Monday, 7 October 2013

5 days in L'Escala

The view of the Illes Medes from the Castle of Montgri.
The time for leaving is drawing near, and as we don't have a house for the next week, we decided to rent an apartment in the beach town of L'Escala on the Costa Brava.

Looking over at Ampuries from L'Escala beach.
The Costa Brava is a 60 km stretch of coast from Barcelona all the way up to the French Border. All along its coast are small towns and villages, from fishing towns to tourist towns. L'Escala is a mix of the two really. Famous for its anchovies, L'Escala has a long history of fishing the tasty little snacks, and many bars in town have old black and white pictures showing the town as it was decades ago.

Anchovies like you´ve never seen them before!

It has become a popular tourist destination in recent years. It's sunny, on a lovely part of the coast and also Girona airport is very close by. If you don't realise it while walking around town, just turn the TV on in your hotel room, and all you get is TV in French and German. This weekend was the annual L'Escala Anchovie Festival. I know that doesn't sound very exciting - but being Catalonia, it is all about eating! From midday on Sunday, people moved from bar to bar, tasting the best anchovy tapes conjured up by each bar. 1 bar - 1 unique tapa. We joined in the festivities a little late, but enjoyed a few - my favourite fishy tapa was a base of bread, then on top was diced onion, tomato, avocado, anchovy sprinkled with finely crushed nuts on top - soooo good!

Although mentioned in a previous post, I didn't actually get the chance to climb up to the Castell de Montgri. This time I did. We stopped in the village of Montgri for a quick snack, then I started out at around 1:30pm to reach the castle on its rocky perch overlooking. Not a great time to start of steep climb of a rocky hill - the hottest part of the day - but it did have its benefits... everyone else has on their way to have lunch! I climbed up, taking just over an hour, and enjoyed a spectacular view of the region of Emporda.

La Senyera with El Castell de Montgri sitting on it's hill in the background.
The castle itself is unfinished. It was started in 1294, and abandoned in 1301. It was a show of power by the Count of Barcelona over the Count of Empuries. Their little dispute ended after some dirty name calling, and the winner (The Count of Barcelona) no longer needed to build a huge stone castle on the hill. Now, tourists climb the steep hill to see the castle. A straight-forward square castle, 4 walls with a cylindrical tower at each corner, in the style of the Crusaders in the Middle East.

The unfinished castle of Montgri.
There is so much to do around this area, and never enough time. There is still 2 more days here, and I won´t be sitting around idle! On the agenda - part of the Cami de Rhonda, the Medieval town of Pals... and who knows what else!

Sunset over L'Escala.

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