Thursday, 10 October 2013

Walking Women

We have been talking about trementinaires.

Trementina is an extract of Abies alba, the silver fir (or, says one source from Pinus sylvestris, Scots Pine). The sap was collected and filtered, and used to make a strong-smelling balsam.

Trementina was produced by women working in the Pyrenees. These women then set off on foot, on long routes through Catalunya. Our neighbour Isidre told me yesterday that he can remember a pair of trementinaires – mother and daughter – who came past the house two or three times a year. They carried trementina, but also other herbal remedies, oils and salves, and had cures for animals as well as humans. The family always purchased something, and normally invited the trementinaires to eat.

Trementinaires. Picture from

Isidre said that the trementinaires, who followed the same itinerary each year, would sleep in the house or barn at Can Marc

These were independent, travelling women from the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th;  very different from the stereotype we might have of Catalan women of that era.

There is a wee museum about the trementinaries, in the Alt Urgell:

More about the trementinaires in this video:

1 comment:

Teacher said...

very nice reference to Trementinaires! I recomend the visit to the museum in Tuixent to grasp a better sense of the history about these women...the documentary is also worth to watch. thanks for sharing it!