Now we finally know why Wilfried is so successful here in Besalú:
He had been here in the 9th century as the “King Wilfred the Hairy!”
For this from Wikipedia:
„Wilfred the Hairy and the first independent Catalonia history:
Here Wilfried started at the bottom. He just started out as fine nobleman. In 870 Charles the Bald appointed him to the Count of two small countries in Northern Catalonia, which Wilfried’s meteoric career began. Eight years later, more possessions then were added in the so-called Spanish Mark, an area that served as a military frontier against the Muslims of the Emirate of Cordoba. Not a very popular piece of land, one can think of. There, military skirmishes were fought after all the time and the people were cut off for a long time in masses.“
That must be the reason why Wilfried feels so comfortable here in Catalonia and is so successful.
After all, he has now made the fifth portrait within 9 days for Face Europe, and two other works made at the Bridge of Besalú: a landscape of the city and one commissioned work.
Today it was my turn to find Daniel. The owner of a small private brewery in the midst ofBesalú, who told us his exciting life while he was drawn. His girlfriend Ingrid will hopefully forgive him that it took longer today for him to come home!
Parking lot is fully occupied and Petra and Dieter, who had initially planned to continue to the volcanic area nearby now decided to remain here in Besalú, because they were worried that the volcanic area would be even more crowded and in Besalú there is still enough to see. We also decided that we could as well continue our trip together as long as it is fun for all of us.
Yesterday Wilfried was asked by Dorian, the accordion player, to paint him together with little Maja on another image. From Maja he gave us a photograph and Wilfried agreed. Dorian was painted life again – as he played on the bridge, the little girl was added from the photo.
While Wilfried was engaged in painting, Dieter, Petra and Lisbeth strolled through the city and joined the thousands of tourists. Dieter tried a Barbecue Chicken and his enthusiasm also infected Lisbeth to purchase such one for a late lunch for Wilfried and herself.
The afternoon and evening we spent with activities such as reading, knitting, downloading movies and just relaxing.
Time flies by. Since Saturday we enjoy the Spanish heat during the day and the nights are OK even without heating.
Monday, December 3, Wilfried decided to do an oil painting of the city of Besalú viewing from the bridge. It was a colourful image and he had a lot of fun.
The accordion player who played on the bridge since days, nodded approvingly when he saw the result. When asked if he wants to get his portrait painted he nodded enthusiastically, and actually the next day at the appointed time he was on the bridge again.
A couple walked past without saying a word to us, but somehow they struck me. The woman had such an open mind and a joyful appearance.
When we were back to Fredi in the evening, exactly these people very friendly asked us in German where our license plate would from.
We invited them spontaneously for a cup of coffee. Their mobile home is the four-wheel truck that arrived the same morning on the pitch. It was a fun and long coffee chat with Dieter and Petra, which lasted until 23:00 and was going on to supper seamlessly. None had noticed how late it was.
Next day, it was Tuesday, and the accordion player was to be painted, but before this time the two women Petra and Lisbeth decided to walk for a while. It turned out to be an almost three hours lasting walk with gymnastics in between on the park benches, the marvel of an old mill, the walk on wobbly bridges until we also discovered the weekly market by chance, where we even bought vegetables and cheese at the last minute.
Dieter and Peter accompanied us to the portrait painting of Dorian, the harmonica player.
The conversation with Dorian was not very successful for both parties. So Dorian let his music talk while Wilfried did an oil painting in just over an hour. It turned out great. All pedestrians walking by were amazed and gesticulated appreciatively.
Today it was Petra’s turn for the 20. Face Europe portrait and the first for Germany. Petra told us a lot about her life. Soon it will be possible to see some videos of the individual portrait sessions on YouTube. For this we need more sun entry into our solar system. At the moment there is just not enough power for cutting movies.
The Irish teacher has not got in contact with us yet so we are now determined to go quickly into the warmer south. On the one hand, the climate is fundamentally warmer and supposedly it will be cold in the north from Wednesday on. We do not desire cold weather at all.
Jordi, the Handpan player really showed up. Two men with freezing fingers: one (Jordi) played his music while the other one (Wilfried) was drawing him. When the work was done, suddenly the sun came out and an entire school class listened to Jordi’s music and admired Wilfried’s finished drawing. You cannot imagine how many tourists are here in Besalú. Many Jews but also Muslims are clearly recognisable.
