Before I accepted my position as an au pair for the Trossel family in Port de la Selva, I remember doing a google images search of the area to find out what type of landscape I would be living in. On arriving by train from the airport of Barcelona to Llanca I had in my head ideas of what I thought the terrain would be like. Driving from the train station to the small fishing village and along the wild coast I remember feeling a type of floating feeling as if saying to myself over and over again – is this a place where people actually live?
While the Costa Brava is becoming a popular tourist destination, the region offers many untouched places of discrete natural paradises and traditions that are as alive as the weather is warm. Pulling off to the side of the road that twists and turns throughout the mountains, finding a rocky cove to swim with large rocks to sun bath, and staring deep into twenty meters of blue translucent waters at the sparking fish and coral below …
Running alongside of the Mediterranean Sea in the extreme South Eastern part of the country, the villages of Llanca, Port de la Selva, Cadaques, and La Selva de Mar are costal gems where you can find scuba diving, windsurfing, kayaking, and rugged trails leading up the mountains. The nearby cities of Figures, Empuriabrava, Roses, and Castello d’Empuries are also interesting to those who enjoy shopping near long stretches of sandy beaches.
While living here I found that the people live outside more than in – you can see them in the morning chatting on the boardwalk at cafes, in the afternoon they are at the beach before heading indoors for the siesta, in the early evenings they are at the sea again to cool, and in the evenings they take late their dinner and drinks at the restaurants.
On the beach almost everyone is topless and the children run around naked. You get a sense that life is carefree, meant to be enjoyed, and that life is much better lived with a smile. Here the beauty of the nature meets the ease of living, the coast never ends, and the mountains reach up in every direction towards the sky.
The mountains are littered with olive trees and when the wind blows you can hear the leaves tickle and brush past each other while watching in the distance the wind licking wisps of salt water up and creating waves. If you listen close enough you can hear this and imagine what it would be like to swim throughout the water’s cool embrace.
In the night when the villages die down and when even the tourists are sleeping you can stroll quietly to the sea in the darkness where there are no street lamps and you can dip softly into the sea and watch the stars glitter above.
All is silent after the cars have pulled off the streets and the highway is far away but if you look up into mountains you can see the distant dance of one set of headlights careening and moving slowly down through the hills.
Fresh air, clear waters, and the peaceful solitude is what makes up Spain’s wild coast. An escape into nature and a brush of what life is all about, this region will stick to you and make you wish that you could live here forever.
I think of the places I have travelled since leaving the Costa Brava, and I think the Spaniards truly have saved within their country a small piece of heaven. With so much beauty to take in, and so much of it being unspoiled, the Costa Brava holds within it land of a magical quality.