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Home > News > Eleven from Ireland visit Pallerols and the Andorra Trail
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Eleven from Ireland visit Pallerols and the Andorra Trail  Caminadas - La Totalitat de la rutaPallerols    
We are looking forward to our next visit to the Andorra Trail    

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Near Cabra Morta; Noel, Fr Gavan, Naill, Kevin, Eamonn, John      

Brian Madden writes:


We arrived in Barcelona on 27 April, picked up some rented cars, and drove north.  It was the feast-day of Our Lady of Montserrat, so we stopped off there, and spent a very pleasant hour with a lot of others who were celebrating the feast-day there.  We arrived in Pallarols in the late afternoon, and hiked up to St Raphael's Cabin, where Fr Gavan celebrated Mass for us.

There were eleven in the party, all regular hikers, and our objective was to walk parts of the Andorra Trail over four days.  The plan was to stay in the very hospitable Hotel del Llac in Coll de Nargo.  From there, we would drive to our start point each day, do the hike, and then be picked up by local taxi at the finish point.  This would get the party back to the Hotel, and the drivers back to the start point to collect the cars. It was a bit complicated, but it did work!

Our first hike started at Torrent. At Ribalera, Fr Gavan celebrated Mass on the rock where in 1937 St Josemaria said his last Mass before reaching Andorra four days later.  It brought to mind the 'Mass Rock' of eighteenth century Ireland, when Mass was forbidden, and had to be secretly celebrated in hidden places in the mountains.  We all found the Canal de Jaca ascent very challenging, but soon we were moving more comfortably across the slopes of Aubenc. After this, the way became more difficult due to the large number of trees, which had fallen in the recent snows and windstorms.  We eventually reach l'Oliva where we met our taxi.

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Martin, Stephen & Kevin at St Raphael’s Cabin
 - Martin, Stephen & Kevin at St Raphael’s Cabin
Group at Casa del Corb
 - Group at Casa del Corb
In the house of Santpou, on the way to Ribalera
 - In the house of Santpou, on the way to Ribalera
Canal de la Jaça
 - Canal de la Jaça
At Borda de Conorbau; Brian, Stephen, Eamonn, John, Fr Gavan, Mark, Noel and Kevin
 - At Borda de Conorbau; Brian, Stephen, Eamonn, John, Fr Gavan, Mark, Noel and  Kevin
Crossing Riu de Cabó
 - Crossing Riu de Cabó
Stephen, Martin & John at Santa Fe
 - Stephen, Martin & John at Santa Fe
Fr Gavan; Mass at St Raphael’s Cabin
 - Fr Gavan; Mass at St Raphael’s Cabin
Fr Gavan; Mass at Ribalera
 - Fr Gavan; Mass at Ribalera
A days with very heavy rain
 - A days with very heavy rain

Next day, Sunday, started with very heavy rain. Jordi Piferrer had stayed overnight with us in the Hotel de Llac, and he invited us to visit the Rectory of Pallarols. This was really interesting, and with Jordi's explanations, and the magnificent presentation of photos and artefacts, everyone began to piece together the history of the 1937 expedition.  The rain was continuing, so we drove over to Fenollet for a nice lunch provided by Rosa. Before that, Fr Gavan was able to celebrate Mass in the small chapel located in the Fenollet complex. The rain eventually stopped, so we had a short and pleasant afternoon climb to the summit of Santa Fe.

Monday's hike was from Riu de Cabo to Noves de Segre. The ascent of Ares was long and tedious, but the weather was perfect for hiking.  Arriving at the deserted village of Ares, we found an old church, which had a somewhat ruinous altar.  Nevertheless, we found it possible to have Mass there.  The rest of the hike to Noves de Segre was straightforward, although there were places close to Cal Barida, where the vegetation had overcome the track.   We just kept pushing through!

We were planning to return to Dublin on Tuesday 1 May, but we still had time for a short section of the route. This time we started at Riu de Civis, climbed over the Cabra Morta, and ended up at Argollel, just at the border of Andorra.  Then we climbed into our cars and headed back to Barcelona, and the flight to Dublin.

It was a wonderful five days and four nights, and as evidenced by the short testimonies at the start of this account, everyone was very pleased with the experience. The marking of the Trail with the blue and yellow paint was excellent.

Our particular thanks to Jordi for his advice, his maps and his guide book. Our thanks also to Miquel and Marc Finestres and his parents who made us so welcome at the Hotel del Llac.

