Road to Lake Witch

Spanish province of Lerida, high in the Pyrenees, still alive ancient traditions, legends and rites.

It only seems that our old woman Europe is so ridiculous, carved, wrapped by networks of roads and wires that neither wonders nor it remains. There is also a corner of civilized Europe, where the medieval rites are still alive, where the witchcrafts grow, and the witch at night are going to the Shabash. There fern flourishes in the sacred night, and the fires of fires dismisses evil. The highest fires burn on the tops of the Pyrenean Mountains, in the Spanish province of Lerida.

No, nice still business – traveling with friends! Especially fascinating to build plans for vacation. One dreams of rafting, the second about fishing, the third you want to fly on the paraglider, the fourth – ride a horse. And around for any monasteries and architectural monuments. And restaurants with tasty and healthy food. And red wine. And something stronger. When we realized that I went with our disputes about the route to the deadlock, everything decided the faithful kindergarten method: we pulled out the encyclopedia, fed the page and the line and read the unfamiliar word: Lerida. We were big lucky: the mysterious Lleida turned out to be quite affordable place – Spain Province. And we went to Lerida, not even guessing that we were waiting ahead. Lerida liked us at first sight on the map. She spread over a good third of Catalonia – from the olive plains and vineyards of the priorata to the most pyrenees, to the snow-covered vertices, to the French border, and the dwarf state of Andorra Bread Krokyka stuck in the thick wool of Leridian forests. At Barcelona Airport we took a hefty "Renault Espac", Bought a catalunny card with a sheet size and outlined the route. In the mountains, in the mountains, of course, in the mountains! – We were drawn to the three-tales of the Balle de Aran, to the shining glether, to the raging rivers and placers of glacial lakes. I’ll go to the French border itself, and then let’s see what to do next. However, the time-purpose Lerida was not going to indulge in our whims. "Where guys keep the way?" – The bartender asked on the first refueling, where we stayed to drink coffee. We spread in front of him a boat card and told on the winding ribe Highwei. "You guys do nothing, – Joyfully informed the bartender. – Here and then the road is closed, and the tunnel at the Veli is also closed. Rains in the mountains were strong, even snow fell. Go, guys, in a detour – you will not regret. If you do not turn anywhere, in the evening you will be on the spot". He looked at our rented rooms and added to the village or the city: "And in the car, put the Verbena flowers – you are still in Lerida. " Ignoring the Council about Verbena, we chose a new route and went to the road. The day was beautiful, and life was beautiful, and a great highway promised solid pleasures. This was the most beautiful road in the world. She walked along the spacious Valley of Segre, and through the Sagarr Plateau, and through the High Urvel – past the medieval cities with paintings on the roofs of gothic spiers, past the hills with art castles on top of the Benedictine monasteries and Franciscan monasteries. She climbed above in the mountains, and each roadside village was proud of Romanesque bell tower, each manifer to collapse, stop, stop to buy at least a quarter of an hour – in these parts the time is measured by quarters. But we remembered the words of Barmen every time "If you do not turn anywhere", collected will in the fist and drove past. Only sometimes stopped at special viewing sites to admire the species. There were so many species that the sites flashed on each turn. It was the same road at which heretic-cathara, Cistercian monks and Knights-Templars came from the Inquisition. In those days she was called "Path of righteous".

