As we explained in the February article (The Julio Antonio Institute launches the LIRA project thanks to an Erasmus + grant), one of the goals of the LIRA project is to highlight the richness and beauty of the rural area where we live . This has been the central axis of the second round of learning activities, carried out on 20, 21 and 26 May, and which have mainly consisted of visiting local entities and producers to learn about the fruits of the earth and its elaboration. First we went to the village of Riba-roja d’Ebre, where the members of the Friends of Riba-roja d’Ebre Association were waiting for us, ready to guide us to a place full of history and nature: the summit where the hermitage of Santa Maria Magdalena de Berrús is currently located.
The guides of the Association explained to us the curiosity that makes it unique, and is that in 1968 it was moved stone by stone from the village of Berrús to the top of the mountain where it is now, to prevent it from being buried under water. of the reservoir to be built. We were able to visit it from the inside and they even let us ring the bells! Near the hermitage there is an area where remains of the trenches of the Civil War remain. There we were able to put ourselves in the shoes of the soldiers who, since July 25, 1938 (beginning of the Battle of the Ebro), had been skinning themselves to defend the territory. The views from the trenches are breathtaking and the guides pointed out the exact spot where Catalonia and Aragon are today. Mel Somper beekeepers were also waiting for us on the hill of the hermitage.
They told us about the medicinal properties of the aromatic herbs typical of our lands such as thyme, rosemary, oregano… They told us how honey is made and how bees live. We were able to smell, taste, try… We learned a lot and we loved it! A few meters further down we visited one of the best preserved juniper oil ovens. During the first Online Mobility, the Friends of Riba-roja d’Ebre Association came to tell us what these ovens were, remnants of a recent past that had almost been forgotten: these circular constructions of dry stone, of large dimensions, they were used to distill the oil dry by heating the stems of the shrub called cadec, juniper or juniper. They were very important for the economy of Riba-roja in the pre-industrial period of the 17th century. Finally, back at the high school, we stopped to take a look at the Riba-roja dam, where we were impressed by the large size of the floodgates seen up close.
The next day, May 21, we headed first to the village of Miravet, from where we crossed the river by the traditional boat crossing, from which we learned that it is the last river ferry in Catalonia that runs without a motor. , taking advantage of only the power of the water and the expertise of the boatman. On the other side of the river, we walked to the center of Ginestar along the Camí de l’Aubasta, a path that borders the river and that the Lo Margalló association has recently recovered. Following the Camí de les Riberes to the village we could see the great variety of fruit trees that make up the agricultural landscape of our region (cherries in Miravet; pears, peaches, apricot trees, olive trees and vineyards in Ginestar).
After breakfast we visited two of the most important production companies in the town. On the one hand, the centennial agricultural cooperative “La Ginesta”, where we visited the mill to see the process of making olive oil, as well as wine. On the other hand, the Suñer winery, where we learned all the curiosities of wine production, from the grapes in the vine to the wine in the bottle. The highlight of the visit was the rural house Cal Pubill (also owned by the Suñer family), an old manor house from the early twentieth century, very large and well preserved. Finally, we split into two groups for two simultaneous visits. One of the groups went to the town of Tivissa to visit the land and facilities of the company Cerima Cherries, dedicated to the production, packaging and export of cherries around the world.
The other group went to Móra d’Ebre for a guided tour of La Masrojana, a family-run international company that produces olives of regional varieties, olive pâtés and extra virgin olive oils. We felt privileged to know and know that we have these two industries of such magnitude at home. Thanks to these visits we were able to get an idea of the weight that has had and has the agricultural sector in our region, both in the past and today, and how this sector has been able to make the leap from the local market to world thanks to the quality and the job well done. 2nd Online Mobility A few days later (May 26) we exchanged impressions with our European partners, in a video call led by colleagues from the Marcel Pagnol Institute in Noyen-sur-Sarthe, which was to host this second mobility.
Given the situation of the pandemic in which we are still, this mobility has been done virtually, in a similar way to the first, with the difference that this time we have been able to leave the center to explore the territory in person, as we have just explained. With this second mobility, we end the LIRA project for this 2020-2021 academic year. It has been an unforgettable experience, from which we have learned a great deal, and it leaves us with fond memories. We are very eager to continue learning and to be able to do in person the two pending mobilities (Slovakia and Portugal) in the next academic year 2021-2022, in order to finish the project in the best possible way: living together, conserving and sharing our beloved rural areas!