Florian and Marga picked me up early in the morning. It’s carnival weekend here in Spain and the original plan was to visit Cadaques, a significant town in the life of Salvador Dali, have lunch at Cap de Creus and then go to Roses to (hopefully) meet up with Pol and Gaizka at the carnival.

Things didn’t quite work out that way.

Cadaques is over 170km from Barcelona and, it took us about two and a half hours to get there. It’s a fairly hilly region, very near the border with France. Still very much in Catalunya, which actually extends into France.

Coming off the motorway, it’s a downhill drive following one switchback after another. Sitting in the back of Florian’s car, this part of the journey felt interminable. And very nauseous.

Arriving in Cadaques, the first thing that one notices is just how pro-independence the town is. Road signs have the words “Republic of Catalunya” below the name of the road. There is no such legally recognised state as the Republic of Catalunya. Ergo, the signs are probably illegal. Fences and bridges are festooned with yellow ribbons. A symbol taken from the 1973 pop song by Tony Orlando.

The song is about a convict who has been released from prison and is on his way home, by bus, to his sweetheart. Understanding that she may have moved on while he was in jail, he asks her to “tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree” if she still loves him. The inference being that, if he doesn’t see a yellow ribbon, he will continue on the bus away from his hometown and leave his love affair behind him.

But this is no romantic gesture for the Catalan Independence movement. It’s a demand to the government in Madrid to release the political representatives and activists who have been imprisoned because of their demands for independence.

The names of all those imprisoned by the Madrid government attached to the Estatua Libertad dos Antorchas (the Statue of Liberty of Two Torches)

We went to a bar for a drink after our long drive and then explored the town for a while. Like all of the other places along the coast that we have visited on previous weekends, pretty much everything was closed for the winter. But, Florian and Marga knew this and we didn’t come all this way for Cadaques itself. We came for a restaurant at the top of a hill which looks out to sea and is home to a small lighthouse. This hill is on the easternmost spit of land on the coast of Spain. It is their Lands End.

The restaurant is named after the region, Cap de Creus. It’s one of those places that, if you didn’t know about it, you would never go there. There is absolutely nothing else for miles around. Yes, Cap de Creus is an area that has been preserved and protected as a national park and, it has significance to Dali fans because he spent much of his childhood along the coast there. A number of the rock formations in the national park can be seen in many of his paintings. However, it’s difficult to get to and not a typical destination for the general public. Yet the place was packed. Mostly with people who had clearly been there before and, quite a few ramblers. The whole area is a hikers paradise. Not much in the way of formal camping grounds and no buildings whatsoever. Well, apart from the lighthouse and the restaurant itself. Just rugged terrain covered in various scrubs and bushes. No trees. And yet, the place was packed. If there is one criticism that I could make about our visit to this restaurant, it would be the time it took to get served. However, this would be an unfair criticism given how busy the place was.

It was a beautiful day and, because all three of us are smokers, we sat outside. Our table was at the side of the mountain with only a small wall protecting us from the precipice. But, this afforded amazing views of the coast and the Mediterranean Sea stretching out before us.

Ramblers taking a load off at Cap de Creus Restaurant

Cap de Creus (the restaurant) basically serves two types of dishes. An amazing selection of fresh fish and, awesome curries. The owners and the staff are what I can only term as bohemian and/or hippies. Hence the curries and the overall ambience of the place. To our right was a large group of people. Couples and one small child. When they had finished their meal and were enjoying their beverages, the distinct waft of ganga permeated the air. Nobody batted an eyelid.

At the back of the outdoor seating area is a small space set aside for live music performances. Wooden benches are set amongst the outcrops of rocks and it’s easy to imagine how amazing it must be to listen to, and watch, a live performance on a warm summer’s evening. However, the musicians need to be very mindful of their surroundings because, behind them, the mountain basically falls away. I wonder if any have been a tad over exuberant in their performance and fallen to their doom.

We ended up staying there for over four and half hours. What made us finally decide to leave was the fact that, as the evening was drawing in, it was getting decidedly chilly. By now, it was 06:30pm and far too late to go to the carnival in Roses as the procession was scheduled to end at 06:00pm.

Hence me saying that things didn’t quite work out as intended.

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