Costa Brava

Picture of montseny We used Barcelona airport on our way to and from the south of France. As a result we had some bonus time in the far northeast of Spain along the Costa Brava. Our first stop was the Montseny nature reserve southwest of Girona. Montseny encompasses one main valley and the ridges on either side. Along with an impressive gorge, there are several small Romanesque buildings remaining in the valley.
Picture of l-escala We first reached the coast in the town of L'Escala. From here we intended to follow the coast (or at least as closely as it can be approximated) as far as Roses. Just north of L'Escala, accessible along a nice beachfront path are the Greek and Roman ruins of Empuries / Empurion.
Picture of greek_walls The Greek city of Empurion was located here from the 5th century BCE. It was the largest Greek colony on the Iberian Peninsula and it had a lovely setting along the sea. Unfortunately, it had a lovely setting along the sea, which made it relatively easy to conquer or at least loot and plunder. The remnants of the Greek city are mostly walls along with some cisterns and a handful of more detailed buildings.
Picture of mosaics When the Romans arrived, they rebuilt the city further up the hill (just barely) and a bit farther inland. The city thrived for several centuries but ultimately the Vikings did not find the new location any more difficult to reach. The Roman ruins are more impressive. Several large households have been excavated with very well preserved floor mosaics. Parts of the forum and the amphitheatre also remain.
Picture of cdq_dali Next stop was Cadaques, hometown of Salvador Dali. Other than this statue and a couple unusual shops, it's really not all that obvious. Technically his home was just around the corner in Port Lligat.
Picture of cadaques_harbor Cadaques is located on the imposing Cap Creus peninsula and the town is crammed into a small natural harbor. It's an easy place to get around even if they did have approximately half of all the streets and sidewalks torn up for construction during our visit.
Picture of cdq_alley The inland portion of the town is a series of small alleys and stairways. One side of the town is technically the 'old town' but really there's not much difference between that area and the rest of Cadaques which is presumably the less old town.
Picture of cadaques_townsquare The waterfront is the center of town. The only open space is located here as well as a small beach (deserted in April) and a ridiculous number of restaurants per capita. We had a particularly good meal sharing a seafood paella at Casa Nun.
Picture of cadaques_dusk Other than eating and tromping about the coastline (several trails leave from Cadaques), there isn't actually all that much to do here. It's a pleasant place to spend a day or two though.
Picture of cap_cerbere On the north side of Cap Creus, the coastal road crosses a series of impressive headlands interspersed with small towns packed into each cove. It's actually quite remarkable where they'll build a town in northern Spain. Spain ends at Cap Cerbere which features the enormous cliff in this picture. The remnants of the old border buildings between France and Spain are the only real landmark there now. The only other noticeable difference in France is that vineyards begin as the road approaches Banyuls-sur-Mer.

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