Posts filed under ‘knights’

Vallfogona and Roca Guinart

It’s amazing the way we thread our way through various interests. Where one thing leads to another and another and another……… until we find ourselves in a place that has no common links to where we started from. In this sense, this post is probably an intermediate step.

Yesterday I posted some Catalan poetry I had picked from a booklet given to us on September 11 to celebrate a Catalan holiday. I understood the context of one of the poems but didn’t know the first one. Antoni, a phtographer from Sant Pol de Mar explained that the poem was about a famous Catalan bandit, Roca Guinart. Of course I had to look into this. It’s difficult to research because I do not speak Catalan and almost all of the references were in Catalan, after all he is part of Catalan folklore.

Well, I found reference to the author, Francesc Vicent Garcia (Rector of Vallfogona) and the town Vallfogona.

Vallfogona de Riucorb is a pueblo of 130 people. It’s roots go back before 1038 with the Queralt and Cervallo families (they have a history all to themselves) and it was known as Vallis Alfedi or Vall d’Aleu until the 12th century.

In 1193 the Knights Templar established a Templar castle there and, after the order was dissolved in 1312 it was taken over by the Hospitalers. In 1416 the castle was restored and in 1811 became the house of Vallfogona de Comalats. The town was surrounded by a fortress with towers and had a hospital that cared for pilgrims and the sick. There are still ruins from the chapel of Sant Pere dels Bigats dating back to the 13th century.

As I mentioned, one of the towns citizens was Francesc Garcia Torres ( Tortosa 1582-Vallfogona 1623,) and also known as Rector of Vallfogona. He studied in Lleida and Vic and, in 1607, he came to Vallfogona where he befriended Rocaguinarda and wrote the poem. In 1951, the town erected a monument in his memory.

The famous “bandoler” Perot Rocaguinarda (Roca Guinart) was born in December 18th 1582 in Oristà, Catalunya. He is also refered to as the gentleman bandit Roque Guinart in Don Quixote. The Castilian writer Miguel de Cervantes imagined the Catalans as being fearsome natives. He writes: “More than forty highwaymen suddenly surrounded them and told them in Catalan to stop and do not move until the captain had arrived.” The captain was Perot Rocaguinarda, and Don Quijote and his attendant spent three days and three nights with that Catalan highwayman, hiding themselves together through the woods around Barcelona. Just as a point of interest he was one of a a very few highwaymen who escaped the gallows. His house of birth can still be seen (at least the ruins) inOristà.

September 14, 2006 at 12:19 pm 2 comments

Toledo, Spain (Part 3)

Today we crossed the river to see a Medieval festival happening in one of the parks. We walked into the park and stepped back to the days of knights and soldiers. There were pavillions set up that were right out of a medieval market. Knights were eating meat over a barbecue and drinking from these great goblets. Some were explaining how their weapons were handled and what they were designed for.

Given the setting, it was quite fun. There were groups of merchants selling their wares and every one of them was dressed from days long gone (thankfully).

We returned to the main square and headed back to La Tabernita where we sampled some more foods from the area. Desiree made me a tinto de verano which I loved. She showed me how to make it and now I drink it at home, muy bien.

We started back towards our hotel and had to pass through the same square that the fashion show was held. Wonders never cease. This time there was a group of singers with a band. They were performing Disney songs and again, the performance started at 10:00 (must be magic hour) so we made sure to be there. Actually, we were back around midnight because we had such a good time at La Tabernica. Yes, we went back there for dinner and yes we had a lot of fun meeting the locals. One fellow, who was a newspaper photographer, was helping me with my spanish. He kept correcting my pronunciation and giving me hints about the proper wording. Another was a professor of french studies in Toledo. There was a couple, he was from Chile (actually, an american is disguise) and she was from Germany. They lived in Frankfurt and I had to keep the conversation away from english. I felt that this was a local place and a refuge from the throngs of tourists that visit Toledo. It was more polite to keep the conversation in Spanish (even though it was killing me). Anyhow, when we get back to the square, the show is going full tilt. Keep in mind that this is outside in a very old setting.

That was it. Only 2 days in Toledo but we had experienced so much it felt like a week. We headed off to the train station the next morning to catch our train back to Madrid.

We caught the metro to Avenida des America where we could catch the bus to the airport. It was VERY hot and in the metro station they had fans going full tilt. What was different was the mist of water that these fans blew out. I couldn’t take a picture because it was too dark but it certainly was an eerie scene. We got to the airport early, tried to change to an earlier flight but it was way too expensive. We explored the new terminal 4 …….

We got home around 9:00 and went for a walk ……………………..

June 15, 2006 at 6:31 pm 1 comment


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