Behind Seu de-urgent, the road became such a loop that her head herself herself. We also slipped completely, lost the bill to the mountains and the valleys that are measured by the Pyrenean spaces. Something was wrong with this loop dear, somehow she is too loop. Having entered the third time in a row in the same city grade, we stopped under the green karyatide-mermaid and thought. Something had to do: either stay spending the night in a variety, or buy another card, or try to find the road again. "Or maybe verbena?" – suggested suddenly Tikhona Lera. And everyone laughed. And Lera threw a few high stems with purple flowers by the road, added a bunch of Jerboa and put a bouquet to the windshield. Whether we have rested slightly, or Verbena helped, but the road came to himself, stopped looting, and on the shore of the river, in the wonderful valley of Aneu quickly led to the village of Esterri, where the hotel was waiting for us, dinner, shelter and overnight. In Esterri de Aneu, lights were already lit, long shadows went on a crucible street, and the last sunbeam clinched for the church spire. Smells of Levkoev and roses prevented with smoke of foci and food flavors – it was time to eat. It remained only to look into some shop: Stretching Tim Forgot Bathroom Accessories. We went on the main street, looking in the showcases. But in the sausage shop, and in the tobacco shop, and in the pastry shop, and in the shoe store showcases were like two drops of water. They were not shoes and not sausages, but witch. Puppets on thin ropes, small clay figures and large, almost human growth, dolls in real clothes. Witches were evil and kind, cunning and innocent, in picturesque rags, in jeans and in black silks, with brooms, scrolls, owls, stars, pumpkins, magical triangles, crystal balls, alpenshtoks, skis, oars and fishing rods, and some even on canoe. We have fun, showing each other the most interesting witches. All shops were already closed, only one burned light. It turned out to be a pharmacy, and her showcase was without stupid, with inflatable Tubes of toothpaste and aspirin cardboard boxes. We entered. The walls of the pharmacies were carried by bunches of dry herbs and bundles of cocks of the cocks, the glass balls with a green liquid were drowned from the ceiling, ancient porcelain cans were standing on the shelves, in the Retore on the burner, something black. "Is anybody here?" – Bravely shouted Tim. "What shout so? – Due to the adjustment, a pharmacist appeared, young and cute, only very gray. – What the senor wishes? Dragon Teeth, Unicorn Horn Powder? Mandragora root to double coins in the chest? Or ointment of belanes to achieve a secret goal?" Senor, together with senorans, jumped out into the street and very quickly went to the hotel. Hotel "Bruna", where we stopped, turned out to be the most ordinary, small and cozy. We met a friendly mistress. "Pitit, – she introduced himself and distributed all the keys. – Go down a quarter, I prepared you dinner". We in life did not eat such tasty food. Pepita brought rabbit with pears and stewed duck, lit candles and fire in the fireplace for us, put fresh flowers in a white vase. The bouquet was all the same Verbena, and St. John’s wort, and the branches of the mistletoe. We asked the hostess what these flowers mean. "They guard from the witches, – Seriously replied Pepita. – Verbena – Sacred Grass, we call it "poison devil", Omelo – Salvation Grass, St. John’s Grass – Grass. " "And how do you call a pharmacy?" – asked suddenly Tim. Pitis looked at him carefully: "A pharmacy is called a pharmacy. But at the time of my grandmother, they said no other than "Kitchen witches". So the dental is better to go in the morning in the supermarket". – "So that the ointment of the whlen?" – did not learn Tim. "Ah, kids! – exclaimed Pitita. – In our areas with a damn, it is not customary to joke: too much witches and other evil spirits, do not stick to your head!"

The morning was strange. In the attic windows looked shining the pigeons of the sky, and on the street was gloomy and cool. We did not immediately realize that it was just a shadow from the high mountains covering the narrow valley of Aneu and the village of Esterri. Pita Pita welded to us and said embarrassed: "I do not know what they eat for breakfast Russian. I have a lot of tourists – the French are, and the Germans, and the British, and Spaniards from the plain, the Swiss are, and the Dutch, only the Russians never had". – "Russians for breakfast will be eaten everything they will give", – assured Pepitu Tim. A minute later on the table, homemade sausages, sheep cheese, ham-Hamon, cold roast beef, smoked duck, hot bread, fresh yogurt, fragrant honey, omelet, sausages-butfarry, fruits, buns and croissants. "I see the right people live in Lerida province, hospitable people", – Looking asone Tim. Morning village turned out to be even more beautiful than evening. A wild stone houses were crowded along the wild river, the roofs laid out with a flat slate were shone like silver. We stood on the humpback stone bridge with a little Madonna in Niche, appreciated his impressive income (XIII century, no more, no less). Inspected the museum of ethnography, which did not differ from the neighboring houses, except that the smell of dust. Walked through the streets, looking at the emissions cut on the walls, swords, hammers and nails. Over the gates hung horseshoes and cock spurs, on the doors – wreaths of mistletoe, signs with the name of the streets were painted all the same chappers. Very seriously, they belong to medieval prejudices! Together with us in the village wandered a few more tourists. They moved more purposefully, from the shop to the bench, buying alpenshtoks and mountain boots. It’s time to go close to us to actively rest. Obediently following the detachment of the plot, the tourist bureau was immediately caught "Pyrenean adventures". – Oh, Ah, – Twitter Tourist Maiden. – We are just a paradise for tourists! In our village whole nine hotels, and all are constantly engaged – this is the same tourist Mecca! We offer climbing in the gorges, caves, mountaineering – the most real, do not think! – walks on jeeps, horses, bicycles and on foot, as well as rafting, canoping, kayaking, hydraulicobing, hydroinding and something else water, jumping down head, crossing through the abyss on the rope and without a rope, but I do not advise you, but Also fishing on our richest river, which ranks first in Europe by the number of trout, and you can also look at wild mushrooms during the excursion. – Stop! – flashed on these words Tim. – Wait a second, young lady, we do not have time to summarize. Personally, I go fishing, and then on a tour of mushrooms. And right now. I, in the end, vacation or what? We let go of Tim on all four sides and ordered a tour of the surrounding area. Let them catch their fish, meet in the evening.

