A river runs through it (2024)

Travel: Catalonia.

"Don’t worry. If you capsize we will see you.” Inspired by these words of encouragement, I ease myself into my bright yellow plastic kayak but am slightly sceptical of my ability to stay upright for the two-and-a-half-hour journey. As the sun has not yet risen over the mountains surrounding the Ebro delta, there is a primordial mist over the slow-moving waters. We are in Terres de l’Ebre, in southern Catalonia.

As I try to figure out where my centre of gravity is, having already had one very close call, I notice the current has begun taking us downstream. With two hours and 25 minutes still to go on our journey, I am finding it increasingly difficult to stay in this awkward position, but fear of capsizing keeps me from fidgeting too much. As almost all my fellow travellers have paddled on ahead and are out of earshot, I am beginning to feel a slight foreboding. I can’t get the line from Apocalypse Now out of my head: “Never get out the boat!”

The next time I look up we are at the village of Miravet. overlooked by its hilltop Moorish castle. I feel we are drifting back in time. Everything is perfect, down to a cat sunning itself on the river bank. Having caught up with the rest of the group, with my kayaking skills improving with each paddle, I relax momentarily … until a very large, pink-scaled fish (probably a carp, I am told later) cruises by within arm’s reach.

Now that my impression of travelling in a prehistoric river is confirmed, it is unnerving to say the least. After a few more near capsizes, we group together for a quick mid-morning snack, which entails all 10 kayaks lining up side-by-side and passing around pastries and red wine. The wine, incidentally, comes in a gourd, as if it isn’t difficult enough.

Setting off again down the Ebro river we are given our next challenge: to paddle through an abandoned boat shed with a tiny, two-foot square entrance. With paddle in hand, I can’t help thinking I resemble a dog with very large stick trying to enter a narrow doorway and getting repeatedly stuck. Eventually I crack it, I’m off again and the finish is, at last, in sight. By the time we get there, I am numb from the waist down due to the cramped seating position, and need to learn how to walk all over again.

This part of Catalonia is almost tourist-free. With no real rail service inland from the coast, and a good two- to three-hour drive from Barcelona, you have to want to make the journey. The upside is the feeling of seeing the real Spain, the one where people are genuinely friendly and totally uninterested in equal measure.

Spain’s vias verdes (green ways) are often reclaimed rail routes and a great way to discover the countryside off the beaten track and away from traffic and urban fuss. The next leg of our journey is by bicycle along a vias verde which runs along the route of the old Zafan Valley railway line, built to link Tortosa and Aragon to export the region’s products. It closed in 1973.

Unlike kayaking, I have cycled many times and find this far less daunting, to the extent that we are coasting rather then cycling -- it’s all downhill. The only way to describe the scenery is that it comes straight out of an old Western movie. As we zigzag through tunnels and over viaducts, the mountains and gorges seem to float by as if we are watching an unedited panoramic shot from a John Ford film. Our first stop is a town called Bot, which is unremarkable other than for the ice-cold beer served in a local cafe and vaguely funny name.

There are more than 40 tunnels along this green way. Some we pass through in the blink of the eye, while others are more than 800m long. Some can be extremely dark in the middle -- as I discover after almost falling off twice.

We end our journey at El Pinell de Brai, a town with a Modernist-style co-operative wine cellar, complete with magnificent glazed ceramic frieze on the facade.

Getting there

KLM has return flights to Barcelona from Glasgow from £250. Visit www.klm.com. Ryanair has return flights to Barcelona from Edinburgh from £106 return. Visit www.ryanair.com.

Where to stay

Hotel Les Capcades, Horta de Sant Joan, has double rooms from £220. Visit www.hotellescapcades.com. Hotel Vilar Rural, Arnes, has double rooms from £85. Visit www.vilars rurals.com/vrarnes. Hotel Berenguer IV, Tortosa, has rooms from £54. Visit www.hotelberenguer.com.

Other info

For kayak hire visit www.beniemocions.cat. For bike hire visit www.viasverdes.com.

