A Perfect Day Out
by John Frazer-Robinson
Friends Jane and Robbie invited us to spend the day with them in Cadaqués. It was sunny, mild, and almost wind-free. If you decide to follow our path be warned that if you want to include the Cap de Creus (really, really recommended!) these qualities for the weather are vital.
Take the motorway down from the Spanish border just south of Le Boulou. Take the Roses/Figueres North (exit 3) Follow signs to Roses and the Cadaqués. From the motorway exit, that will involve the N2 (confusingly in Roman numerals – so it looks like the N11!), then the C68 and finally the GI-614. To get to Cap de Creus just follow the signs on arrival at Cadaqués.
Make sure the driver is wearing blinkers because the road needs concentration whilst the views are stunning as you rise towards the Cap. The Cap when you get there offers a modern coffee shop in the base of the lighthouse with snacks or the imaginatively named Restaurant Cap de Creus (pictured above) offers a wide choice from a multilingual menu. The ‘catch of the day’ fish dishes are superb. They are oven cooked, stuffed with lemon and herbs. Served in a roasting tin over a bed of sliced potatoes and tomato. Certainly my whole sea bass was cooked to perfection and I was pleased not to have had a starter since it was more than adequate on its own.
Then there are of course plenty of walks – all with those magnificent views. We chose to head down to explore Cadaqués.
Situated right on the Cap de Creus peninsula, Cadaqués is one of the most striking places on the Costa Brava. At the head of Cadaqués bay is its historic quarter, with a Mediterranean air and a real seaside flavour. The source of inspiration for internationally famous painters and artists for decades, today this centre enjoys a strong intense cultural life, with its many museums and art galleries, amongst which the Salvador Dalí House-Museum is outstanding. Cadaqués is an ideal starting point for getting to know the rest of the county of Alt Empordà, full of historic places, wonderful natural areas and abundant archaeological remains.
This lovely village with seagoing roots has excellent beaches and tranquil coves with clear water whichattracts anyone looking for a place to enjoy sun and sea. Its natural harbour offers fabulous conditions for practising all kinds of sports and aquatic activities, like diving, sailing or windsurfing. Indeed our previous visit to Cadaqués was by boat and without landing – we picnicked aboard in the bay.
The old town
At the head of Cadaqués bay rises a network of narrow cobbled streets and white houses making up the old town. Above the outline of the town, the image of the church of Santa María, a carefully restored church with a white façade, stands out, housing a magnificent Baroque style reredos.
During the first decades of the 20th century, leading artists, such as Picasso, Chagall and Klein, found their source of inspiration in this beautiful corner of the province of Gerona.
However, it was Salvador Dalí who brought Cadaqués international fame. The genius artist spent long periods there during his childhood as well as establishing his homein the town. His house – now a museum – beside Port Lligat bay, to the north of Cadaqués, enables you to get to know part of the extensive work of this master of Surrealism.
Culturally, Cadaqués ranges from its many museums and art galleries, like the Municipal Art Museum, which exhibits works by artists who maintained close links with Cadaqués, or the Perrot-Moore Museum, which brings together works of European graphic art, without forgetting the now traditional International Music Festival, held annually in the church of Santa María.
I had lunched far too well to join the rest of the party in home-made ice creams which were declared to be excellent. It must be said Cadaqués is highly popular and therefore parking is not always easy. This is perhaps not a day out for the infirm since walking into town, for example, is a necessity unless you are extraordinarily lucky. In high season it is very busy being invaded by boats as well as cars. In autumn and spring, given the fair weather mentioned in the opening, this is just a perfect day out. Concluded with the obligatory opportunity for liquor, petrol, cosmetics and other plunder at the lower Spanish prices – even Robbie and Jane’s dog, Treacle, was ready for a rest when we got home!
3In ‘defence’ of the Costa Brava!! The Pain in Spain?3
Because of the reputation the Costa Brava earned in the early days of the package holiday, it got something of a name for itself and those it attracted – Southend with sunshine! However, these days, if you have not yet discovered the exceptional beauty of the Costa Brava’s glorious coast and its interior scenery, you really should. And then retreat back to France!!!
(Photos: most of these photos are in the public domain and copyright free or taken by the author. However the striking photo of the lighthouse from the restaurant window, we have been unable to find again and therefore it is used with apologies to its photographer who we trust will accept the compliment that it was too good not to use. If he/she would be kind enough to identify themselves, we can give credit where credit is due!)