Ó hAodha and Ruairi McGinn as leaders. Then we had Conor Treacy, Daniel Geoghegan, Kenneth McDermott, Miguel Gonzalez Arevalo, Seánie O hAodha (who made a speech and presentation to Ramon Camats at the meal), Seán Keane, Ciarán Black and Ruben Fernandez Gonzalez.

We hope to come back to do more of the Camino de Andorra in the future.

Associació d'Amics del Camí de Pallerols de Rialb a Andorra.   Av. Diagonal, 620, 1er. 2a, 08021 - Barcelona (Spain) . Tel.: (+34) 629 910 612