Coastal Freedom Trail Walter Benjamin - Pyrenees and Costa Brava
6 days, 5 nights accommodation, 4.5 days trekking
A journey along the most famous Freedom Trail escape route and a voyage along the Vermillion coast of the Costa Brava where escapes were continued and where Salvador Dali later made his home in Port Lligat. Perpignan was in touching distance of freedom and was one of the final stepping stones leading to Spain and ultimately the free world beyond. Canet la Plage 12km east of Perpignan was particularly important for the evasion network where some escapees were taken away by British ships and submarines that would wait off the beach at Canet. One of the largest successful shipments of escapees and evaders of the 'PAT' line took place in the autumn of 1941 ('Operation Rosalind'). In 1940, Jewish writer and philosopher Walter Benjamin tried to escape the Nazi officers over the Pyrenees to Spain, from Banyuls Sur la Mer to Portbou, after the outbreak of World War II and at the beginning of the Spanish post-war period with the help of passeur Lisa Fittko. We will make this memorial journey along the coast and through wine country before dropping back down to the coast after crossing the Col de Rumplissa to Portbou. Some French escaped closer to la Jonquera from the town of Laroque des Albers via pic Neulos (1251m) as documented in Conscript heros. We take up this challenge from the Spanish side and the spectacular Castelle des Resquesens heading towards France. An alternate gentler finish along the GR11 to La Jonquera and the “Museum de Exile” is possible before departing from Perpignan. Apart from being an escape trek there is the opportunity to see artists haunts first hand and be inspired by the same landscape and vivid colours they chose to be close to
Price: £695 / £795
Dates & Availability: Trips available April, May, June, October & November 2017/2018
Comment on this trip by Peter Behr who came over specially from Canada to follow in his fathers footsteps - or as close as we could find...
"Our guide provided water, fine dinners and a clear route. I realized I could not even approach the hardship of my father's trip and had to relax about that. It had to be enough to simply be in the mountain landscape they had traversed all those years ago.
It's a good reminder to appreciate what we do have and how hard life was for our forebears. While the world is not safe for everyone, we can think about how Europe endured thousands of years of war and violence, and in my lifetime it has achieved an unprecedented level of peace and cooperation". Peter Behr 2016
|FTC/3||28 May – 2 June 17||£695||Available|
|FTC/4||16-21 July 17||N/A||Private charity group|
|FTC 4/17||29 October – 3 November 17||£695||Available|
|FTC 5/17||10-15 December 17||£695||Available|
|FTC1/18||15-20 April 18||£695||Available|
|FTC2/18||10-15 June 18||£695||Available|
* Not found your date? We can tailor a trip to suit you if you are over 4 people.
Group Bookings & minimum numbers: Guide ratio is maximum 1:10 but larger groups can be catered for if you would like to bring more people. Minimum trip number is 4 people for the trip to run. If you bring a group of 4 we can offer a discount and offer trips on your requested dates when we are available. We stay as flexible as possible and also offer this trip to large tour operator groups.
Fitness Level Needed: A challenging trip for those who can walk easily for 5-8 hours per day in the mountains. On the hardest day you should be able to ascend +900m in a day.
Equipment: A full equipment list will be provided on booking. You will need: waterproofs; walking boots; a sleeping bag (carried for only half a day); trekking poles; and rucksack.
"Imagine yourself during the war having to ask someone for help, even though you know they are risking their lives if they give it to you. If you are lucky and not turned in, there is still the long trail to negotiate, past German checkpoints and patrols with and the final climb over the Pyrenees into Spain. Most went at night just carrying what they had on them and picked up food from the land en route.
Think of the Jewish families who attempted the route just one step ahead of arrest and deportation to the death camps.
It has become a way of passing the idea of remembrance on down the generations”
What's included: Accommodation and food as specified in the programme; transport to and from Perpignan on a single timed transfer per group; local transport as per the itinerary; and guiding by an International Mountain leader 1:10 maximum. Barcelona Airport transfer at the beginning of the trip is available at extra cost on demand.
What's not included: Flights; insurance; mountain snacks; phone calls; or any additional transport or accomodation needed if you have to leave the group for a medical or fitness reason. Transport to the airport from Barcelona on Aerobus.
