Ah the simple joys of Christmas! Instead of an orange and some nuts in his stocking, Santa gave Eric HP sauce and Branson pickle. Good times…
So Christmas Day was nice and quiet. We caught up with the boys and spent the rest of the day cooking, eating and chatting to some camping neighbours.
So in leaving Vilanova we are very confident we will return so we can spend more time to explore the area. But for now we need to move on.
Our journey to L’Estartit took us through some spectacular countryside as we headed north through the Sierra de Monterrey. It was foggy patches on lower ground until we broke through to brilliant sunshine as we gained altitude. We knew we were in real mountain country when we saw a wild boar at the side of the road; as roadkill sadly 😢.
Very pretty part of the world. We were getting a really good feeling about this area. As we approached the outskirts of Girona, we noticed far more yellow ribbons, the symbol of the support for the Catalan Independence movement. Painted on the roads, painted on walls, ribbons on trees, lampposts: everywhere.
Our new campsite is near a very popular diving resort in the summer and Eric has been here before – 31 years ago – to go diving off the little islands off the coast, the Illes Medes. On our first day we cycled into town to enjoy the cliffs and island views…
The town itself is very touristy so with it being December, a lot of it is closed for the winter giving it a desolate feel. Still, the sun is still warm and bright though the air cool.
The campsite is small, clean and neat. There are plenty of places to go walking, cycling and visiting.
On one cycle ride we headed a bit inland and then back to the coast a few kilometres from our campsite to a pretty beach at the estuary of the River Ter. This part of the coast had always been marsh land with frequent flooding. The town of L’Estartit, once a small fishing village, has now a concrete marina to a) cater for its main income – tourism, and to protect the town from flooding as much of it is at sea level.
Away from the town centre, at the beach where we went for our cycle ride, there is ongoing work to help stabilise the natural sand dunes, which are apparently one of the few surviving examples in Catalonia. On our visit, we saw large amounts of wood and bamboo piled up on the beach. It could have been a result of a storm, the debris had been scraped up into banks. I suspect it being used to help to encourage the build up of sand to create new dunes, who knows?
We came across a closed for the winter ceramic shop with a curious plaque outside with information about a strange Catalan tradition: El Racó de Caganer, translated as The Great Shitter.
It’s traditional to put one of these in your Christmas crib to bring good luck and happiness. The ceramic version, not the real thing! All to do with fertility apparently. So we’ve read…
We plan to go to Girona for a day and Figueres on another. We shall be staying here over the New Year and then travel to our house sit in France breaking up the journey into two days.