Friends of AIMS US – Cultural Tour 2019

Friends of AIMS US 2016 tour

The annual AIMS Music Festival is located in the town of Solsona, about 100Km North of Barcelona. Solsona and the surrounding towns are near the foothills of the famous Pyrenees Mountains, a region rich in history and culture. This is a perfect backdrop for a classical music festival, which the students, teachers, and a few lucky visitors would all appreciate.

Each year AIMS offers a very private cultural tour to some of the generous supporters of AIMS, all-expense paid.  That includes transportation, hotel, and gourmet meals, and of course the music concerts.  We get to see some of the famous and touristic places too, but by and large this is an exclusive tour, they also take us to some of the intriguing and fascinating places the locals know.

Another aspect of the private cultural tour is that we get to meet and make friends with the local folks who also share the same passion and support for AIMS.  We met Reig’s family who graciously hosted us for a traditional lunch at their house, and this year Mr. Reig may proudly show us his hydroelectric generating station that powers the neighborhood.  If all goes as planned, we will also be dining with the current mayor of town who has been a key supporter of AIMS.  For sure, we will get to meet some of the students, and most of the teachers who are well known professors at various universities in Europe.

There are over 45 concerts planned for the festival over the span of 18 days.  We will not be able to see all of them, only several concerts near the end of the long program.  The venues vary, and in different towns, but the visitors will be delighted to be sitting in age old traditional churches, listening to the students and teachers perform classical music that is so fitting for the surroundings.

The organizers of AIMS made some notes from last year and are offering the visitors a chance to hike some of the beautiful trails that border the Pyrenees, and even a mountain bike excursion to a few who want to enjoy the scenery while in motion!  And the best part is, there is no penalty for sitting out on those excursions and sleep in.

The end of the festival is usually celebrated with a bang at a local pub called Sputnik, where the younger generation party until dawn and the older generation tries to keep up.  If we are lucky, there will be a repeat performance by teachers and students who will throw a rock concert, while they are sober that is.

Even though Sunday is the official end of the festival, we will spend another two days to enjoy.  On Monday we will be invited to a unique dinner party in Castellar de la Ribera where we will meet genuine farmers from the village.

Did I say the founders of AIMS, Seon-hee and Peter, own a 11th century church?  Just kidding, they “live” in a church Sant Pere de Castellar de la Ribera right next to where we will have the party. This tour is as private as it can get!

We offer you to review the tour schedule below and form your own opinion. We have confirmed several couples and wish to add 2 or 3 more couples to the tour.

(For information on AIMS, go to www.aims.cat or www.friendsofaimsus.org)

Friday, 16/8/2019
18:00 Arrival to Solsona. Check in at the hotel Sant Roc.
(Solsona has 9,000 inhabitants, located between Barcelona and the French border in the Pre-Pyrenees mountains)
19:30 Leaving for Sant Llorenç de Morunys (2,000 inhabitant medieval village, in a valley surrounded by mountains and lakes)
20:00 Dinner at the El Monegal restaurant (The owners are great lovers of classical music and also host one of the earlier AIMS Festival 2019 concerts).
22.00 Concert at Sant Llorenç church (Baroque organ, medieval altarpiece, impressive Baroque chapel, Romanesque cloister)

Saturday, 17/8/2019
10:00 Solsona guided tour (medieval walls, towers, gates, the cathedral, bishop palace, etc.)
12:00 Student concert at the Polivalent hall of Solsona.
14:00 Lunch with the mayor of Solsona, AIMS Foundation board and AIMS faculty members members at the Fermin restaurant.

Afternoon: visit to Cardona’s medieval castle and “Torre de la Minyona” and to El Miracle  Basilica with the stunning   Baroque altarpiece and Benedictian monastery.

Evening: For our music lovers: AIMS concert in the small town of Moià at 21:00 (one and a half hours drive). And if you prefer to relax: dinner at the Mare de la Font restaurant of Solsona

Sunday, 18/8/2019
Morning: get some sleep or else enjoy a nice café and croissant in Solsona’s terrace bars.
12:00 Students concert at Solsona’s Polivalent hall.
14:00 Lunch at the Pí de Sant Just restaurant
20:00 Closing AIMS concert at Teatre Comarcal in Solsona
23:00 Farewell AIMS party at Sputnik pub in Solsona, rock concert offered by AIMS faculty included

Monday, 19/8/2019
Is the day to enjoy the lovely countryside and meet local people.
Morning: Peter and Seon-hee will guide us to a beautiful and smooth forest walk in their village.
13:30 Paella lunch in Olius in “El Molí dels Cups” with the Reig family (5 km from Solsona)
Afternoon: get a bit of rest.
20:00 We all meet at Peter and Seon-hee’s church house.
21:30 Village dinner party at Castellar de la Ribera square, outside Peter and Seon-hee’s second home, (10 km from Solsona). Visit the church, bell tower and the school-museum.

Tuesday, 20/8/2019
Morning: On our way to Barcelona we will visit the spectacular monastery of Montserrat.
14:00 Lunch at the Els Torrents restaurant near Montserrat.     
16:00 We will head to the airport or wherever your next destination would be.

As with any private tour, we will do our best to accommodate any special needs or suggestions.  Please feel free to contact us.

Reig’s summer house

Peter and Seon-hee’s house

2017 at Peter’s and Seon-hee’s house

Our hotel: Hotel Sant Roc

Solsona, old town

Concert at Sant Llorenç church

El Miracle monastery

Cardona castle

Concert in Moià

Teatre comarcal

Sputnik