Spain – Spectacular Gardens & Gaudi Tour 2016
Granada, Cordoba, Sevilla, Barcelona and the Costa Brava Coastline
June 7th – June 16th, 2016
 

 

June 13th Excursion to Cap Roig and Santa Clotilde
On our way out we made a stop at a convenience area and loved the little pots of sunflowers sitting there saying Hi to us as we arrived…and also the huge 5 kg bottles of honey on display. Cap Roig is simply stunning with views to match. The Gardens of Cap Roig are a singular, unique and magical space and considered one of the best botanic gardens in the Mediterranean. Nature, art, culture and history unite in this 17-hectare enclave that holds nearly 1,000 botanical species from all over the world and sculptures by renowned Spanish and international artists. The history of this space goes back to 1927, when the Russian colonel Nicolai Woevodsky, lover of drawing and architecture, and the English aristocrat and decorator Dorothy Webster, an archaeology and gardening enthusiast, were searching on the Costa Brava for a place to live and to build their dream. After years of effort and work, they succeeded in creating this singular space where nature and calm reign. The couple rest, as they wished, in one of the most beautiful corners of this spot. The castle and its gardens are today their legacy. The garden is terraced all the way from the house (castle) down to the beach, linked by elegant footsteps lined with tall cypresses, offering many tantalizing views of the sea, but the best view is from Mirador de la Lady.

Then to Tossa de Mar for lunch and a stroll in the old town…so pretty. Before becoming a tourist resort, Tossa was a small fishing village, and before this, was involved in various other industries such as cork, food preservation, charcoal burning, wine making and olive oil production. At one time, Tossa even had a fleet of boats which traded with other Mediterranean ports and America. Another important part of Tossa’s history was the filming of Pandora and the Flying Dutchman in the 1950s, with Ava Gardner and James Mason in starring roles. At one of the most spectacularly astounding viewpoints of the Vila Vella, there is a magnificent bronze statue of the renowned American actress, Ava Gardner. A tranquil stroll around the old town reveals a multitude of intricately interwoven alley ways, each leading to its own spectacular pine framed view of the bay of Tossa, lapped by the sparkling topaz blue Mediterranean, sunlight drizzling through the branches. The Diana Hotel in Tossa de Mar started out as a private home..and what it must have looked like in 1906...the original owner made his money in cork..and thankfully the new owners kept the uniqueness.

Finally Santa Clotilde…gosh what a wonderful day spent. oh wow, was the Jardins de Santa Clotilde ever worth visiting...there are some gardens you visit that you just want to wander more, to look forward and backward and up and out, for there is just so much to appreciate...and this was one... This wonderful garden was landscaped in a setting of great beauty on top of a cliff with breath taking views over the sea. It is a fine specimen of the spirit that animated the Noucentista movement in Calalonia – an early 20th century movement for intellectual and aesthetic renewal that found a distinguished spokesman in the writer Eugeni d’Ors.

The Santa Clotilde gardens were designed in the manner of the dainty yet austere gardens of the Italian Renaissance by Nicolau Rubió i Tuduri at the age of twenty-eight, when he was still brimming over with admiration for his master in the art of landscape gardening, JCN Forestier. In these gardens, Rubió ignored Forestier's teachings with their Spanish-Arabic slant mixed up with images of the French garden, as he had seen when working with Forestier, and instead sought to recover the spirit of the Italian Renaissance as the essence of modernity. A new bourgeoisie was then emerging, looking back nostalgically on the prestige enjoyed by patrons of the arts during the Renaissance. The garden greets us with a blend of features from the Villa Medici, the Villa Borghese and perhaps the Boboli gardens as well - Florence was where one went for inspiration at the time. The spirit of romanticism underlies the garden, expressed in the marble bust glimpsed amid the vines, looking out to sea with its back to us - another delightful parody of that romantic sentiment of union with nature, closer to Leopardi than to his master C.D. Friedrich. These gardens, work on which began before the house, feature a collection of marble statues in the neo-classical style and the mermaids by the sculptress Maria Llimona. All the paths, avenues, squares and steps are set off by clipped hedges that form splendid green architectural shapes.
 

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