Country of stormy cakes

Road to Lake Witch

Travel service in Lerida is delivered excellent. Everything is done instantly, as the magic. Only we managed to return to the hotel, as two jeep arrived – one for Tim, the other for the rest. Our guide was attached – young and pretty, in a cowboy hat, sweeping on the most eyes. "Agatha", – She introduced himself. Jeep Liho rushed through the valley. "Where we go?" – Agatha asked. We are slightly spent. "We have here, you know, a large selection of excursion programs, – explained Agata. – You can get acquainted with Romanesque architecture, you can – with local cuisine. There is a route for medieval bridges, there are highland lakes . " – "And you can look at something such an extraordinary?" – asked Lera. "This is how much! Want to grave? Or on the places of the witches?" – "No, no, – we frightened. – No need so radically!" Agatha looked around: "Then – to the enchanted grief!" And we drove into the most Pyrenean core, to the Aiguis-Takese National Park, to the Lake of St. Mauricia. We rose all the above, and the mountains around became more and higher, the sky rapidly approached, losing the clouds stuck in the rocks. We were circling over us, spreading three-meter wings, vulture-bearded, and the trepidate lasies went to the road, turning out to be spotted roots. However, the roasons were quite trembling. Lacked only mountain goats. Our conductor was very worried about this and looked into the binoculars, did not appear where the goat. The only thing that consisted is – a trample along and across the path. "It was digging boars, they were here two quarters back!" – Proudly reported the conductor every time any of us stumbled. The lake appeared unexpectedly. All Christmas trees, christmas trees – and suddenly – a huge water surface with floating mountains in it. People sat on the hill and admired. Soothered, apparently, nerves, positive emotions were gained. Sometimes they got up, put on backpacks and hid in Dali. In their place from Dali came new people, filmed backpacks and sat down to admire. We also loved, and then disappeared away – went to the waterfall. Aiguis-Takese National Park is not in vain received its confectionery title: cakes are called rapid thresholds and waterfalls, and everything is translated together as a reserve "Stormy water". In its territory, 200 glacial lakes and countless waterfalls. Occasionally there are villages, the same ancient as these lakes and as the mountains around. When you sit on the shore of the lake, you believe anything. And that the parish church in Eppote was built in 839, and that the depth of 20 meters wide on the plateau is 80 meters wide, and that the two Mountains Ecantatts are enchanted hunters from the Taul village, which went hunting St. Mauricia’s Day, let the arrows in the root – and petrified. So they stand near, reflected in the Lake of St. Mauricia – Big Enantat and Small, both for 2700. However, Agatha did not tired us with lecture material. Reported that from the animal of the world she likes the most like a vulture Borodachnik in nicknamed "Rasser bones" And the toad-obstacle, who lives underground near the ponds. Near the village across the road in front of the jeep fastened. Agatha noticed very seriously: "Never kill the nights and wolves at night – they may be people. You know that any witch can turn into these animals?"

"It was the best fish in my life! In this river Trout – like a pike, and salmon – with sturgeon. I caught on-oh-from such. " – Tim boasted. "So, we have for lunch – trout?" – Aslena asked. Tim Installed: "See whether the fact is that I bought not that license. You see, I did not have the right to kill fish and take it myself". Here we could not stand. Dumpless puddles, petrified hunters and wheels – is still okay, but to fish without fish – too fabulous plot! Tim did not lie. In Lerida 600 kilometers of pure mountain rivers, on the shores of which are hotels for fishermen and campgrounds for fishermen, where you can take equipment and even undergo training course. Everything is provided there, everything is equipped: there are special places for children’s fishing and for an adult, which is intense, free and "without killing fish". You only need to choose a place and buy a license. Tim, without understanding, chose a license without the right to murder – a humane such person! It is often difficult to understand the Pyrenees: the local residents speak two languages: among themselves in Catalan, and with tourists – in French. Some know more Spanish, and quite units – English. The inhabitants of many areas are spoken by Catalan: from French Roussillon to Spanish Alicante, including the Balearic Islands, but this does not apply to. In the neighboring Balle-de-Aran valley, they speak Aranès – the ancient language of Languedok, already forgotten in the Languedoc itself. Here, the Middle Ages lives in the lost world of the Pyrenees Mountains – with its tongues, traditions, bridges and chapels! And even new-fashioned ski resorts, hotels and lifts does not interfere at all. To console Tima, we went to dine in the village of Llani, famous fish restaurants, and chose "Move". We sat on the veranda over the water itself, flew the delicious trout and watched on the other shore they learn to handle with oars and inflatable rafts. They were closed in black wetsuits with bright red vests and helmets and from afar seemed like a pack of ladybirds. The Mother River is one of the strongest magnets attracting adventure lovers to Catalan Pyrenees. The locality where she boils with all his tributaries, wears even a special name – Palyars-Collective. On the banks of the river, a variety of sports centers are built with all sorts of kayaks – Kanooka, and at the same time – with tirms, horses, helicopters and other entertainment. And the river itself is divided into plots – from the most simple routes for which children are launched to the most difficult, on which the World Water Rodeo Championships, Acrobatics and Pirouettes are held on canoe. There are among them "meat grinder" and "Washer", "shaker" and "Island with secret". The river lives in a rigorous schedule: at certain hours there are fused on inflatable rafts, tumble on kayaks, ride on "Hydrobobe", More like a banana. In the interruptions, the most real plotogons are fused on the river the most real rafts – from thick logs cut down by the woods high in the mountains.

