Spain: Part 4

Just back from a lovely weekend of teaching more travel sketchbooking at the beach in Gualala, California, but more on that later.  Back to Spain, and my fifth day there, on the Costa Brava now.  Our hosts have left us to our own devises and we decide we really need a day of rest.  But I think I’ll need a couple days of posting here to fit in all that happened while we were “resting”.  . . starting with a hunt for Shams’ glasses and coffee across the street in the Camping – (not a translation – this is the Spanish or European word for this very European custom of camping. . .in style).  There was nothing this lovely camp ground was missing, including an internet cafe which was where we had our morning coffee.

If we had appreciated the hospitality of our Spanish hosts previously, we came to appreciate it even more as we proceeded to negociate our way through our day with negligible understanding of how things like elevators and bike paths work.  Humor became our most valued companion, especially as we manuvered the bikes into the elevator one at a time, stopping every two minutes for laughing fits.

We had been told that in the adjacent Parc Natural dels Aiguamolls de l’Emporda we would easily find flamingos and we were not to be deterred when our bikes could not find their way there.  We had a rental car, so we gave it another try, and found the most enchanting marsh ecosystem teaming with birds and in particular with storks, who were nesting in gigantic nests right beside the path.  The signs advised silence and so we whispered our excitement and I did this sketch while holding my breath, standing directly under the nest.

There was a kind of duck blind enclosure where we sat for a while, looking through a telescope and enjoying the bird life, until the mosquitoes started biting and it became pretty obvious that we would not be connecting with any Spanish flamingos. . .so. . .

. . .I faked it.  Apparently there really are flamingos in the park, earlier and later in the year.

But it was still our “day of rest”, so we headed back to the beach for a walk and a swim in the Mediterranean. . .ahhhhh!  I had it all to myself.  Not what I had expected from what I’d heard about Mediterranean beaches in the summer with all of Europe lining up in their bikinis (or topless) with their beach chairs.  Of course it was 6pm and pretty cold and breezy with cracks of thunder and a darkening sky. . .but the water was delectable.

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