Anti-Pope Games, Avignon – France – 4

Excerpt from the book Sports the Olympics Forgot This book describes 40 sports that ought to be played but aren’t, because I made them up. ============ Dating from 1645 the oldest athletics event is the papal shot-putt where contestants have to land their throws in a papal mitre that is placed 15 metres and 23 centimetresContinue reading “Anti-Pope Games, Avignon – France – 4”

The Anti-Pope Games, Avignon – France – 3

Excerpt from the book Sports the Olympics Forgot This book describes 40 sports that ought to be played but aren’t, because I made them up. ========= The Basque bullfighter Martin Sanchez Llorente won more Papal Bullfight contests (23) than anyone else with his time of 16 seconds in 1862 still a record. Fighters have been goredContinue reading “The Anti-Pope Games, Avignon – France – 3”

The Anti-Pope Games, Avignon – France – 2

Excerpt from the book Sports the Olympics Forgot This book describes 40 sports that ought to be played but aren’t, because I made them up. ========= The Papal Bullfighting contest has taken place since 1523 and is the oldest sport to feature at the Games. The bullfighters, dressed in a monk’s outfit similar to that ofContinue reading “The Anti-Pope Games, Avignon – France – 2”

The Anti-Pope Games – Avignon, France – 1

Excerpt from the book Sports the Olympics Forgot This book describes 40 sports that ought to be played but aren’t, because I made them up. ======== The Western Schism in the Roman Catholic Church began in 1378, when the French cardinals believed the election of Pope Urban VI was invalid. They elected Clement VII as anContinue reading “The Anti-Pope Games – Avignon, France – 1”

Villefranche-de-Conflent

From Perpignan it’s a 50-minute train journey to Villefranche-de-Conflent. The town of Villefranche is then a further 10-minute walk away from the station up the valley. The wonderful Train Jaune leaves from Villefranche and heads into the Pyrenees eventually linking up with the Barcelona – Toulouse line at Latour-de-Carol. I left the station and walkedContinue reading “Villefranche-de-Conflent”

Salses-le-Chateau

I first saw this magnificent fortress from the train and I was delighted when the train stopped at a nearby station, which meant I could easily visit the castle on public transport. The reason I saw the fort is because it’s situated in the ideal spot between the Corbieres mountains and the Leucate lagoon. TheContinue reading “Salses-le-Chateau”

Perpignan

Salvador Dali called Perpignan’s station “the centre of the world” and for a few days it was the centre of my world as I caught the train from here to Villefranche-de-Conflent, Collioure, and Salses-de-Chateau. Perpignan is a Catalan town where very little Catalan is still spoken. The Catalan flag flies from the red-brick Le CastilletContinue reading “Perpignan”

Lastours

An old textile mill serves as the entrance to the grounds of the four ruined castles of Lastours, which stand proud from the bare, rocky landscape between the Orbiel and Gresillou valleys. The four castles seen today are Cabaret, Surdespines (also called Fleur d’Espine), Quertinheux, and Tour Regine although only the first three were inContinue reading “Lastours”