Associació d'amics del camí de Pallerols de Rialb a Andorra
 
A group of boys from Sant Cugat, to Pallerols and Andorra

A very fun trip, despite the suffering at some points


We have just returned from Pallerols where we have made several stages of the way to freedom, which St. Josemaría did in the autumn of 1937.

We leave Sant Cugat del Vallès on Friday 3 September, in two cars, a group of 11 people. Arriving in Pallerols and then settling in the refuge, Octavio, our guide, explained the historical significance of the place where we had just arrived.

The next day, Saturday, after a good breakfast and preparing the sandwiches for the day, we went to Peramola from where we went out to the Roca del Corb, a mountain that remembers Montserrat for its curved shapes and monolithic. The weather was hot, but not stifling. From above, we could see very well in the distance the "Barranc de la Ribalera", our goal for this day.

In Roca del Corb there is a cave that served as a refuge for shepherds and as a home in the past, called "Casa del Corb". This is where the expedition of Saint Josemaria passed in November 1937. We went down to a ravine, along a dry stream, and in about two hours we finally reached the ravine of La Ribalera; a very rugged and truly extraordinary place. There, on a rustic stone altar, Fr. Pau celebrated Holy Mass, remembering the one that St. Josemaría celebrated in this same place almost 84 years ago, in very different circumstances. After Mass we replenished strength with the sandwiches we carried in our backpacks.

After eating we split into two groups: Octavio and Fr Pau went to pick up the cars, while the others headed to the Oliana swamp. The group that was going to the swamp lost our way in the last section ... We were quite discouraged as we had to travel half an hour more on the way. We doubted that we could reach the swamp by this alternative path, but we decided to take the risk and continue on the path we had begun. After another small mistake, and already glimpsed the swamp nearby, we decided on something that we would then have to regret: shortening the path in a straight line. Then we learned that the straightest path is not always the shortest. We made our way through thorn bushes through the forest. We finally got to the meeting point with a good delay and very tired; Octavio and the priest were waiting for us at the edge of the reservoir. This setback did not stop us from crossing the swamp swimming to the other shore, where we really enjoyed jumping into the water. Once back at the Pallerols refuge, and before having Mexican fajitas dinner, Octavio showed us the "oven" where he had tried to sleep the expedition of St. Josemaría on the night of November 21-22, 1937. What an odyssey!

 

The next day, with a hard day ahead of us, Octavio suggested that he did not see the group strongly enough to do it completely, but the priest convinced him to do it all. The walk was indeed hard, especially because of the intense heat. Leaving a place near a river (the river Sallent), we walk until we reach a small Romanesque hermitage in ruins. From there we began an ascent along a "path" of stones. The march was slow, the heat tightened and the water began to run short. Upstairs, Octavio was waiting for us with plenty of drinks which we were very grateful for; and there we rested for a while. We went down the mountain and soon arrived in Fenollet, where we made a stop to eat something before going up the steep coast that crosses the mountain of Santa Fe through a very steep canal, the "Grau del Fangueret", but with amazing views. The descent from Santa Fe became enjoyable. We saw a dead cow in the purest style of the American far west. Talking about one thing and another, the descent was quick, although you have to have your knees used to the descent. We ate halfway, where Octavio was waiting for us with a watermelon that was cracked by the treatment we had given him on the trip, but that was delicious! The last descent, all the way to the cars, was much faster than expected.

The next day, Monday 6 September, we did part of the last stage of the journey, just before arriving in Andorra. After crossing the Argolell stream, dry in summer, we ascended one last coast; a short climb, but perhaps the steepest of all we had done in the previous days. When we arrived at the house of Mas d'Alins we knew we were already in Andorra. Octavio was waiting for us, once again, with a drink; we have an aperitif, after praying in a commemorative oratory of the Virgin of Canòlich. From there, we made the last descent, some faster than others, to the valley of the river Valira where the village of Sant Julià de Lòria is located. There we ate relaxed in a McDonalds.

This trip has been a lot of fun, despite the suffering at some points. We have lived many adventures and we definitely want to repeat. We now get a better idea of ​​what happened on the original 1937 expedition in extraordinary circumstances.

 

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