* In addition we provide this trek for large travel company partners, tailored to their specific needs.
- Banyuls sur la mer
- Port de Selva
- Port de Lligat
- La Jonquera
The Coastal Freedom Trail - Pyrenees and Costa Brava, 6 days, 5 nights accommodation, 5 days trekking
Cost: £695 low season and £795 high season
Extension for extra day to Cadaques and relax by the beach before traveling to Barcelona + £150/person
Day 1 Arrivals at Perpignan Airport
Afternoon arrival in Perpignan Airport and transfer to Collioure via Canet Plage where we will see where ships and submarines picked up escapees in operation Rosalind. See the Chateau de Collioure, and Chemin de la Liberte memorial plaque in the evening. 3* hotel
Day 2 Walk Collioure to Banyuls sur la Mer via Cap de Bear via Port – Vendres (17.5km + 231m or +700m) 5hrs
We begin walking to Port-Vendres where Jewish philosopher Walter Benjamin began his escape journey after arriving by train from Marseille. Lisa and Hans Fittko helped hundreds of refugees over the Pyrenees to Spain) and onto Barcelona, Madrid, Badajoz and Lisbon. We start taking in the Fort Sant Elm and head out past the Batterie Mally ruins to the Cap de Bear. We continue around the coast to Banyuls sur la mer. Alternatively it is possible to climb up from Port -Vendres to visit the Tour de Madaloc (656m) en route. (B,D)
Day 3 Walk Banyuls sur la Mer – Portbou via the Walter Benjamin escape route
Walk Banyuls sur la Mer – Portbou via the Walter Benjamin escape route crossing the Col de Rumplissa. Banyuls sur la Mer was a smuggling centre as well as the starting point for Walter Benjamin’s escape. On leaving Puig Mas we climb up through wine groves to reach the col. A memorial route is marked and we have the opportunity to visit the castle of Querroig before descending, at times steeply to Port Bou to make the escape into Spain. (13km +500m) 2* hotel (B,D)
Day 4 Walk Portbou - Port de Selva via Llanca (18km +600m)
See the Walter Benjamin memorial in the morning after breakfast and climb out of Port Bou to head along the ridge with views of Port Bou international train station in the background. We make our way to Port de Selva on a beautiful coastal path and navigate remote beaches on the Cap de Ras. It is possible to climb up to visit the monastry St Pere de Rodes on foot or by bus as part of the day. 3* hotel with spa (B,D)
Day 5 Walk Port de Selva – Port Lligat (15km, 4.5hrs) and visit the fabulous casa museu Salvador Dali visit in the afternoon. Dali sort exile in the United States during WW2 and only returned to his home in 1948. The Cap de Creus national park is renouned for it's natural beauty and wildlife status. You will have the opportunity to explore. Transfer to Figueres where we will stay the night. 3* hotel or stylish apartments. Celebratory meal in the city. 2 or 3* hotel in Barcelona. (B, L) Our services end. (B,D)
Day 6 Departure from Barcelona or Girona Airports early afternoon
There are numerous scheduled departures from Placa Catalunya in Barcelon to the airport. Your final hotel will be in easy walking distance of the airport bus. Aerobus https://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/en/airport/transport/barcelona-airport-bus-aerobus.html (B)
Walk Castell de Resquesens - La Jonquera to visit “Museum of Exile” MUME OR
Spend an extra day in Cadaques with more time to explore the Cap de Creus nature reserve and secluded beaches or perhaps take in a Dali museum in Figueres
Cost + £150 per person
Walk Castell de Resquesens - La Jonquera to visit “Museum of Exile” MUME on the GR11 (12.3km +369m) 4hrs
Option B Continue the coastal walk aroud Port Lligat onto Cadaques and visit the Dali House Museum before departing for an evening in Barcelona
Transfer to Barcelona. Celebratory meal in the city. 2 or 3* hotel in Barcelona. (B, L) Our services end.
Catch airport bus from at Plaça Catalunya for the airport with Aerobus https://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/en/airport/transport/barcelona-airport-bus-aerobus.html (B)
ENQUIRY AND BOOKING
Send us a message or use the following booking form to book. We offer a group discount.