Cadaques(Costa Brava,Spain)

“Ll Dolce Far Niente”-Sweetness of doing nothing.

img_5719

While watching the movie “Eat Pray Love” I came across this Italian phrase and the image of “Cadaques” instantly flashed in my mind.

“A Spanish holiday”-The first timers would go “cuckoo over” Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and all those trip advisor cliché destinations where they would go visit cathedrals, piazzas, palazzos, museus and of course those football stadiums add more weariness to the routine which they wanted to escape and defeat the very purpose of vacationing to relax.

Not that one should not do those things, nothing against it but there should be some part in everyone’s travel itinerary where the very idea of stop, hold, take a breath and look around, not through the lenses of your camera but with real eyes.

While reading the travel guide “Lonely planet-Spain,” came across this name “Cadaques” and googled it to see a pic and was taken aback by this little picturesque village. Thus it was added into “MY” cliché itinerary of Spain.

We started a road trip early morning from Barcelona along the coast line of Costa Brava and made stopovers to the towns of Lloret De Mar and Tossa De Mar (both were absolutely worth it).

Tossa De Mar
Tossa De Mar

Of course we drove through the sunflower laden fields with winding roads along the coast, which was all as imagined from the Bollywood movie “Zindagi na milegi Dobara”.

But after the town of Tossa de Marr the roads transfigured to rugged, high altitude, narrow mountainous terrain with deep gorges on the sides.

It was almost dusk by the time we entered into the town of Cadaques and although Google doesn’t leave much scope for freshness these days but somehow the setting sun gleaming on the waters and the reflection of golden stones around it beckoned a field of turquoise set in gold. The ripples on the surface of water appeared to be like dancing fairies.

I think traveling is a wonderful way to give you moments, which can go down your book of “memories to behold for life”, and that one glimpse surely qualifies for it.img_5623

Around 3 hours drive from Barcelona, nestled amidst the mountains and difficult accessibility prevented tourist flocks, which was the reason the town looked so pure even the buildings around it were washed with the purest form of color –“White”.

Few things that I learnt from my travel experiences:

Book your stays in a villa or apartment as far as possible to give you a very authentic local feel.

Go for early morning walk around the place to really understand the way of life of that place.

“Cadaques cool apartment” was the place I booked and would highly recommend it because of the height of its location it had a very wide birds eye view of the entire town.Cadaques cool apartments

View from my Apartment

Rent a small size car for the reason that parking is a big issue and the lanes very narrow. While trying to squeeze my rental mini van in that narrow lane I got lots of scratches on the car but the locals took pride in helping, as proud as the town itself.

Finally the car was parked in the garage of the apartment and there was no way it was going to get down again until we checked out.

So basically our planned course of the tour ahead ceased to exist from there and the “sweetness of doing nothing”,came into existence.

Small town, rough beaches and no monuments. Basically nothing to do, nothing, but just walk around the town.

The town, with arches leading into meandering narrow pathways. Pathways, which were cobbled merging into stairs sometimes, up and then down.

img_1039

Stairs, advancing to some courtyard of the cluster of houses. Houses, with red, green and blue windows and crawling bougainvillea in alcoves of their walls. Walls, radiating crimson peach pink and all the hues of red.img_1038

All of it just seemed like a painting, a painting so perfect to inspire Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. No wonder they came here because they knew pure beauty is tonic like no other.
img_1041.jpgIt was such a sleepy little town people did not seem to be going anywhere and in no rush to do anything and we too were not in a hurry.

After wandering entire day and watched the sky transforming from azure to saffron, we decided to take a boat ride.

img_5621

All this while it was the town that mesmerized and now it was the distant view of the place with its silhouette in waters and that silhouette changed its color with depth. Water was clean and sparkling that we could actually see the floor of the sea.

img_5758
The boat ride

There were tiny islands in between where people were just lazing and had come before the sunrise and had no intention of going back even at sunset.

“Doing nothing”

At some point in the middle of the sea you can jump into those waters and swim around (so carrying a swim suit along wouldn’t be bad idea).

While coming back all I could think was because “nothing”cannot be quantified so the joy derived from it is bound to be “infinite” only if we knew how to put it in our practice of daily lives once in a while.

Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan

Being brought up and lived in Rajasthan I had  never thought that after traveling so much all across the world, a trip itself in Rajasthan would  be my inspiration for my first travel blog.

Driving down from Jaipur to Kumbhalgarh was  an experience in itself. The way my familiar landscape of flat lands  and wide desert laden vistas changed after the district of Beawer  to rugged mountanious terrain, winding roads and small green meadows miraculously appearing in between those rocky mountains with colorful little villages perched on a top of a small hills was so amazing.

As soon as you enter the town of Kumbhalgarh what you do not  expect to see is this  pristine sparkling lake which was the focal point of many resorts of the town .The town is very touristy with no main markets or housing population as such but only Resorts and Hotels-some near the lake and some over the mountains.

So if you avoid typical tourist seasons(which I couldn’t) the town would by very quiet peaceful and serene.

The first sight of the Kumbhalgarh fort and you are awestruck by the sheer size of it …and its not that I have not seen forts before, but the size of the guarding wall (the second largest wall after “The Great wall of China”) which was 46 kms long hosting a Marathon on it every year makes you feel ..”Yes this would be the place where the brave warriors of Mewar like Maharana Kumbha and Maharana Pratap would surely come take refuge and win the wars when there own political forts were besieged by Mughals”. Yes, it does lives upto its reputation of undefeated “at least by the sight of it”.

The light and sound show in the evening at the fort is must see because you are enveloped by the most beautiful canopy of stars over you as soon as the light go out the folk Rajasthani music in the background and even the cheesy narration of history all sets the mood at the right note.

Trek to Parshuram Mahadev temple is highly recommended for the most secluded and underexplored views away from the regular hustle and bustle of the tourists.

Being totally unprepared for the trek we just set off with some local recommendation to visit that place. I Had been walking on the fort all day already tired, and in the evening we set off for the trek.

It was around 1.5 kms steep downhill one way in the middle of the forest, no handrails no, support and no sport shoes for me. After you arrive at the temple platform and ascend to some 200 solid stairs, enter in a narrow cave where the Shiv Linga there was some calcite deposit of the cave itself.

Parshuram Mahadev Temple 1

While coming back the sun had already set.

Dark and chilly trek now steep uphill in the forest, without lights, with no battery and signals in cellphones and in those dark moments all we could think of was the bears and leopards that had become man-eater, seemingly present around us. It looked like a “No Man’s Land” at that time of night. The very thought that no one else was going to come and look for us over there was petrifying enough to cloud the logic in your brain..nevertheless convincing ourself to take “one step at a time” and not thinking too much about the completion of journey was the keyword for that moment, and of course we came back safe and sound but in retrospect today sitting in the comfort of my living room is making me think that why don’t we think like thison-the-way-to-parshuram for life in general.

Things would be so less complicated and there would be clarity in our minds for at least that particular moment which we are in to.