Don’t miss it (I won’t): the wonderful exhibition of Marco Noris in the MuMe-museum in La Jonquera, 40km south of Perpignan. This Museu Memorial de l’Exili is a museum on the refugees who fled Spain after the civil war.
Marco has walked along the ESFR-border from Andorra to the Mediterranean in 25 days, visiting almost every bordermarker and making a (small) painting of each marker. His way of commemorating the border which was once a one-way threshold to freedom. The exhibition can be visited until 28 january 2018.
Yesterday was a historical day: a meeting at Cabane de Hérechet of Charles Darrieu and Michel Molia (French) with me (Dutch). We even had an international observer from Belgium: Henny.
(from left to right: Eef, Henny, Charles, MIchel)
Both frenchmen have covered all the existing bordermarkers on the ESFR-borderline and are puzzled – like me – by the fate of the 408-submarkers III and IV. They were installed about 50 years ago on a steeps hillside but are now unfindable. These missing markers are linked with an intriguing story of how a local conflict about tresspassing led to a change of the international borderline (see
Goals of our meeting: meeting each other and of course a last joint effort to find the missing markers. We didn’t find them (as expected) but we sure had a very pleasant and interesting meeting.
Conclusion: without a plan of the actual placement of the submarkers, there’s no clue where to search again after the numerous searches of us three.
There’s a French plan but buried somewhere in some archive but we now have a new link: a Spanish map kept in a Spanish archive.
I was shocked in june by the email of Corinne Gourgeonnet, a passionate bordermarker-researcher in the “Pyrénées-Orientales”. She had broken her ankle on her way from Can d’Amunt to bm540. In a way still in safe area, on a trail regularly visited, while she could have been alone in the depths of the remote river-valleys of bm536 or 540.
I’m the least one to warn you because I often wander alone into the wild to find whatever remote bordermarker. But be prepared to be surprised by an injury like a broken ankle:
– if possible, don’t go alone
– if you do: tell someone of your itinerary
– bring your mobile telephone
– carry an emergency supply of water, food, bandages and painkillers
– take clothes with you to keep you warm and dry when needed
– know where you are
And Corinne? Don’t worry about her, she is brave and cheerful and is already making new bordermarker-trips.
Olivier Penaud is a devoted bordermarker-researcher in the Basque country. See his photo-blog. In a video-recording of the French tv-series “Des Racines et Des Ailes” (from 16:40 up to the end) we see him showing us a few Basque bordermarkers and giving background information.
At the other side of the Pyrenees, the customs officer Patrick Arderiu takes us by boat to bm602 and tells about the annual reconnaissance of the bordermarkers.
I was surprised to read about the project of the artist Marco Noris from Barcelona: walking along the bordermarkers from Andorra to the Mediterranean and making a painting for each and every bordermarker. In fact it has already been accomplished on 11 september 2017 after a journey of 25 days, according to his detailed planning.
The artist describes his project (in the third person) in a way as only artists can: “During the walk, the artist will paint a work corresponding to each of the 198 milestones that mark the border. To walk and paint, joining together points along the border, as though balancing on that invisible line that divides in two that which is one, making visible what is invisible and opening up in this way a new stage for memory.”
On his website, every day is nicely planned on a map and we read that he has had an extensive support team. The results of his project will be shown at the MuMe-museum in La Jonquera from 14 october to 28 january. I can’t wait to visit it, a top target for the winter.
It has been a plan for years: (trail)running around Llivia and visiting all the bordermarkers on the go. Why: for the fun of it and as a sporty challenge.
Today was the day and the route I was about to follow was my own GRPdesBF-one:
Well, it took me 5:30h to complete the 25km. Many parts were unfit for running: too steep, too rocky or no trail at all. And when I could run, there were regularly interruptions to find the bordermarker, make a picture, to check where to proceed. So the average speed is low but the variation in speed was large. I was quite exhausted when I finished, also quite content. I think no one has ever done this.
The recording by Runkeeper can be seen at this page.
I’m back in the Pyrenees and today I visited the so-called Gorospil-cemetery: a graveyard of borderstones thrown from the Gorospil mountain-pass in the Basque-country. For whatever reason, bm75 and 76 were not quite popular between 1948 and 2003. Several successive generations were removed and tossed down the hillside to be dutifully replaced by officials with a new bordermarker.
It was Jacques Koleck who – in 2013 – first informed me of his findings: three old bordermarkers in the upper part of the stream of Haizagerrico, including an original bm76. Shortly afterwards, Javier Martínez Ruiz wrote me that he had in 2007 found the same bm76 as Jacques did and even found more bordermarkers down the stream, including an original bm75. This all triggered Anne Marie Bats and Bernadette Chasseur in 2014 to visit this ‘cemetery’ and they refound the markers of Jacques and Javier but also a ‘new’ bm75. In a few months, Jacques returned and he found an additional unmarked borderstone. See this page for the comprehensive story.
As you can read, I ‘m just standingd the shoulders of these devoted bm-investigators and I found easily all 6 bordermarkers standing erect in the stream-bed.