On Monday, we finally arrive in Spain. It feels like the trip we’ve been waiting for, that has been the goal for about 2 years, has finally started. We are very excited! It’s warm, about 20C, and although it’s cloudy, it feels great to us.
We don’t really know Spain, and we haven’t done a lot of prep or research in advance. On purpose really, but now we feel like we don’t quite know where to go. Luckily, the last thing we bought before we left the UK was travel guides for both Spain and Portugal, and right now, the Spanish one is proving very helpful indeed.
So we decide on our first stop, after checking with Gloria Garmin how long it would take us to get there, and we head for Cadaqués. It’s one of the first seaside villages across the border that gets a mention in the travel guide so it feels like a safe bet. As we get to Roses, the road changes to a mountain road. It’s a perfectly good road, wide enough etc. But in Rex, it feels like the tightest little lane with tight bends and sheer cliff drops to the side of us… Safe to say, it’s an emotional part of the journey… But eventually, we see a little seaside village in the distance, and lo and behold… We’ve made it. (tip: make sure you have plenty of fuel to get there and back as the only fuel station in the village is not officially accessible to motorhomes)
We had struggled to find an aire listed in or near the village, but eventually we’d found one in a carpark so we put that in the satnav. However, as we arrived, we soon learned that motorhomes are banned from entering the village. The only place to stay is the car park at the start of the village. Luckily there were a few motorhomes already there, and we soon found out that, Yes, we can stay the night. Great, but not cheap at €21.85. Still, there is no way we’re tackling that road twice in one day, so we’re staying put!
We go to explore the village, but as soon as we get to the beach (and Luna has finished her barking/yapping/general excitement at seeing a beach), we get drawn to a beach bar. It’s time to unwind with a glass of wine. Just the one, and no Tapas… Not yet… But the lure is too great, and soon we’re settled in with a bottle and some tapas, chatting with some of the other people in the bar. We have arrived! After a while (ie when the bottle is finished), we go explore the town a little bit. There are gorgeous little lanes, leading up hills with flowers covering the walls of the houses. We also find a little church with the most amazing altar. We pay a euro to see it lit up. It’s definitely worth it.
Eventually, we head back to Rex to settle in for the night, in the unglamorous carpark without views but with plenty of security. The next morning we have another stab at exploring the town, a bit more successful this time. We wander through little lanes and around the bay. It’s a stunning place and we’re pleased we came here.
Next stop is Roses itself; a holiday resort. We don’t really love the ‘big hotels along the seafront’ vibe but as it’s November, it’s nice and quiet. Once you look past the holiday resort nature of the town, there is a wealth of history to be found. On one point of the bay, there is the Castel de Trinidad, a fortress overlooking the sea. Just behind the main drag of hotels is the Citadel de Roses, where nearly 2500 years of history can be seen in one place, with remains found of an ancient Greek settlement, a Roman settlement, a medieval town and a more modern military base.
There are some great walks in the hills to be done from Roses, or during the season you can even take a tourist train to some of the places in the hills. There are many remnants of ancient settlements and cultures living in these hills, such as menhirs and dolmens; ancient stone structures as old as 3000BC.
We stay in Camping Jongcar Mar while in Roses. It’s better value than the aire at €16 all in, plus we need to do laundry. The camping is close to the town and very close to the beach. It has a lovely little shop on site which has all the essentials. The staff are friendly, the facilities are clean and the pitches are level. It feels really relaxed to stay here. The campsite even has a Hammam Spa and does various massages and beauty treatments. There is also a pool and restaurant on site but these are closed out of season it seems.
Today we’ve travelled just down the coast to a park up in between L’Escala and Sant Martí d’Empúries, by the Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya – Empúries. We’ve had a walk around Sant Martí d’Empúries this afternoon, and we’ve (read Luna) enjoyed the beach and the sea while the sun was shining. The village is shut for winter, so there isn’t much to see or do, but it is quite amazing as the houses are built inside old ruins walls. We think this place would be very busy in summer, and it’s very small, so perhaps visit at the start or the end of the season.
We still have the museum, L’Escala and Montgó to explore, so we may stay here a little while longer.