A river runs through it (2024)


What is the main point of a river that runs through it? ›

It is a story about Maclean and his brother, Paul, who was beaten to death with a gun butt in 1938. It is about not understanding what you love, about not being able to help.

What is the message of A River Runs Through It? ›

The Healing Power of Nature

For Norman Maclean, peace is found in nature, and the natural world represents a haven from the threats posed by human frailty and evil. In the Maclean family, there is no strict separation between religion and nature. Nature is an expression of perfection and the oneness of all creation.

What is the moral story of A River Runs Through It? ›

Instead, they understand that the Reverend Maclean's lessons were about how to behave no matter what life brings; about how to wade into the unpredictable stream and deal with whatever happens with grace, courage and honesty. It is the film's best achievement that it communicates that message with such feeling.

What is a famous quote from the movie A River Runs Through It? ›

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basem*nt of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

What does fly fishing symbolize in a river that runs through it? ›

In A River Runs Through It, fly fishing provides a model for the pastoral movement of retreat and return that informs Maclean's story.

What does the river symbolize in A River Runs Through It? ›

The title, "A River Runs Through It," is symbolic. It refers to the physical river that flows through the Montana landscape where the story is set. However, it also symbolizes the flow of life, time, and experiences.

Is river Runs through It based on a true story? ›

Summaries. Two sons of a stern minister - one reserved, one rebellious - grow up in rural 1920s Montana while devoted to fly fishing. A River Runs Through is a cinematographically stunning true story of Norman Maclean.

What does the ending of a river run through it mean? ›

By the end of the story, Norman has created the text his father told him to write. He accepts that there are no answers to certain questions, and he can see life itself as a river cutting through eternity, where "all things merge into one."

Does a river run through it have a happy ending? ›

In the end, the eldest son stands along in the river where so much was learned and you can sense his anguish at what he has lost during the course of his life. The final lines of the film pretty much sum it up. "In the end, all things run together into one, and a river runs through it.

How old was Brad Pitt when he did a river run through it? ›

Brad Pitt was nearly 30 when A River Runs Through It came out, but he was mainly known for a bit role in Thelma and Louise and Cool World, where he played a police detective that winds up in a world of cartoons. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, it was not.

What is the religion in a river that runs through it? ›

Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It, excerpt. In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing. We lived at the junction of great trout rivers in western Montana, and our father was a Presbyterian minister and a fly fisherman who tied his own flies and taught others.

What does the river symbolize in the story? ›

The river itself is a path, which lends itself quite well to be a powerful illustration of a journey a hero must take. As the river flows along — so does our narrative. The river can not only symbolize a path that one must take but can also highlight the descent into or out of something.

What is the Missoula quote in A River Runs Through It? ›

One of life's quiet excitements is to stand somewhat apart from yourself and watch yourself softly becoming the author of something beautiful even if it is only a floating ash. The world is full of bastards, the number increasing rapidly the further one gets from Missoula, Montana.

Why is A River Runs Through It a good movie? ›

The film shimmers with grace and visual beauty. Redford directs with a fluid grace... to capture the idyllic, light-drenched aura of Maclean's early childhood memories. Even the seemingly unexciting fly-fishing sequences take on a magical air worthy of Spielberg.

What are the last lines in A River Runs Through It book? ›

This handsome edition is designed and illustrated by Barry Moser. There are thirteen two-color wood engravings. From its first magnificent sentence, "In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing", to the last, "I am haunted by waters", A River Runs through It is an American classic.

Why is A River Runs Through It good? ›

A River Runs Through It Reviews

The film shimmers with grace and visual beauty. Redford directs with a fluid grace... to capture the idyllic, light-drenched aura of Maclean's early childhood memories. Even the seemingly unexciting fly-fishing sequences take on a magical air worthy of Spielberg.

What is the story of A River Runs Through It in Chinese drama? ›

After entering university, Xia Xiaoju begins to fall in love with Cheng Lang, but finds out that Chen Lang likes her close friend Lin You, while Lin You has a crush on Yuan Ancheng. Meanwhile, Xiaoju does not notice that her protector and guardian Lu Shiyi has fallen for her.


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