Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cruising up the Coast... Nuria Excursion - L'Estartit Day 5

I'll admit, I haven't seen a lot of the countryside of Spain or for that matter, Europe.  I'm a New England girl and with the exception of some road trips in the US, I haven't seen an amazing amount beyond New England.  So when I tell you that some of the most beautiful places I've seen in the world are in Spain, bear that in mind.  But it's true... some of the most beautiful countryside I've seen to date has been here in Spain.  And most recently that includes L'Estartit on the northern coast.  The mountains reaching down to kiss the Mediterranean Sea.  Rock faces that you can see have been impacted by the water and weather over thousands and thousands of years.  Amazing stretches of beach that feel luxurious between your toes.   A seaside town that while busy in the peak tourist season, isn't so crowded that you have to wait in any lines or that you feel claustrophobic in the streets. 

This is the type of place that Josh and I have dreamed about for years.  It's like a piece of Cape Cod was dropped off by the mountains.  It's peaceful and serene but yet has so much to offer for us to do.  And speaking of things to do, one of my favorites thus far was yesterday - when we boarded the Nuria Excursion.

Yes, this was a tourist thing.  But hey, we're tourists, right?  And since we are without our own boat we have to utilize what is available to us.  So we took the Nuria which is much smaller than the typical tourist boats here which are closer to the size of a ferry.  This boat fits about 20 feet and reminds me a bit of a Boston Whaler.  It rode low to the water and took it's time - and for me who doesn't usually like to go fast in the boat, it was almost too slow.  But at the same time, that's part of what made it enjoyable.

After settling on to the boat, we headed north up the coast.  Now we had seen some of the rock cliffs the other day but because of how the road ended, we could not see beyond that one cliff and I think we just assumed it was more beach or homes on the other side.  But no, we were faced with what looks to be miles of rock heading up the coast.  It was stunning!!  And the water was so clear - blue and turquoise.  Just like you expect the Mediterranean to be (in Barcelona it is NO where near this clear). 

The boat truely hugged the coast.  And normally when I say hug the coast I mean that you can see land from wherever you are in the water - for us normally at home this means about a mile or so offshore.  But not here - there were times where you could almost reach out and touch the rock face.  It was an incredibly calm day and the water was like glass. 

L'Estartit Harbor as we were leaving


A cave "starting" to form

L'Estartit is known for its diving community and I can see why.  Everywhere we looked there were signs of divers.  Boats, buoys, etc. 

The best part of the trip by far was getting a chance to boat thru some caves that were naturally formed over thousands, if not millions of years.  This is why we chose the Nuria - because it was small enough to fit into the caves unlike the bigger, flashier boats.  At one point it actually took us about 50 meters into a cave (that was a dead end and then had to back up) where actually saw what looked like a few stalactites on the ceiling which was very cool.  It was amazing to think that the water over the years has washed away so much of the rock that we were actually able to boat into the depths of the cliff.  I imagine there is some very cool diving in here as well. 

Coming upon the first cave - this one we could pass right thru

Second group of caves - we'll enter the middle one and go in about 50 meters.

This is the first cave, opposite direction

This was most definitely a worth while trip and I'm so glad we did it.  The views were amazing, the ride relaxing and it gave us an opportunity to see something we would never have otherwise seen. 

This reminded us a bit of Tarpaulin - where you can only get to the beach by boat.  This was the only beach we saw on the entire trip!

Fish in a feeding frenzy by our boat

Family portrait!

Returning to harbor

But the day didn't end there!!  Because today Aidan also went snorkling for the first time and he LOVED it!  He and Josh went off on their own while Liam napped and Aidan couldn't stop talking about the "other" world that he saw down there.  I think we have a future marine biologist on our hands!


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