We’ve walked up to the modernist cemetery of Lloret de Mar and onto the lush green grounds of the Gardens of Santa Clotilde, overlooking the deep blue Mediterranean sea. Now – in my last Costa Brava post – I’ll take you round the town a bit more and along the beaches.
Priorities: When the sky is so perfectly blue it melds with the sea and there’s sand stretching out in front of you glistening in the sun, it’s ice cream time, right? I opted for a cone toped with “mango y sandía (watermelon)” in a cone. Before I even stepped foot on the beach, it had begun to melt!
I walked along the beach as far left as I could go without hiking into the hills, toward a castle and Sa Caleta – a small fishing cove. The beach was dotted with small boats clustered together under the sun.
A footpath led up to D’en Plaja Castle that was commissioned by the Girona industrialist Narcís Plaja and was completed in the 1940s. So while it’s meant to look mediaeval, it’s actually new in castle terms. It’s privately-owned and not open to the public, so I couldn’t go inside.
At the base of the castle, you walk through a short dark tunnel which opens to another view of the sea and a pathway that probably requires quite a bit of time and better hiking shoes, so I stopped around there before turning around again.
All the way at the opposite end of the main beach, up through a forest of evergreens (which smelled so fresh and outdoorsy – a scent I love but don’t have much of in the city), I reached the 11th Century (that’s more like it!) castle of Sant Joan. Of course there are amazing views from here as well, but it was closed at the time to visitors.
On the way up, I passed by the Seafarer’s Wife, a tribute to the women who, over the year, kept a lookout to the men in their lives who were working out at sea. I had to wait a while to get a decent shot of the monument when there were no other tourists posing.
The railing surrounding the monument are packed with love locks that seem to show up in quite a few Instagram photos.
Bright yellow flowers, cacti and long windswept grasses grew along the sea path, on the edge of the cliffs.
Further up there was a restaurant with a tiny staircase that led to the forest.
At the top, I found myself at a completely residential area, quiet, full of locals and pretty back gardens, away from the tourist resorts and the tacky clubs that line the streets of the town. Eventually, it circled back to the center of Lloret de Mar.
I tend to wander a bit randomly when I travel (and on days out in London, for that matter). This is partly because I have a terrible sense of direction and partly because it’s how I discover a lot of things I would’t have found otherwise. Although I might have a general destination in mind, I usually let my camera lead the way – if there’s something interesting in the complete opposite direction, down an alleyway or around a corner, I go.
And so it was that I ran into the most bizarre scene all weekend: the cats. There we, no joke, about 20 stray cats all gathered together at the edge of a park – some sleeping, some stalking, some just sitting. A few people were gathered around taking pictures when I guy came wandering in with a bag of food, whistling. The cats all gathered around him.
As I headed back into the center of town, the impressive Parish Church of Sant Romà caught my eye with its striking colourful mosaic dome – a reminder to look up!
It could have been in the middle of Istanbul, but it actually was used at some point as a refuge for people of Lloret de Mar during raids by pirates from Turkey and Algeria.
A few other bits and piece that caught my eye in Lloret de Mar’s center were the food trucks outside of the Casa de la Cultura and a Haribo store!
It had been three years since my last trip to Barcelona, but I managed to spent a whole three hours there before my flight back to London enjoying the company of Jorge’s brother and his family, a short walk around the outside of La Sagrada Familia and through the plazas of Gracia.
It’s definitely time for a proper Barcelona trip soon!