Visit the Empordanet with the company of Josep Pla

FigueresOne of the most beautiful ways to contemplate the sea, wrote Josep Pla, is through the vaults of Calella de Palafrugell, which, “despite their extreme modesty, are the most remarkable piece of architecture on this coast.” . The guide Mireia Xarau, from the Empordà author’s literary routes, stops there – it is a must-stop, of course – and reads fragments aloud to the group of tourists she is carrying. “In the winter, on northerly days, they form a secluded spot on the beach; in the summer they provide a cool shade, brightened by the sea breeze. that men have created. […] Can there be anything more pleasing to human balance? “

With the peace of mind that the author ofThe gray notebook, the walk continues to other significantly flat corners of Calella, such as the Burricaires viewpoint or Canadell beach. “The experience of stopping in front of a space that has inspired the text you are reading about Pla, in front of the sea or in the middle of a pine forest, is very enriching and rewarding,” says Xarau, who is also a member. of the educational service of the Josep Pla Foundation.

In addition to the texts and information in the guides, many of the visitors who sign up for the routes are true connoisseurs of the life and work of the Empordà writer, and add comments and curiosities. “To make the route a little more interactive, we encourage them to read the texts aloud and ask them previous things and ideas they had about what we’re talking about. People get very excited and always end up saying theirs,” explains Xarau. , which ensures that, in this way, the routes evolve and no walk is exactly the same. In addition, almost every year the stops, explanations and texts of the different routes they organize vary so that the most addicted can repeat.

Sometimes people from the village who they meet while walking and who witnessed the Calella de Pla or who knew him directly, also take part. “I remember one day talking about a restaurant that Pla frequented and a man, who turned out to be the son of the gentlemen who ran it, heard me and wanted to add details and anecdotes. This is unique. Like the day that I found myself an heir to a family that had been involved in the cork industry and gave us a master class on that time, ”recalls guide Annie Unland.

Those who go for a walk or a walk just as a prelude to a good meal can also do routes that end in restaurants serving food that Pla liked. And for those who directly want to sit at the table there are also literary vermouths or lunches where you eat while reading the writer’s culinary discernments. “Above all, she serves her grandmother’s cuisine and dishes that would now be called kilometer zero, such as black rice, suquet or nest,” says Xarau. In fact, the Empordà writer was very clear. “It happens with the kitchen as with certain political ideas: it is non-exportable, it cannot be uprooted without the danger of denaturation,” wrote Pla.

A fish suquet.

Beyond Palafrugell

The routes in Calella were among the first that the Josep Pla Foundation began to offer, together with those in Palafrugell – it starts at the birthplace -, Llofriu, Tamariu and the lighthouse of Sant Sebastià. Later, literary walks were organized in other parts of the Empordanet and beyond, such as Cap Roig, Pals, Ullastret, L’Escala, Cadaqués and Barcelona. There is also the option to request custom routes for schools and institutes or groups of friends.

One of the most successful is in Cadaqués, where Pla bought a house and spent a long time there. “It’s a very interesting route and it’s a town that always attracts a lot of visitors, it’s a special place. It lived there for several years and there’s a lot of material,” says Unland. You can also follow, albeit without guides, the footsteps of Pla in more distant cities, such as Paris. On the Catalan Literary Map website you can find the route, which goes from the Orsay Museum to the Montparnasse district, and the texts that can be read at each stop. The French capital made a big impression on him. “If from any of the appropriate windows of the Louvre Museum […] the urban panorama that offers the court central of the aforementioned palace, the immediate, delicious, pink arch of the Carrousel, the Tuileries Gardens, the Plaza de la Concordia, with the central Egyptian obelisk in the middle that Napoleon brought from Egypt , the Champs Elysées on the perspective of the Arc de Triomphe de l’Estrella, the effect is unforgettable, because one has the feeling of being in front of one of the most noble, serious and intelligent creations of urbanism Of the world we know, “says Pla Notes on Paris.

A view of Cadaqués.

The Josep Pla Foundation also collaborates with different local institutions and advises them to make literary routes in their town or city. “We are always open to collaborations of various kinds in order to be able to expand the offer”, points out the director of the Josep Pla Foundation, Francesc Montero. Agreements have already been reached, for example, with the Anchovy and Salt Museum of L’Escala. “The idea arose because Pla had a lot to do with the village, Ca la Nieves, the old salt mine in the port of Perris, the Cafè de Can Bofill and the old shipyards, where a llagut was built,” he recalls. the escalenc guide Gabri Maragall. The route also explains the little relationship he had with Víctor Català, who he said had a work with “maybe a little too much dictionary juice”, but “excellent and of great interest”.

The Empordà writer described L’Escala with lyrical prose – neither colloquial nor uplifting -, exact adjectives and a very rich anecdote, as well as all the nooks and crannies that can be visited with the company of the Josep Pla Foundation. “The situation of L’Escala is apparently an aberration. It is the only town on our coast, facing north, completely open to the north and south, which has no defense or shelter. […] Now: you live very well from the inside; the food is top notch and the people there are open and admirable. The panorama of the golf course and the Canigó, in winter, on clear and sunny days, is of an unforgettable beauty “.


Source: Ara.cat – Portada by www.ara.cat.

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