Coastal Freedom Trail July 2017

The Coastal Freedom Trail July 2017 - Walter Benjamin route 

16.7 Day 1 Perpignan & Museum de Riversautes concentration camp
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. After airport pick up post flight delay we made a poignant visit to Riversautes an internment camp that was home to over 2,000 Jews until 1942 when they were deported to Auschwitz. We then travelled to the beautiful, coulousful coastal town Collioure. 

17.7 Day 2 Walk Collioure to Banyuls sur la Mer via Cap de Bear via Port – Vendres  (17.5km + 231m or +700m) 5+hrs
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 we head out past the Batterie Mally ruins to the Cap de Bear. We continue around the coast to Banyuls sur la mer. A most stunning ascent vision to the windmill with a perfect backdrop of the Collioure port, an artists haunt, will stay with me for many a year. 

18.7 Day 3 Walk Banyuls sur la mer – Puig Mas – Col de Rumplissa – Portbou (13km + 700m) 6hrs
Walter Benjamin escaped crossing the Col de Rumplissa assisted by Lisa Fittko on the F route or Lister route with three other German Jews. On leaving Puig Mas we climb up through wine groves to reach the col before descending, at times steeply to Port Bou to make the escape into Spain.  Many escapees boarded the night train to Barcelona and others walked on. The end goal was to reach Lisbon and then sail on. (13km +500m).

19.7 Day 4 Walk Port Bou to Llanca (+500m, 12.78km or including an extra 6.44km and a further climb to reach St Pere Rodes before descending to Llanca again)
We head down towards Barcelona to Llanca and visiting some remote beaches on the Cap de Ras. Following this you will have the opportunity to swim in the afternoon or walk or be driven up to Monestir Sant Pere Rodes.  It was clear the refugees were meant to keep moving through Spain; in the words of the foreign minister of the time they were passing through Spain as light passes through glass, leaving no trace. The Lister line first headed to Barcelona and then Madrid and Lisbon to Havanna. 
20.7 Day 5 Walk Llanca – Cap de Creus lighthouse, early start 7hrs, 22km, coastal walk
The Cap de Creus national park is renowned for its natural beauty and wildlife status. You will have the opportunity to explore unusual rock formations on the coast and if time visit the Dali museum in Port Lligat before departing to Barcelona Jewish quarter for dinner at 9pm.

21.7 Day 6 Departures from Barcelona airport


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