Cultural Tour 2021 (August 12th – 16th 2021)

Celebrating the AIMS Festival’s 20th anniversary!

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 Friends of AIMS US 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 have been invited each year by Reig’s family to a traditional lunch at their summer house. We may nag him again to see his hydroelectric generating station that powers the neighborhood. This kind of friendship has led to a recent proposal for a number of Solsona friends to visit US. I am sure we will return the favor and be glad to host them.

In the past, everyone enjoyed an easy hike up the beautiful trails that border the Pyrenees. We may repeat that hike.  Or some may wish for a bicycle excursion thru narrow streets of historic towns. More daring folks can opt for mountain biking or four wheeling off road. This is a small private tour, all things are flexible.

If all goes as planned, we will also be dining with Mayor David who has been a key supporter of AIMS. The tour of Solsona will not be complete without a reception at the city hall! We will also 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 21 days. We will not be able to see all of them, only several concerts in the middle of the long program. This is when both the string instrument students and the wind instrument students perform together. 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.

Since this is the 20th anniversary of AIMS Festival, we are sure to expect some celebration on our last night of stay.  Peter and Seonhee worked tirelessly to make this one of the best music festivals in Europe. The talent of the students and the dedication by the music professors are just amazing and you can feel that in every concert they perform. I hope many of the AIMS supports are there in person to celebrate this big milestone with them.

Please review the tentative schedule of the cultural tour below. For any questions or suggestions, please email me at chonglee00@comcast.net.  We are also likely to spend several days in Barcelona shortly after the Solsona visit, so an urge for a shopping spree can wait a bit.  Of course, we are open to suggestions on the tour and any personal preferences.  However, we recommend a relatively quick action and early travel planning.  The number of people planning to travel this summer is increasing rapidly.  Spain is aiming for 70% vaccination by August and some vaccinated visitors may be allowed in sooner than that.  Like Rick Steves says, keep on travelling!

You can find the current regulations for US citizens traveling to Spain here and here

Reig’s summer house

Peter and Seon-hee’s house

Teatre comarcal

Hiking in Sant Llorenç

Our hotel: Hotel Sant Roc

Solsona, old town

Sputnik bar

Thursday August 12th

Arrival to BCN airport, transfer to Solsona (1 hour).

Relax at the hotel, light lunch in Solsona’s old city. For those who like: 4.30PM social concert, 7PM street concert.

8 PM welcome dinner at the hotel’s terrace.

Friday August 13th

Visiting Solsona (if we have new visitors): Meet the mayor at city hall, guided stroll through the old city.

Lunch at Fermin restaurant.

Afternoon: visit El Miracle on our way to Cardona.

8PM dinner in Cardona Castle.

10PM Faculty concert (Live streaming via TVU Networks).

Saturday August 14th

Morning: breakfast reception at Seon-hee’s and Peter’s house. Easy hike up a mountain or alternatively off road car experience. At noon there is a student concert in Solsona.

Lunch at restaurant Mare de la Font

Afternoon: heading to La Seu d’Urgell. Guided tour of the old city. Tapas experiences. 8PM concert.

Sunday August 15th

Meet Reig’s family and lunch at their mill house. Short visit to Seon-hee’s and Peter’s future home.

8PM Symphony concert followed by an AIMS 20th birthday party (to be organized).

Monday August 16th

Check out of hotel, head for Barcelona (1 hour).

For any inquiries, please email to: info@friendsofaimsus.org

El Miracle monastery

Lake at Sant Llorenç