Visiting the towns of Roses & EmpuriaBrava -the Catalan Venice |Great Mediterranean Coast Hike Day 9
We spent a quiet night in the campground Empurdanes and had a good sleep. We felt a bit lazy to start a day very early so we woke up only at 8am when it was starting to lighten up. We were hearing the song of starlings during all morning and it was very nice and pleasant. The campground itself was a bit too expensive for what it was, for the kind of facilities it provided, how small it was and how bare were the pitches with almost no grass. But maybe it was the expensive area that we yet had to find out. So we made our usual camping routine, ate breakfast, wrapped up everything and were ready to hit the trail.
For that day we planned to make 16kms more or less hiking through the towns Roses and Empuriabrava and getting to the campground near the beach. We felt like doing a shorter day after the previous challenging mountainous trail. We saw that there would be barely any elevation change and so didn’t expect the trail to be difficult.
We went out of the camping straight to the beach “Canyelles Grosses”, walked in the sand for some time and then took the coastal path Cami de Ronda. It was following the coastline as close as possible and this was what we were looking for.
The morning was nice and bright with the clear sky and strong sunshine hitting our faces strong from the very beginning. The path was going up and down quite a bit with many stairs and it served as a nice warm up for us. Because of that, we felt like having an ice cream at the seafront buying it in the nearest supermarket. After that nice cool down, we continued to follow the seafront.
On the way, we met lots of cactuses and curious plants blossoming in pink and blue colors decorating nicely the sides of the path. We enjoyed a lot the amazing views of the coastline and could see how the land was turning in a half circle extending long just in front of us. And this was great to see as this is where our trail was going.
Not long after, we started to walk on the pavement and entered the town Roses that we expected to be more village like but it turned out to be quite a big town with many white buildings located on the slope and extending far in the distance. There we saw a small lighthouse that we were not sure was in service or not and then came out to the port area. The same as the town itself it was big enough to accommodate many yachts and boats, some of which were excursion ones to the Cap de Creus and nearby areas. Walking through the seafront we have spotted also the curious looking excursion train that was making a land tour to Cap de Creus also.
At the port, we saw many fish net laying around and sea gulls taking advantage of the easy prey – fish trapped in the net and left by fishermen.
After walking in the town for quite a bit we had to turn away from the seaside and there started the most boring and tiring part of the trail. There we left the GR that was going more to the field’s area further from the coast, because we wanted to see the Empuriabrava. By the way, the marking was great these two days on the trail, we didn’t have high expectations about it as it isn’t as popular but it turned out to be better than we thought.
And so we had to walk through the warehouses and port facilities for long 3kms or so before we turned to a gravel road. The sun got covered in thin layer clouds and we were grateful for that as the day was quite hot anyway. We entered the natural park area with several ponds and humid lands. It was an open field with just some bushes growing around and a couple of horse and donkey pastures. We didn’t see any water but maybe it was hidden by thick wall of reed.
We could see this area was very popular among cyclists and there were big groups of them passing by every now and then. As the routes were flat it was easy to cycle and there were many of them to choose from to explore the area. This type of route in our opinion is better for cycling than walking as you don’t go as slow and are able to pass by repetitive landscapes quicker so that you don’t get bored. But at least we were glad that there was no direct sun shining at our faces.
This way we came to Empuriabrava town that was called a Catalonian Venice by locals because of many channels it had. It was originally built on a swamp and was created in the 1970s years to facilitate tourism in the area and it eventually became one of the biggest marine in Europe. It has around 7000 stable population and 75000 of seasonal summer population. It indeed had 24 to 40km of river channels that were all interconnected and in between were located pieces of land with many private villas standing in the line. There were bridges crossing them as well. The idea was that you are able to have your own parking spot for the boat next to the house and you can directly navigate to the open sea passing the small port. It was a very curious concept to see as we have never seen anything like that before. The aerodrome of Empuriabrava offers a variety of air sports and is one of the most important centers of parachute and skydiving sports in the world.
After doing several photos and admiring the views we headed to the nearest supermarket to buy some food which surprisingly was quite good and with a nice selection of products for such a small village. Then we went to the park area and picnic tables to have our lunch as it was already around 4pm. We spent around 1.5 hours there enjoying the cool wind and staying in the shade.
Then we had only 2.5kms left to do to our campground La Laguna. We crossed the big river La Muga by a wooden bridge and had to walk in a straight line for the other 2kms on pavement. We arrived to camping at 18pm and had to wait until 19pm in order to pay the discounted price for one night. Otherwise, it would cost us 32eu instead of 26eu that was already quite expensive for the campground. However, we saw that it had 4 stars rating and the way it set up spoke of more “luxurious” conditions.
So we went to beach to wait out till the check in hour. The sea had beautiful foamy waves and the view of the coastline with the white buildings was amazing in the low sunset sun. We spent an hour or so there just listening to the waves crushing and salty drops were carried by the wind to our faces. After, we had little time to spare before bed so we went to take a shower, cooked cous cous for dinner and had a delicious meal with cherry tomatoes, lettuce and greens and cheese of course. We went to bed at 22pm still listening to the sound of crushing waves.