In Pan's footsteps
Some years ago, the people of San Rafael in Segovia saw how the modest clothing and military uniforms of the post war returned to their small town for several weeks. At that time, the young Ofelia escaped through the woods to let her imagination race while hiding from Carmen, her sick mother, and Vidal, her stepfather, a ruthless Francoist captain. There she plunged into the pines to meet Pan, a fantastic creature that led her in a parallel world in which she had to prove her bravery as a princess.
These events occurred at the site located in the Sierra de Guadarrama, because this was the place was chosen by the Mexican director, Guillermo del Toro, as the stage for the movie Pan’s Labyrinth. Visiting these landscapes, in which Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil and Sergi López gave life to the film that won three Oscars is like walking through one of the most beautiful places in the central system. San Rafael, a town of fewer than 3,000 inhabitants, is the beginning of an eight-hour round trip on foot along the mountain paths leading to the border between Castile and León and Madrid Community.
Before embarking on the road at dawn, one can enjoy the mountain views from the 1,000 meters up in this town. Then you have to go to the Cañada Real Soriana Occidental, a path that Rafael Alberti mused along to create some of his poems. The white and red marks of the GR-88 will guide us into Pan’s universe. We leave behind the pretty constructions of San Rafael at the beginning when we reach the vast meadow of Juan Llanos, a crossroads where Franco's police chased the maquis, while Ofelia had her particular battle between fairies and monsters.
Now immersed in the stages of the film, the traveller wearing walking boots and carrying a good amount of water just enjoys and, like the girl, lets their imagination go. The action of the film takes place in Aragon, but when it gets dark, after crossing the riverbed, as we see how steep the path is in the shadows of the pines, one has the feeling of having lived one’s own fable about the darkest years of the war here in the mountains of Segovia.
Photo 1: Primer Premio Patrimonio Natura 2010. Elvira Bartolomé.
Photo 2: La Torre. Pablo de la Nava.
Photo 3: La Panera en Invierno. Isabel Montero Cano.
Photo 4: Rodaje de El Laberinto del Fauno. J.Ignacio Calvo.
Photo 5: Tinto. Javier Maurin.
Photo 6: Silencio en las noches de nieve. Mónica Riveiro González
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