We left L’Estartit and drove to L’Escala situated at the southern end of the Bay of Roses. It has a lovely sandy beach and a pleasant seaside feel. There is a port at the southern end and you can visit the Runes d’Empuries, a two-part site that is the remains of a Greek and later Roman trading port and can be found 1km northwest of L’Escala town. We didn’t visit the ruins on this occasion! We had a scary moment when we ventured through a part of the old town and came across a very narrow turning that we had to take, it took a lot of manoeuvring back and forwards and I had to get out and direct Tony so that we didn’t scrape the van or the buildings. Thank goodness we have a small camper!
We continued north to the town of Roses passing through open countryside with plenty of fruit tree farms, nice and flat and perfect for discovering by bike, passing through Sant Pere Pescador where we noticed a couple of campsites and tried to get down to the beach, however we were blocked by height barriers at the entrance to the car parks. We parked by the marina in Roses and although there was a sign at the entrance indicating no caravanes (motorhomes) we ignored this and parked in a single bay and headed off to the glorious sandy beach, Platja de la Punta, for a couple of hours sunbathing out of the wind.
When we returned we had a piece of paper on our windscreen depicting the above said sign and with our car registration written on it too. I guess we really shouldn’t have parked there the fact our campervan only takes up the same room as an estate car we don’t consider ourselves to be quite the same as a motorhome and our campervan does not look like the picture on the sign or the piece of paper they left us. So we ignored this and then took another stroll heading north to the headland and passed by a lovely small beach, Platja Palangrers, and walked to the headland as far as the lighthouse before returning back and taking a stroll around the marina.
We stayed overnight at Camping Salata located at the southern end of Roses in the area called Santa Margarida and one that reminded us of Port Grimaud, a little Venice with interlinking canals and houses with their own private moorings.
We left Roses and headed through the winding mountains to the picturesque village of Cadaques with its narrow hilly streets, restaurants galore, pretty rocky bay and where Salvador Dali spent family holidays during his youth. We walked around the bay and then up to the church of Santa Maria with its beautiful alter, lit up each time a visitor inserted €1 into the donation box.
From Cadaques we continued our journey north following the beautiful Costa Brava coastline with its ups and downs and twists and turns, terraces of olive trees and vines, lycra clad cyclists and stopped for a rest in a lay-by just opposite the town of el Port de la Selva, again ignoring the no waiting sign for Motorhomes. Whilst enjoying our quiet lunch we were disturbed by the roaring sound of motorbikes and when we looked out we were totally surrounded by about 40 Italian Hells Angels on Harley Davidsons. Surprisingly, they showed us lots of respect as we mingled amongst them marvelling at their various models of bikes and taking photos with their approval. Tony also ventured to their support van being the same model as ours but with the addition of a skull picture on the side. We watched them leave in convey, holding up the traffic in order to keep them all together. What a thunderous spectacle as they all accelerated hard on their way southwards.
After that excitement we carried along the coast road northwards towards France, passing through Portbou before crossing the border into France, following the coastline and passing through the towns of Banuls-sur-Mer, Argeles-sur-Mer, Canet Plage, Le Barcares, Sigean, Narbonne, Beziers before finally arriving at our overnight stop, an Aire at the back of the beach at Sète, ready for a bike ride into Sète. Tony wanted to visit Sète as we had taken a look last year and I agreed but only if he bought me lunch at one of the seafood restaurants along the quayside!
Camping Salata is an ACSI site and is located approximately 200 metres from the lovely sandy beaches of Platja Sta Margarida and Platja del Salata. It is a mixture of bungalows and touring pitches, has good facilities including restaurant, mini-market, launderette and swimming pool.
Parking for motorhomes is very restricted in this area, in Cadaques there is a notice as you enter the town as to where you can park and this is pretty much the same for every town that we passed through until we reached the French border but we noticed there were also restrictions from Argeles-sur-Mer through to Le Barcares. The coastal road crossing the borders is extremely scenic passing through some lovely coastal towns with plenty of room for oncoming traffic!