Bartomeu Barceló Quetgles, known as ‘Tolo Güell', passed away on Friday after a long illness. He was 78.
He was the driving force behind Des Güell a Lluc a Peu - the walk to Lluc, which started in 1974 as a thanksgiving to Our Lady of Lluc (Majorca's patron) by several of his friends. This was after a siphon had exploded against his daughter's chest. This could have been very serious, but was not.
The walk, a route of 42 kilometres, has taken place every summer since then, with the exception of 2018. An issue with financing and the management of the event led to it being called off, but it has now been given a form of protected status. Palma town hall has declared it an asset in the municipal interest and has therefore assumed a good deal of responsibility for ensuring that it takes place.
The walk is from where Bar Güell was located on the Calle Aragon in Palma; it can attract up to 30,000 people. Tolo himself, who was pleased to be known as Tolo Güell rather than Bartomeu Barceló, was said to have only done the walk on one occasion - in 1983 when Real Mallorca were promoted to the top fight of Spanish football. Otherwise, he would ride his Vespa.
On the 25th anniversary of the walk, the then king, Juan Carlos, and Queen Sofia, fired the starting gun. Tolo had said that he was in talks with King Felipe about the 50th anniversary. Sadly, he will not see this.
He will be remembered not only for the walk but also for having been a leading promoter of Majorca's culture.
* This year's walk, provisionally at any rate, is expected to be on 1 August.
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