III The Santa Margarida route

Others routes

Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

To go to the Ermita de Santa Margarida (Gósol – Spain) from the Plaça Major, visitors should follow the Camí de la Llaguna, which will take them to the track leading to Torrensenta. They should then follow a turn off that leads off to the right along GR150. This is the same old route that starts from Gósol and passes through the gorge and goes along to the Collada de Mola (mountain pass). On the way up, there is a small monument that is known as "La Santeta" (Little Saint), which used to be crowned by either a border marking cross or a figure of the saint. Judging from its simplicity and its stonework, this seems to be a Romanesque remain, but in fact it is not.

As well as being Christian signs, these saints or border marking crosses always show that there is a village or church nearby. For those following the path on foot who were tired, these signs provided the hope of soon finding peace and being able to make the appropriate offerings and then rest.

The Santeta was a place at which to rest and take a short break before reaching the Ermita. It also provided solace for those who felt that they could not reach the top.

But if visitors carry on up the previously mentioned path, they will soon come across the previously cited chapel of Santa Margarida. She was the saint who presided over it and who was venerated in the local area.

Ermita de Santa Margarida. Chapel with oculus, portal and two small windows. Picasso was eager to discover the hermitages and their Romanesque remains and visited this hermitage and all of the others in the local area.

The hermitage has an east-west orientation, which is very similar to that of the Romanesque churches. When the sun rises early in the morning from behind Pedraforca and bathes the surrounding peaks with its light, which soon spreads over the pines, thyme and gorse of the mountain, its rays enter the chapel through the oculus and the two shuttered, but glassless, windows that are positioned on either side of the main facade.

When up by the hermitage, it is possible to look out over the mountain scenery that surrounds Gósol: the Serra del Vert ridge, Pedraforca, Serra del Cadí and the Serra d'Ensija. It is also possible to see a large extent of pastures.

An Aplec (meeting or gathering) is held at the Ermita de Santa Margarida on 20th July, which is the date on which religious acts and ceremonies were traditionally celebrated.

This procession used to set out from Gósol and follow the Camí de les Fonts (fountain path). It used to attract people from all over the local districts, who would come with their animals appropriately groomed and liveried. Once the ceremony and the blessing were over, the people used to gather under the trees to "have a drink", sitting in a circle and sharing their food, which would usually include: jacket potatoes, seasoned spring onions, streaked bacon, sausage, spicy blood sausage, ham and mouthfuls of wine. This meal was comparable with anything provided at the best prepared of tables or the most exquisite of meals.

After a short nap, the young people would organise a dance at the farmyard of Santa Margarida, with the music being provided by people playing the accordion and the violin.

In 1906 Picasso participated in this festival and both he and Fernande Olivier enjoyed the revelry.

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