Medicine from witches

We lived in the village of Esterri de Aneu long and happily. Tim caught so many fish that she was enough at all guests "Bruna", Andrei mastered different floats and thresholds of the niemen, we arrived with Alena surroundings on horseback, and Lera looked at all this from above, flying on a paraglider. We went to the village holidays, where old men dance to the music of accordions. Their dances were old-fashioned, like the accordion himself: Mazurka, Rododon, Habanner and the Pyrenean dance pericon, and also Corrada, when everything is spinning for the melodious singing girls. We were going on dinners with new friends, and the instructor of Canoe Jack appeared for our table, Spaniard Ivan with a neighboring ranch, Marisol’s skiing, which even in the summer comes to her favorite mountains, a stray juggler and an Acrobat – Firefighter from Amsterdam. We forgot about the witches, let you go to the will of a sympathetic-toad, but I didn’t throw away Verben, so I was drunk our herbarium in the car. Once at dinner, Pitita asked: "And you know what day the day?" We burned because they knew – it was the last day of our journey, we left the next morning. "Today San Juan, and all night in the valley will burn high bonfires that litter in Isil. These bonfires will drive evil in the valley, and in Lerida, and in all Catalonia". San Juan, Saint Ivan, Ivan Kupala – How did we ourselves remembered! Night of the sacred bonfire, magic and omen, night when water in sources becomes healing when the fern flources, and basil and verbena acquire wonderful properties, the night of elves and druids. Yes this is the best night of Lerida, where there is an old tradition and where, they say, so many witches! We gathered in five minutes and went to the village of Isil. Mountain road turned out to be clogged with cars. They drove slowly, dense rows, like a living shevily tape. Looks like all Lerida moved today in Isil to deal with unclean power. Actually, 30 people live in the village of Isil. But on the festive night there are hundreds of people go there – from those who speak Catalan on both sides of the border. The rite began late in the evening: men took huge Fallas torches, cut down from thick pine logs – 20 kilograms, no less! – and went with them to the top of the mountain headlight. Several women went with them – where to go from feminist! Women carried the same heavy logs. The village was engaged in expectation: the foundation of the fire was built on the church square, the village musicians went through the streets, drunk out of the violins and blowing out of the infinite festive melody from his breath-phlabiol. The drummer tried louder: as it is known, good noise is a great remedy for the unclean. People, asking, famously absorbed the traditional San Juan food – Sweet Coca and Champagne Cava Pies. All looked in one direction – to the top of the mountain headlight. It took more than an hour and became completely dark when the sacred fire broke out on top. Village Lyclakala. This effect happened there on the mountain. Men went around the fire with a ritual dance, lit their torches from him and in full dark began to descend – without a road, through a dense forest. The chain of lights stretched around the mountain. When men sharpened, torches fell and rolled down, scattering spark fountains, then they were raised and carried on. People in the village watched them without tearing. Passed another hour before the structures went down. Children were met: girls were brought to every wine and pies, and the boys lit their little torches and joined the fathers. The patterns went to the Church of San Juan, and there in the cemetery gate the crimp crosses were painted. Then they carried the sacred fire in the village and folded torches on the square. So they did their fathers, their grandfathers and the ancestors of their great-grandfather. Huge, hot, racking sparks Bonfire зазарил and square, and boning people, and mountains around. Fireworks exploded in the sky, the music was drowned over the square, the music was playing, and people danced around the fire, holding hands, drove dances and played in "Cutters", To dissipate all who can interfere with the fall of cows, catch fish and ski skiing. And Salamandras were danced in the long languages ​​of the flame, and the sulfts were scattered with fun sparks in the pitch darkness of the shortest night of the year – above the small Catalan village, above the huge Pyrenean mountains, over Spain, and above France, and over the entire old woman-Europe.

Road to Lake Witch

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