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Welcome to the Bailey Blog, the chronicles of our travels though Catalonia. Just to be different, and to organize our material, we’re doing our blog a little differently. You’ll find our new posts by navigating the web page bar above this post, or by following the links in the directory below. We hope you enjoy our work, and please leave comments, salutations, and any other thoughts that you’d care to leave.

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Our Bicycle Tour of Romanesque Churches in Catalonia.

Gwen and I cycling in Burgundy in 2008.

In 2008 my family and I made a bicycle tour of Romanesque churches in Burgundy. We camped every night, woke up early and rode our bicycles all day. We traveled on small roads with tall trees which arched overhead on both sides.

We visited many small but charming churches. These churches seem to grow naturally from the fields. They are integral with their surroundings, and the landscape would not be complete without them. If you look at the details you can see that the workmen had superb skills, that they worked hard, and had pride in their work. You can almost feel them looking over your shoulder.

A Rooster from Bois-Sainte-Marie.

We saw many sculptures by master craftsmen which were intended to educate the common man by telling stories from the Bible or the lives of Saints. But the sculptures which interested me the most were the rustic pieces done by artists who did not have any training but who wanted to contribute to the building of their church in any way they could. The subject of some of these seem a little strange, but it is obvious it was important to the artist. One thousand years later we still admire the work which they did with so much pride and devotion.

Cave Paintings from d’Arcy-sur-Cure.

We saw palaeolithic cave paintings at in d’Arcy-sur-Cure. There were paintings of wild animals (elephants, Irish elk, and bears). There were also negative hands—a person put his hand against the wall and blew ochre around it through a reed. In one corner there was a small negative hand. Apparently a child was in the cave watching his parents and wandered off to find a place where he could imitate them. Children are the same today as they were 30,000 years ago. We feel a kinship with our Cro-Magnon ancestors.

El dolmen de Llanera (Catalunya).

We expect that we will have similar experiences in Catalonia this summer. We have a 1:50,000 scale atlas of Catalonia. I have compiled a list of about 1,000 places of interest—mainly Romanesque churches, monasteries, and cathedrals, but also Romanesque castles and bridges, Iberian and Roman settlements, and megalithic monuments such as dolmens—and located them in the atlas. It is interesting to see how they cluster. See locations. There are also all sorts of festivals in Catalonia, of all kinds. In fact, it appears that Catalonia is more active culturally than the region around Madrid!

El 2008 la meva família i jo vam fer una excursió amb bicicletes per les esglésies romàniques de Borgonya. Acampàvem cada nit, ens llevàvem d’hora i ens muntàvem a les nostres bicicletes cada dia. Vam viatjar per carreteres petites, amb alts arbres que s’arquejaven als dos costats i per sobre.

Vam visitar moltes esglésies petites però encantadores. Aquestes esglésies semblen créixer en els camps. Aquestes són una part intrínseca del paisatge que estaria incompleta sense elles. Si ens fixem en els detalls, podem veure que els treballadors tenien moltes habilitats, que van treballar dur, i que estaven orgullosos del seu treball. Gairebé se sent al mirar per sobre l’espatlla.

Vam veure moltes escultures que estaven fetes per mestres artesans i explicaven històries de la Bíblia. Però les escultures que més em van interessar van ser les peces rústiques fetes per artistes que no tenien la formació, però que volíen contribuir a la construcció de la seva església. Mil anys després, podem veure el treball que van fer amb tanta devoció.

Vam veure les pintures rupestres paleolítiques a d’Arcy-sur-Cure. Hi havia quadres d’animals (elefants, ants, óssos). També hi havia les mans negatives — una persona va posar la seva mà contra la paret i va exhalar ocre. En un racó hi havia una mà negativa petita. Em sembla que un nen era a la cova amb els seus pares i volia fer el que eren. Els nens són els mateixos avui. Aquí hi ha un enllaç a través de 30.000 anys. M’agrada moltíssim descobrir que totes les persones, en tots els continents i les edats, són les mateixes.

Creiem que tindrem experiències similars a Catalunya aquest estiu. Acamparem i muntarem les nostres bicicletes cada dia. Anirem a veure l’arquitectura romànica de totes les mides—catedrals, monestirs, esglésies i ermites. Anirem a veure l’escultura i les pintures murals. Hi ha molts festivals a Catalunya—jo crec que hi ha més festivals a Catalunya que a Madrid. Assistirem a tants com puguem. Hi ha molts monuments megalítics com dòlmens i menhirs que volem visitar.

Alguns enllaços que crec que serà útil:

Alguns festivals de música:

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