Friday, June 28, 2013

La Vall de Santa Creu's hidden charms

Since there is a band playing in the tiny, neighbouring village of La Vall de Santa Creu on Saturday night we decided to visit it today to see if the parking situation was as limited as we remembered. The village is part way up a nearby mountain and as we climbed we passed two huge vehicles cutting down the vegetation at the side of the road to make more room for parking on Saturday.

It's local traffic only in the village, so we parked in a small lot on the edge of town and walked the rest of the way. Santa Creu used to be an independent village until 1787, when it became a part of El Port de la Selva. It has forty houses, mostly restored. The first place we passed was a restaurant with a lovely terrace overlooking the valley and some lovely cooking smells emanating from it. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite lunchtime yet.

We continued walking along small, steep narrow streets towards the Font or fountain, where Saturday's music will be performed. The Font was in a dirt covered square with massive plain trees. One must have been several centuries old. There we found the old fountain and the large communal washing trough. The stream used to operate several olive mills.

As we returned to the car we looked out over the valley and spotted a clearly defined trail, leading all the way up to the Sant Pere de Rodes monastery. This would be much easier than climbing the switchbacks on the road. There was also a trail down to the Port.

We discovered the very old, tiny church that we think dated to the fifteenth century. It had some ancient, rickety steps leading up to the roof. Back down on the ground I moved the giant, rusty snib on the door to look inside the church. It was quite small with a beamed ceiling, an old stone altar and font. I don't think it had been used for a very long time.

Still plagued with very high winds, we went for a walk along the Ronda on the far side of the fishing dock. There were big rollers coming in off the sea. Each stony beach had a few people on it but no one was swimming. In fact the buoys marking the swimming area haven't been put in the water yet. I think this is about a month later than last year.

Bright yellow flowers were blooming on the prickly pear cacti that line part of the Ronda. It was really interesting to watch the bees nestle themselves right in the flower to get the nectar.

It was back to the Nautica for a coffee, only to have Carlos, one of the servers, take one look at my hair and say, "Tramuntana." This wind certainly makes for bad hair days.

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