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Camping and a Wedding in the medieval village of Gimerá in Lleida

18 July, 2012 (07:57) | Living in Europe | By: admin

This is Sol and Jordi. We’ve been friends with them for over 3 years now and I’ve been meaning to (and still plan to) devote a blog post to promote their Monster Museum and the crewe of outcasts that costume themselves like the undead and follow and help them in their endeavors. These kids are enterprising. They remind Mark and I of ourselves 20 years ago. They have their own business which when we met them was located on our street in Gracia. The day the Monster Museum opened up I went in, even though I was dressed totally “uncool” and aware of it. I had just come back from playing tennis when I saw all these goth kids hanging out a few doors up. I had never seen them in our neighborhood before. “Wow! How cool is that?” I thought to myself, “a bit of the 80’s on our own street”. I considered ducking home to change into hipper attire, but I’m one of those inner conviction cool people so I was at ease as I introduced myself and purchased a few macabre oddities in my funky clay court tennis fatigues.

Jordi and Sol organize events, like Zombie walks, and they make cheesy horror movies for fun. Jordi has a band (called Eyaculación Post Mortem ) with a big following in Mexico. He is a talented composer; we’ve been selling some of his trashy horror tracks on To make money on musicloops you have to crank out hundreds of tracks. Our top earner makes an average of $5000 a month. Jordi’s too busy to submit a lot music at this point and time, but his sales are gaining a slow but steady momentum. Come every Sept./October he gets great sales, which inspires him to write and submit a couple more. We’re hoping he’ll compile a Halloween CD for Partners in Rhyme when he has time. His music is very B-52’s meets the Cramps. We dig it. One of his tracks reminds me of the old hit “Do The Monster Mash.” Here is a page of Jordi tracks available on for any Jordi fans reading this.
Jordi as Nosferatu.

One year Mark and I allowed ourselves to be made up as Zombies, with the following result:

In “the old days” (3 years ago, when we were still living in Gracia) Jordi would come over to jam with Mark. Jordi is a multi-talented guy. In the following shots he plays his theramin while Mark sits at the Partners in Rhyme protools desk:

Now that we have moved to the beach, and Jordi and Sol have relocated a few blocks away to another street in Gracia, instead of living and working on the same block, its more of an effort for us to get together. They actually came out to visit us in Barceloneta once, while our place was still a work in progress…

Jordi and Sol made a rare appearance at the beach when they visited us. They and most of their friends are shade dwellers, reminding us of our Hollywood selves a couple decades ago, when Mark and I first got together. (it took 5 years for us to make our union “official”). Their visit to our new, pre-modeled apartment at the beach cemented our friendship. These guys are the alpha dogs of their pack and I felt honored that they would come seek us out just for friendship’s sake. We try to help them out however we can when they need it and they make sure to invite us when they have an event or party.

Jordi and Sol have had cameo appearances in past blogs, and although we don’t get together very often we try to make it to their birthdays and the occasional happening event they spearhead. In March of 2010 I did a blog about the strange snowstorm that hit Gracia – in that weird one day blizzard they were our accomplices; we got in a snowball fight and  built a silly snowman in the plaça. A natural friendship evolved, because our rappoire has always been easy. Jordi “gets” me and my Florentine sense of humor. (Florentines are famous for being quick on their feet and to always have a dry but quick wit. If I didn’t know better, I’d think Jordi was a Florentine).

OKAY – I’ve provided a bit of backlog to our friendship. In the future I hope to do a whole blog on them and on their Monster Museum Shock Horror funny but scary following of zombie friends and outcasts, a bit like our scene 20 years ago in Hollywood, only without the heavy drugs. Same look though, and same taste in music. Mark and I quickly became icons in their quirky circle.

As you can see from the following 2 photos, I’m a client of their store. I used to buy gloves like this at Luz de Jesus when it was on Melrose. The skeleton gloves came in handy the day it snowed in Gracia. Though its rarely cold enough to actually wear them, on that day I was patting myself on the back for having recently bought these macabre mittens from them.

In early May we received this invite:

So when Jordi and Sol invited us to their wedding last month, even though we had just returned from Italy a few days before the event, we made the effort to attend. They were to be married on June 9th in a tiny medieval village in Catalunya that has no train or bus stations and is a 2 hour drive from Barcelona.

We arranged to rent a campervan for the week, an unrealized fantasy we’ve had ever since moving to Europe. As it were, the only available camper-van that would suit our needs was available on June 7th only, so we made the trek to Lleida two days before the wedding and one full day before any of our friends would make it to the tiny town of Gimerá. It became a family holiday. (Our family being ourselves and Quixote, who is perched on my shoulder in the next photo of us in front of our humongous vehicle at the trailer pick-up depot).

When Mark was 16 his dad made him work summer’s at a construction yard. At a very young age he  learned how to drive stick in a dump truck that had 8 gears going forward and 8 gears in reverse. He had to take loads of trash and dirt to the dump and dump it. The first time he tried to dump a load he forgot to unhook the tailgate and the whole truck almost went into the dump. As a result, Mark is a natural at navigating the big trailer. I’m impressed. He really is a capable driver!