We are looking forward to our next visit to the Andorra Trail.


  Author Lluis Viñas | 10/05/2018
   Comment Great experience! So jealous..;)
  Author Xavier C. | 09/05/2018
   Comment Congratulations!!
  Author angela G.F. | 09/05/2018
   Comment Que bonito reportaje, fotos, texto, odo una maravilla. Muchas gracias y que siga creciendo esta iniciativa tan universal e histórica.
  Author Tino | 09/05/2018
   Comment Que alegría ver tantos comentarios en inglés es esta web.
  Author Mariangels Baliellas | 09/05/2018
   Comment Moltes gràcies...
  Author Noel writes: | 09/05/2018
   Comment Blue and yellow are the colours of the Gaelic Football and Hurling team of my native county Clare in the west of Ireland. Following the blue and yellow ‘signs’ along the Andorra Trail was like a treasure hunt, each revealing a different stunning view of cliff-faced mountains wrapped in green and brown cloaks. Standing then on top of these ‘cliffs’ we had a vision of vast valleys dotted with small villages while higher mountains shone white with snow. The climbing was steep, even very steep at times and wildly exhilarating for me at least. Not so I presume if you were fleeing for your life. Thankfully we were celebrating life and feeling very grateful for the ability to be able to walk this most magnificent mountain route. Thank you Jordi and your team for opening up this ‘road to paradise’ to which I hope to return soon!

Azul y amarillo son los colores del equipo gaélico de fútbol y del quipo Hurling de mi condado natal, Clare, en el oeste de Irlanda. Seguir las señales azules y amarillas del Camino de Andorra era como una búsqueda del tesoro, cada uno revelando una vista impresionante diferente de montañas con acantilados envueltos en capas verdes y marrones. Parados en lo alto de estos "acantilados" tuvimos una visión de vastos valles salpicados de pequeños pueblos, mientras que las montañas más altas brillaban blancas por la nieve. La escalada fue empinada, incluso muy empinada a veces y alucinante para mí al menos. No es así, supongo, si estuvieras huyendo por tu vida. Afortunadamente estábamos celebrando la vida y nos sentimos muy agradecidos por la posibilidad de poder caminar por esta magnífica ruta de montaña. ¡Gracias Jordi y tu equipo por abrir este "camino al paraíso" al que espero volver pronto!
  Author Fr Gavan writes: | 09/05/2018
   Comment It was very moving to retrace the footsteps of St Josemaria and his group, and it was particularly moving to be able to celebrate Mass in some of the very same places where the saint celebrated Mass. These were days of grace for us!

Fue muy conmovedor volver sobre los pasos de San Josemaría y su grupo, y fue particularmente conmovedor poder celebrar misa en algunos de los mismos lugares donde el santo celebró misa. ¡Fueron días de gracia para nosotros!
  Author Kevin writes: | 09/05/2018
   Comment This was one of the most interesting series of hikes I was ever on, partly I suppose because of the historical events that took place there. The scenery, the Masses in each location, the tracks (rough & smooth) the hospitality of the local people and time to reflect. This one that will be in my memory for a long time.

Esta fue una de las series más interesantes de caminatas que he tenido, en parte supongo que debido a los eventos históricos que tuvieron lugar allí. El paisaje, las misas en cada ubicación, las pistas (ásperas y suaves), la hospitalidad de la gente local y el tiempo para reflexionar. Este que estará en mi memoria por un largo tiempo.
  Author John writes: | 09/05/2018
   Comment Having read the account of the 1937 expedition in Andres Vazquez de Prada’s book before and during the trip, I really felt the whole experience came alive. There was a great feeling of walking in the footsteps of a saint.

Después de leer el relato de la expedición de 1937 en el libro de Andrés Vázquez de Prada antes y durante el viaje, realmente sentí que toda la experiencia cobró vida. Había una gran sensación de caminar sobre los pasos de un santo.
  Author Eamonn writes: | 09/05/2018
   Comment For me, the trip to the Andorra Trail is one very much for the memory books and will be very hard to repeat. When and where would you ever get the opportunity to attend and celebrate Mass in such historic locations with a travelling priest and fellow hikers?

Para mí, el viaje al Camino de Andorra es uno muy importante para los libros de memoria y será muy difícil de repetir. ¿Cuándo y dónde podría tener la oportunidad de asistir a la misa en lugares tan históricos con un sacerdote viajero y otros excursionistas?
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