For the last of my #catalunyaexperience posts we find ourselves in Roses – A Catalan Adventure #incostabrava. Roses is a seaside town on the northern tip of the Costa Brava and is only 30km away from the French border. Steeped in history; as we drove into the town we were eager to explore.
The beach looked so inviting even though the weather was definitely on the turn. It was still warm but certainly very cloudy. As we’d driven into Roses I’d seen what looked like old city walls, the avid history lover in me was interested to know more.
While La Ciutadella was calling me, a guided bicycle tour had been arranged for our group with Burricleta, using their GPS electric bicycles. We all had the opportunity to try these bikes out, it soon became clear that I need to go back to school. I haven’t ridden a bike of any sort for nearly 40 years, and didn’t feel confident enough for the 2 hour tour ahead. Monkey didn’t like sitting on the back of Daddy P’s bike either, so we decided Daddy P would join the bicycle tour and Monkey and I would explore La Ciutadella with Eva from the Roses Tourist office and our tour guide Gemma.
We waved Daddy P and the rest of the group off and looked forward to hearing about their journey later in the day. Everyone was happy, and it meant we would see two different sides to Roses.
We crossed the road and found ourselves in front of La Ciutadella, parts of which date back to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th century BC when the area was settled by Romans and Greeks from the island of Rhodes.
I had originally thought that La Ciutadella were ancient city walls, I was amazed to discover what lay beyond the walls. I fervently believe that history is not boring and can be brought to life for children by exploring historical monuments. I’ve loved history for as long as I can remember and want to instill the same passion in Monkey from an early age. He will be learning about the ancient worlds of the Greeks and Romans in the next couple of years so it was wonderful to start his learning journey in Roses.
We could have joined an official tour of the grounds, but with a nearly 5-year-old Monkey, I find a less formal approach works best. Eva picked up a tour bag so Monkey could become a Greek soldier and we could explore at our own pace.
The site is vast and kept us entertained for a couple of hours, at no point was Monkey bored. He loved finding out what lay around the next corner, up the steps, what he could see over the wall.
The site is not fully excavated even now, I wonder what treats still lie beneath the surface. It’s very child friendly, with lots of room to run around and explore. My son loved the whole experience. The setting is wonderful, surrounded by mountains and the sea, it was very picturesque.
As regular readers will know we love nature and Monkey discovered a red beetle and a row of ants on our travels, both grabbed his attention so we took a break from our cultural tour and enjoyed a bit of bug hunting.
Once we’d thoroughly explored the grounds of La Ciutadella we headed inside to the museum. There were a few interactive displays to grab Monkey’s interest as we passed through and looked at the artifacts that had been found during excavations.
Then it was time to meet up with Daddy P and share tales of our adventures.
It was wonderful to watch Monkey’s enthusiasm as he told his Daddy all about La Ciutadella and it proved to me once again, that children are never too young to learn about history.
Daddy P then told us about his cycling adventure, exploring part of the nature park on the outskirts of Roses and the canal network of Santa Margarita. Although he had spent most of his time cycling so didn’t get to take any photos (slap those wrists!) he did stop to take a little video footage for us. He really did get to see a very different and unique side to Roses.
After a busy morning we were all in need of some lunch, so we headed off along the Roses seafront towards the main town.
Across the road and up a lane we discovered the Restaurant L’Entrecot. We were treated to a wide variety of salads and cold meats as a starter and a wonderful paella for our main meal, ice cream followed for desert. It was the perfect end to our visit.
We all agreed that we could see ourselves returning to Roses and the surrounding area. There are a number of historical sites to explore as well as three nature reserves within close reach. We spotted the Roses and Cap de Creus excursion road train and we’d definitely look at a trip on that if we came back to Roses.
Our trip has shown us that the Costa Brava has so much to offer, we enjoyed every moment, from our arrival, to pirate adventures in L’Estartit and the gourmet delights of La Vinyeta.We were so lucky to get a taster of what the area has to offer and for a family of history and nature lovers; we were left wanting to see more.
My son grew up so much on our trip, it was a joy to watch. He hasn’t stopped talking about it since we returned a month ago. When we went to his parents evening at school, we opened his information book and saw that he’d been telling his teacher all about his trip, flying to Barcelona, going on a pirate ship, Daddy going on a bicycle and him learning about Greeks and Romans. It was lovely to see.
The beaches of Spain are wonderful, but they really are the tip of a fabulously diverse country. We have fallen under the spell of Catalunya and we will be back.
disclaimer: we were guests of the Catalunya Tourist Board throughout our taster weekend. Our comments still remain our own, honest opinions.