Zinnober-Küste

The Cinnabar Coast, near Portbou, Spain, where the Walter Benjamin hiking path ends.

From the memoirs of Lisa Fittko, who guided many groups of refugees from the Nazis over the difficult route through the Pyrenees:

“Far below, back where we came from, you saw the dark blue Mediterranean Sea. On the other side, ahead of us, cliffs fell abruptly to a glass plate made of transparent turquoise—a second sea? Yes, of course, that was the Spanish coast. Behind us, to the north the semicircle of Catalán’s Roussillon mountains with the Côte Vermeille, the Cinnabar Coast, an autumnal earth with innumerable yellowish-red tones… I gasped for air. I’d never seen such beauty.”

(Tsinn OH bah   KISSED ah.)

Chemin Walter Benjamin, Ruta Walter Benjamin

The path Walter Benjamin walked over the Pyrenee mountains from France to Spain to try to get to Lisbon and catch a boat to the U.S. in 1940, only to have a Spanish guard say he would be sent back to Nazi-occupied France because he lacked a French exit stamp in his passport.

The route has now been made into a hiking path you can follow, marked by painted arrows and piles of stones.

There’s a small spring, the Font del Bana, with a sign saying this is where Mr. Benjamin’s group took their first long rest.

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