March 27  Palau-Sator -> Peratalleda -> Ullastret ->  l'Estartit

Back near the French border and just inland from the Mediterranean is another world. The small villages of Palau-Sator, Peratalleda and Ullastret date to Roman times, their outward appearance little changed in centuries. Medieval stone churches and castle towers and keeps brood atop Roman foundations, brick and stone repairs or additions sit atop and among medieval stones, power lines hang from glass on steel pins punched into the ancient stone, and electronic garage doors deny entrance to centuries old arches sheltering and protecting modern luxury cars. Neat rows of recycling bins line the streets at  the edge of town. The cobble and flagstone streets are immaculate, free of litter, and swept to a polished sheen. In Palau-Sator the late March sun cast warmth and harsh shadows, an olive tree grew from the weathered stone of a medieval parapet, steel stairways climbed into medieval stone towers, and workmen brought interiors into the 21st century. In Peratalleda numberless cart wheels had carved ruts deep into the bedrock on which the city stands, tracing the history of the town's commerce over millennia, and honey coloured stone, quarried from the moat surrounding the old walled town rises in towers, walls, and homes. The 11th century Romanesque Iglesia de Sant Pere dominated the town of Ullastret, ornamental trees populated squares and public spaces and potted plants cluttered tiny wrought iron terraces and windows cut into walls a mixture of rough, undressed stone and brick. Other than a few local workers, doing renovations to homes, a few locals drinking at one of the few open bar/restaurants, and a couple of other tourists, there was no life. As though a movie set waiting for its actors or as if some plague had passed through, no children play in the playground, no teens hung out, no merchants (except for two tourist shops) plied their wares, no old folks sat in the sun or tended small gardens. It was surreal. No longer dusty streets spattered with dung and littered with the detritus of life, these villages, with their up-scale restaurants open only three days a week, are now immaculate retreats for the rich and upper middle class looking for escape from their everyday lives or for day trippers from Girona or the Costa Brava on summer vacation. The atmosphere may change come the holiday season and I am glad have experienced it in March. We found modern day, blue collar, middle class Spain at the resort town of l'Estartit. Nearly deserted at this time of year, business was slow, the waitress at our small cafe spent her day watching television from the bar. It was a town of functional condominiums, and mid range rentals, middle to lower end restaurants and coffee shops, corner groceries, small businesses and pizza shops, miniature golf, and go-cart tracks. It was a down to earth, unapologetic, unpretentious summer retreat for the ordinary Spanish family to enjoy a big sandy beach with basic and affordable diversions. It was easy to imagine young families with children, teenagers, middle and older age people walking, lying in the sun, playing frisbee or volleyball, drinking beer and having picnic meals. Sadly, higher-end resort condominiums that are beginning to dominate the eastern end of the beach and are changing the old fashioned, blue collar character of the beach.
An olive tree grew from a parapet, Palau-Satar A millenium of cart traffic worn into the bedrock, Peratalleda The immaculate but deserted town felt surreal. Waitress watching television at a local cafe/bar.
A Sense of Place:  Travel, Photography, and Photo-art
by David E. Moon
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved
Slideshow Slideshow Route Map Route Map

 March 27  Palau-Sator -> Peratalleda ->

Ullastret ->  l'Estartit

Back near the French border and just inland from the Mediterranean is another world. The small villages of Palau-Sator, Peratalleda and Ullastret date to Roman times, their outward appearance little changed in centuries. Medieval stone churches and castle towers and keeps brood atop Roman foundations, brick and stone repairs or additions sit atop and among medieval stones, power lines hang from glass on steel pins punched into the ancient stone, and electronic garage doors deny entrance to centuries old arches sheltering and protecting modern luxury cars. Neat rows of recycling bins line the streets at  the edge of town. The cobble and flagstone streets are immaculate, free of litter, and swept to a polished sheen. In Palau-Sator the late March sun cast warmth and harsh shadows, an olive tree grew from the weathered stone of a medieval parapet, steel stairways climbed into medieval stone towers, and workmen brought interiors into the 21st century. In Peratalleda numberless cart wheels had carved ruts deep into the bedrock on which the city stands, tracing the history of the town's commerce over millennia, and honey coloured stone, quarried from the moat surrounding the old walled town rises in towers, walls, and homes. The 11th century Romanesque Iglesia de Sant Pere dominated the town of Ullastret, ornamental trees populated squares and public spaces and potted plants cluttered tiny wrought iron terraces and windows cut into walls a mixture of rough, undressed stone and brick. Other than a few local workers, doing renovations to homes, a few locals drinking at one of the few open bar/restaurants, and a couple of other tourists, there was no life. As though a movie set waiting for its actors or as if some plague had passed through, no children play in the playground, no teens hung out, no merchants (except for two tourist shops) plied their wares, no old folks sat in the sun or tended small gardens. It was surreal. No longer dusty streets spattered with dung and littered with the detritus of life, these villages, with their up-scale restaurants open only three days a week, are now immaculate retreats for the rich and upper middle class looking for escape from their everyday lives or for day trippers from Girona or the Costa Brava on summer vacation. The atmosphere may change come the holiday season and I am glad have experienced it in March. We found modern day, blue collar, middle class Spain at the resort town of l'Estartit. Nearly deserted at this time of year, business was slow, the waitress at our small cafe spent her day watching television from the bar. It was a town of functional condominiums, and mid range rentals, middle to lower end restaurants and coffee shops, corner groceries, small businesses and pizza shops, miniature golf, and go-cart tracks. It was a down to earth, unapologetic, unpretentious summer retreat for the ordinary Spanish family to enjoy a big sandy beach with basic and affordable diversions. It was easy to imagine young families with children, teenagers, middle and older age people walking, lying in the sun, playing frisbee or volleyball, drinking beer and having picnic meals. Sadly, higher-end resort condominiums that are beginning to dominate the eastern end of the beach and are changing the old fashioned, blue collar character of the beach.
An olive tree grew from a parapet, Palau-Satar A millenium of cart traffic worn into the bedrock, Peratalleda The immaculate but deserted town felt surreal. Waitress watching television at a local cafe/bar.
A Sense of Place:  Travel, Photography, and Photo-art
by David E. Moon
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved
Slideshow Slideshow Route Map Route Map