Cadaqués, Costa Brava

It’s one of those perfect afternoons that come along once in a summer – if you’re lucky.

I’m sitting at a long trestle table on the lawn outside the bodega of Celler Martín Faixo in Cap de Creus, and the gentle breeze is just enough to keep the heat of the sun at the perfect ambient temperature. In front of me, the pale stone walls of the bodega stand proud like a stately home, surveying the estate over which they preside. Around me, yellow broom burnishes the valleys, providing a vibrant contrast to the emerald vines and fertile valley.

I’ve just spent the past two hours tasting the wines that Celler MF produce in their family owned vineyard and enjoying a leisurely lunch on the sun-kissed lawn. With bottles of wine still gracing the table and fresh plates of the little sponges known as ‘taps’ arriving, dragging myself away from the table takes superhuman willpower. But a visit to Cadaqués beckons and it’s too good an opportunity to miss.

It’s just five kilometres along the winding rural road before we pull into the car park at Cadaqués and begin to climb the narrow streets into the heart of the little town.

My mind darts around Europe – Clovelly, Dinard, Mont-St-Michel – as we follow the maze of slate lined streets past whitewashed cottages where geraniums trail from window boxes, their blooms escaping to freedom through the wrought iron bars covering tiny windows. The winding trunks of bougainvillea and wisteria twist their way up shady white walls, climbing into the sunlight before bursting into foliage. In between the houses, a tell tale menu blackboard or a brightly dressed window betrays the presence of a small restaurant or a craft shop.

We reach the summit of the town where the 16th century Santa Maria Church occupies its little plaza and from which the views open up across the terracotta roof tiles to the glistening bay and its small flotilla of moored boats. Inside the church, an ornate, gold Baroque retablo dominates, its complex relief held on the shoulders of fishermen – a symbol of their pivotal role in the life of the community.

We climb down narrow steps from the church and stroll the promenade which takes us around the bay, past restaurants serving squid ink paella to customers who sit beneath parasols on the sunny terraces. The temptation to sink into a chair and order a cerveza is overwhelming, but time is slipping away and re-tracing our steps, we head back into the picturesque streets of the town.

Mmmm, where’s that smell coming from?” I ask Diego and Jaume as my nostrils are suddenly assailed by the most delicious perfume and I stand to drink it in, racking my memory for its floral source.
My question is met with blank faces. A woman who is standing in the doorway of her shop offers an explanation:
It’s her perfume” she says, laughing and pointing to the woman who owns the craft shop opposite.
Never one to shy away from an opportunity to interact with the locals, Diego moves closer and smells the woman’s neck.
Nope. It’s not her!” he declares proudly.
At our backs we can still hear the two women laughing as we bid Cadaqués adios.

Andrea (Andy) Montgomery is a freelance travel writer and co-owner of Buzz Trips and The Real Tenerife series of travel websites. Published in The Telegraph, The Independent, Wexas Traveller, Thomas Cook Travel Magazine, EasyJet Traveller Magazine, you can read her latest content on Google+




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