To warm up, we decided to eat pizza and when we entered the restaurant, whom did we see sitting there? Jordi bent over a hot cup of tea and invited us immediately to his table. We continued our conversation togetherwith Google Dictionary and the waiter who spoke excellent English. The pizza brand „frozen pizza“ fits the tourist image. Rip off everywhere.
Jordi says goodbye to us and gives us the hint to walk on the banks along the El fluvià. We follow his advice and enjoy the peaceful walk.
This morning we were already looking forward to the market day, which was announced to be very special by the tourist office.
So we walked into the city at about 10:00 am.
One tasteful shop stands out positively from all other typical gift shops. Unfortunately, those beautiful things are much too expensive for us.
We try our luck in a Market for food, the choice is not overwhelming. A bunch of bananas for 0,99 € per kilo, orange juice and a packaged sausage wander into our shopping bag.
Then we strolled back to the old town, Lisbeth led Wilfried to the bakery she already knew from yesterday.
For lunch we cooked potatoes and lentils Asia-Austrian mixed variaty: Indian spices, potatoes and bacon. Tasted delicious, saturated outstanding.
Then we wanted to finally find out if the propagated Anis-liqueur-market had begun only to findout that themarket stalls which were already established on Friday in the town were still without people selling their goods.
We went with our wonderful “Seduschkas” (in Kaliningrad purchased warm seat pads) to the next bench in the warming sun and enjoyed the southern sun while we talked on the phone to Mama who told us about the snowy landscape and the frost at home.
On the way back on the Medieval bridge there we discovered the same painter we had already seen at noon but did not want to interfere. Wilfried liked his work very well and to the obviously English-speaking men who stood next by he praised the work. It turned out that the painter was Norman Teeling: a fairly well-known and very good Irish painter, he had been hired by Warner Bros in Hollywood, but already worked in many countries worldwide. Now he’s just visiting two Irish friends who enable him to paint outdoors by staying with him and they take him to the most beautiful places.
One of them had known our blog and maintained that we are already famous!
The other was very happy as Wilfried offered him to paint him. He felt honored. Unfortunately we have no names of the two, but are convinced that the time and place for further information will be given on e-mail. We are very excited about his life story and hope to get more details from him soon.
He lives on the coast at the beginning of the Costa Brava.
It would be great to paint the first Irishman in Spain, while we did not get to Ireland this summer!
Besalú is the name of the small town where we ended up today.
Yesterday was another full day on the road. Our navigation system gives us the chance to explore unknown landscapes, such as, for example, the natural park Camargue. Wild horses, flamingos and flat swamp areas right and left from the road. And then out o nowhere La Grande Motte arises, with casinos, thousands of boats and a totally manicured park land scape. We see that it addresses the rich here.
South of Perpignan, only a few kilometres from the border with Spain we fill up as little fuel as necessary – we can understand the French protest against too high fuel prices – and find a quiet Pitch without any special equipment. It is the parking lot of the football field, and after the last players have gone home, it is a quiet place. Although first the wolves howl, then dogs bark. Since the dogs were the last ones that could be heard, we assumed that they had eaten the wolves and we relax to sleep. The visit to the city we left out, because a city with such unpronounceable name does not deserve our visit: Banyuls-dels-Aspres.
This morning we took time for our breakfast, I could even cook porridge, and about 10 o’clock we left the parking lot. The snowy mountains that shone in the evening light yesterday, in the morning also looked very inviting. Not so inviting for staying there because the reason we came to the south was the beginning of freezing weather at home.
Very unspectacular we reached the border. Compared to last year there was absolutely nothing going on here. No millions of tourists during the Christmas shopping. Absolutely dead and dull. We drove through Figueras and headed west towards the small town of Besalú. A magnificent old town from the Medieval Ages is very well preserved. We explored it by foot and discovered the miniature museum and the old bridge, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In the museum we admired a worldwide collection of miniatures in various sizes: the proportions went from 1:12 to 1: 100,000. The latter could be seen only under a microscope.
The entire old town is very tasteful. On the bridge in the arch of the entrance gate we saw Jordi who played a cozy melody on his HandPan. The acoustics on the bridge are phenomenal. You can hear the sounds into the city. Wilfried will be drawing him while he plays his music tomorrow.
Stay tuned, tomorrow hopefully there will be the first Spanish portrait.