The drive to Gimerá is fairly simple, chiefly involving one highway and then a well marked turn-off. Once or twice we had to pull over to consult Mark’s iPhone GPS (I’m hopeless at applied GPS knowledge) at which time the actual size of the vehicle became apparent; its not easy to get on and off the freeway, let alone make a u-turn. But we manage.

We arrive in the tiny village of Gimerá by early evening. There are no camp grounds in these parts and we don’t know the town yet, so we simply find a nice spot in the hill overlooking the town and pull over.

This is a view from the van of our first night camping spot:

The driver’s seat and the passenger seats are on swivels, as illustrated by this photo of Mark on our first morning.


In the morning we make coffee on our handy little campervan stove. This trailer has everything we need, including utensils and cook ware. After coffee we drive back down into the one lane town and park our monstruous vehicle. We go to a local café where we are warmly attended to by the owner and her son-in-law. They tell us a bit about Gimerá, that in winter the population is only about 175 people but it fills up in summer, up to 1000 people. The grammar school (where her daughter goes) has only 11 students – all the schools in the region share the same teachers; evidently the teachers schedule their time so that all the neighboring villages get the same lessons. The teachers rotate. This fascinates me… but I’ll move on for the sake of narrative and photo sharing…

After breakfast we send a text to Jordi to find out when they will arrive, and are informed they have no idea, sometime in the evening, that they were going crazy organizing loose ends. So Mark and I set out to explore a bit.

The most obvious place to explore first is the medieval tower which can be viewed from everywhere in Gimerá. So we drive to the tower and park.

These next two photos show the town of Gimerá down below.

I take so many photos that I’ll continue for a bit with some thumbnail pix you can click on to enlarge:

Of course, we have to climb the tower. There are cool peep holes looking out as we climb to the top.

View from the top:

Quixote is a fun dog to travel with:

We go into the church, where in many ways the most impressive thing was the grafitti from the period it was converted into a prison in the 1930’s:

After spending the morning climbing around the tower and the church etc. we set off to find the place where tomorrow’s marriage ceremony takes place, called “El Sanctuario”. We are told by a man working at the church that the sanctuario is nearby, indicating with his hands how to get there.

We set out and find it easily, but save the photo taking for tomorrow’s ceremony, its time for lunch! So we head back down to the restaurant/bar where we are welcomed like celebrities. The whole small town seems to know who we are, because Jordi’s best friend Guillaume is from Gimerá and his father still owns a home here, and everyone know’s Guillame, who will arrive later with Jordi and Sol.

More photos of Gimerá, only taken from below:

Gimerá is surrounded by wheat fields:

In the above thumbnails I love the one where the wheat grows taller than my dog, and also the one of Mark in the middle of a wheatfield.

On our way into Gimerá we had passed some ruins which we now return to:

After scampering through the Roman ruins we decide to drive back to the Gimerá tower and camp next to it for the night. It seems like the most logical spot; its hidden from the town below and is protected from the wind with its stone walls.

Our trailer is big, but it tucks nicely behind the tower. Mark pulls out the awning and makes himself at home. He relaxes while Quixote and I go out and explore the mesmerizing landscape with my new Nikon:

We take a poetic walk to the nearby cemetary (which we find closed). The light turns a magical rouge:

color bursting in the sky

As Quixote and I make it back down to the trailer, just as we get there, so do Jordi and Sol, who had just arrived in town and have walked up to the tower with their small posse of friends, unaware that they would find us at the top. Perfect timing!

Jordi and Sol the day before they are to get married. We manage to fit 6 people into our party trailer. That was fun!


We spend a comfortable night in our campervan, waving at passing friendly tractors and passers-by. Everyone in this town is friendly. I find myself speaking Catalan, as many of the locals here do no speak anything but Catalan. I have a good ear and memory for languages, and it proves to be helpful more often than not when we travel.

The next morning we go to our café. Almost on cue, Jordi arrives with his friend Guillaume. It is the morning of the wedding and I will soon take this blog into part 2.

1) Jordi the day of his wedding. He will be costumed and made up as Wolfman for the wedding later today. 2) Guillaume lived here in Gimerá until almost 11 years old, before his family moved to Gracia in Barcelona. His father still owns a house in the village, viewable from where we are sitting.


Two more poetic shots taken last night on my hike:


The wedding itself has an 80’s theme. Music of the B-52’s greets us as we walk from our parking spot (where we plan to spend the night) to the Sanctuary, which is the perfect setting for this alternative wedding.

1) View from our parking spot 2) Walkway leading to the Sanctuario.

some thumbnails of people arriving:

This is where my Nikon batteries give out and my trusty iPhone finishes the documentation. So I’m going to cut to the chase here and try to end this lengthy post with photos of Sol, bride-to-be and groom, Jordi, dressed as wolfman for the occasion:

as a post script I add some thumbnails of some of the colorful invitees (all of them love to pose):

… Sealed by a kiss …