Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions


Index of documents > Euromeetings Magazine > Euromeetings Number 18

The directive of the European Groupe of Retired Workers of Savings Banks and Financial Institutions welcomed us in April for the 19th Euromeeting. 298 members from 6 European countries gathered this year in Hotel Golden Bahia  & Spa.

In the Annual Plenary Assembly this issue was discussed: “How will Europe get out of the crisis and what will be the role of retired persons in the future?” Representatives of every country gave speeches regarding this subject. Reporter Mr. Dominique Christian, PhD in Philosophy, highlighted how the European crisis could be an opportunity for society. For Europe to have a stabilty, two things are needed: effort and education. In the debates, we realised this crisis is affecting all the families.

Our lovely guide Anna showed us her homeland, Catalonia, in a warm and professional way. Our first visit was to Begur. In its Old Quarter you can find the remains of numerous defence towers. Many houses and 19th-century mansions show the wealth of Begur people who emigrated to “the Americas” and Cuba, the so-called “indianos” who came back with important fortunes.

After that, we walked by the narrow and paved streets of Pals to visit its Medieval Quarter. From its ancient wall, where Torre de las Horas (Hours Tower) stands out, we could admire the beautiful landscape of Baja Empordà county.

It was a sunny day and the sky was clear. Montserrat was our next destination. Montserrat is a 1,241 metre impressive mountain where you can find the monastery and sanctuary of the famous Virgen of Montserrat, also called la Moreneta. After having lunch in Barcelona´s Olympic Port area, we made a short visit to the Gothic Quarter, Plaza de España, Montjuic hill, Sagrada familia and la Rambla with its famous Gaudi-style buildings.

The next day we visited Gerona’s cathedral. Its most unusual feature is the single nave that constitutes the broadest Gothic vault in the world. In its museum we could see the Tapestry of Creation, from the 11th century, and Anna explained the characters you can see in the tapestry during our visit. It was also the first time we visited France during a Euromeeting. We went to Perpignan, a city located overlooking river Tet and also the capital of Languedoc. Perpignan constitutes an important agricultural market (wine and agricultural products). We walked around the Old Quarter, full of historical buildings mainly in Gothic style, and we went up Le Castillet fortress to enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of Perpignan.

A tourist attraction in Cote Vermeille is Collioure, north of the Pyrenees, in the production area of a sweet wine called Banyuls.
Collioure is an old fishermen town divided into two bay ports by the Royal Castle. In its cemetery you can visit the tomb of famous Spanish poet Antonio Machado. What is more, Colliure was also a source of inspiration for painters such as Henri Matisse, Andre Derain, George Braque and Pablo Picasso. In the old wine growing property “Le Domaine de Rombeau” in Riversaltes we were prepared an exquisite meal and we could try the best moscatel wine. Each guest was also given a bottle, which was a great surprise.
Travelling to Besalu we made a quick trip to Lake L’Estany de Banyoles. In 1992 this lake was arranged to celebrate the rowing competitions for the Olympic Games. Besalu´s medieval town is located at the feet of Spanish Pyrenees. An important feature of this city is its bridge, built in the 14th century. “Mikwe” is the only Jewish ritual bath in the Iberian Peninsula. A building with huge eggs and towers on the roof, bread roll reliefs in the dark red wall and an amazing dome is Dali Museum in Figueres.

Golden mannequins welcomed us in the inner courtyard. This building, located in the city centre, is the biggest surrealistic object in the world. During Dali´s childhood this museum was the city theatre. The theatre was destroyed during the Civil War and for years lied as a ruin until Dali and Figueras´ mayor decided to rebuild it to make a museum. When he was alive, Dali decorated the museum with his works and exhibitions. This artist lies under the museum´s dome, and its tomb is decorated with a Cadillac that was driven by him.

It is always very beautiful when all Europeans meet. We would like to thank ex president Mr. Jean Claude Chretien for his years at work and we heartily wish our new president good luck and good handling to overcome the difficult tasks still waiting for him.

We also want to thank Amparo and Santiago, from Halcón Viajes, for this wonderful week, and interpreter Fernando for his flawless translations (keep going).

Ruth Rebert  and Christa Saia

"It is an honour for me to have received a conmemorative plaque from president Mr. Chrétien. It was a huge surprise." Ruth Rebert