I left my heart in Cadaques.
Trip Start Jul 02, 2013
35Trip End Ongoing
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We first discovered Cadaques in the middle of being buried in the toil of London life desperate for some sun and freedom. Tracey had googled "Quiet Spanish town with no British". Despite my impressions, we don't have anything against the British, we are just proudly Aussie and don’t want a rowdy boozy holiday with them, like the TV show Benadorm. The pictures looked amazing and being the home of Salvador Dali’s hideaway, we locked it in.
The town is nestled behind some small mountains covered in olive trees and scattered around three glass-like bays, joined by a single road running along the water
Our first incredible experience of Cadaques was the night of the euro cup soccer final which involved Spain. We avoided the main sports bar and headed up to a cosy local bar, which turned out to be extra cosy since every local was in it. We had a random older man sit and attempt a conversation knowing zero English. It was Pedro. Pedro is a Cadaques celebrity of sorts. He has been here thirty-five years, and is the only skilled stone-wall maker in the area, being responsible for much of the exterior stone décor of Cadaques. He lives in a shanty caravan and just manages by growing his own produce, making stone walls and selling small ornamental tree’s twirled from copper wire.
From that moment we spent every day relaxing by the water and every evening with Pedro
When it came time for us to leave, he handed us a punnet of home grown strawberries to eat on the bus. We left with quivering lips and vowed to come back. We were back within two months.
So it was only fitting that Cadaques should be a destination on this adventure. The day that we left the campsite with the hungry wild animals, rode through the few towns on the way, and came over the hills to see Cadaques in view, I felt a wave of familiar happiness like I had just come home to my real bed after months away.
We had arrived a day early for our accommodation booking and opted for the tiny cheap room in a hotel. The maid escorted us past the row of large doors leading to balconied rooms to a half-size door, and room to match, tucked in the corner under the stairs
For five nights we walked down to the local haunt to find Pedro with no luck. We were beginning to wonder if he was still here, or worse still alive. One morning I saw a familiar face and asked about Pedro, he then called his friend, who called Ramon who saw Pedro and we had a meeting booked for 8pm. At 8.15 he scooted towards me with his little red helmet and matching converse all-stars. Our hug was long and our smiles longer. He had received our letters during the year and when he saw Trace he just gently patted her hair like a compassionate concerned father, their hug lasting far longer. The next morning we woke to a bag of his tomatoes, a bouquet of handpicked flowers and a jar of his home made olive oil sitting on the doorstep.
Having our friends here gave us the opportunity to proudly show others ‘our’ town
Though they may not realise the extent, Craig and Tertia have been a really important part of our journey (not this literal one, the other life one). They are our best friends who have proven loyal, supportive, generous and thoughtful at exactly the right moment we have needed it. We have had hilarious times and Cadaques, in a way, symbolically represented the end of an era for us. From here, they return to London to take life more seriously in hope of a family, and we hit the road towards going home and growing up. Our goodbye was mitigated slightly by the fact some more friends, Liz and Tan from Australia, arrived for the weekend. Craig and Tertia were to get the early bird bus out of town, so the night before we pretended like we were just saying goodnight as always, but couldn’t help adding some extended hugs and well wishes, laughing at the prospect of it being an ordinary goodnight ritual
Liz and Tan were great company and it meant we were able to repeat our tour and restaurant list. We had some funny, interesting and inspiring conversations over many drinks and tapas’, staying up well past bedtime along with the town. When they left too, Tracey and I had an eerie silence that summed up the way we felt. Soon it was back to just us and the road home…. To grow up. Like us, Cadaques is filled with humble possibilities, and has an undercurrent of a collective battle against growing up and developing like the tourist towns surrounding it. Its charm is that it has stayed true to itself. It has managed to keep its independence and character and still functions for the crowds, I hope it keeps this balance as it grows up.