by Anxo Cabada, photographer, president of the Atlantic Athenaeum.
In a world where traveling has become collecting selfies, where agencies sell you around the world in twenty days, Valentín Carrera takes us through the calm seas, with a story full of stories and emotions to make us live and feel the journey to a different world, without borders, through the journey of travel, the journey to Antarctica.
Valentín Carrera takes traveling in his Bercian genes, but El Bierzo and León are lands of passage and orchard of great writers – Enrique Gil, Antonio Pereira, Julio Llamazares, Antonio Gamoneda or Juan Carlos Mestre – and Carrera, with this book, diversifies the vegetable garden and makes sprout that magic that arises between literature and travel.
The verses of the writer Tennyson, that Carrera finds in the monolith of Cabo Evans marked in 1913 – “Hitting, searching, finding and never giving up” – have been his vital motto since in 1982 Luis Carandell ordered him to make the Camino de Santiago, when it had not yet been put on the tourist map; then he toured his Bercian land on foot; Galician lands on horseback and in a balloon; and by land and sea the paths of the Mediterranean civilizations, but always preparing for the two Antarctic adventures, one in 1987 and the other thirty years later in 2017.
And from these two experiences – one of surprise and the other of maturity – this wonderful story arises. In the first part, he introduces us with skill, in the experiences of the great explorers to better understand the environment that surrounded the great expeditions of Stanley, Lowry, Amundsen, Shackleton, Mawson, seeking the more human side, giving life to each of the adventurers who left a deep mark on the conquest of the South Pole.
But Carrera drinks in the wisdom of the old sages with humility, and in the second part he delves into the magic of the journey, the magic of emotions, and makes us live and share with the new adventurers, who are already scientists and researchers, that with their studies they make a contemporary x-ray of the situation of the planet through the test bench that is Antarctica, the great laboratory.
Carrera overturns his observations and his feelings as we take us along the paths of the whales, the penguins and the icebergs, but also along the paths of loneliness, tenderness and hugs, as he points out on the night of the end of year: “I am far from almost everything I want and I never felt so close.”
Antarctica is a book-trip, but it is also a silent cry about the duty to care for the earth because we also feel the need to take care of ourselves.