Sobrevolant el cap de Creus
10 May 2012 0 comments Òscar Marín

Flying over the Cap de Creus and the bay of Roses

We don’t have wings, but trying to fly and enjoy the world at bird’s eye is something one must do at least once in a lifetime. If you chose to do so, make sure you do it in Alt Empordà, the north-east corner of Catalonia. Here’s where you will find an aerodrome known for launching more than planes. I’m talking about skydivers. This is where they gather…and jump. More than one hundred thousand times per year. And for a reason. This area of Catalonia is known for its beauty. Praised by writers and painters, and often compared to other Mediterranean jewels like Provence and Tuscany. Here you can feast your eyes with postcard-worthy landscapes, dreamy beaches, gripping medieval villages and charming rural cottages. You can have all that at once…from above.

A panoramic view of the Cap de Creus

Upon arrival at the aerodrome of Empuriabrava the first thing I noticed was the hustle and bustle. On one end of the airstrip –placed right before the cafeteria– you could see the next set of skydivers prepping before takeoff. All following with attentive eyes the instructor’s safety dos and don’ts while tempted to watch through the corner of their eyes the neighboring fields where men and women were constantly touching ground after the jump. If they only looked up, they could have seen the sky scattered with open parachutes, some holding one skydiver, some with two (instructors are more than willing to share their expertise beyond the spoken word). All of this was happening at the same time as a plane was taking off while another was approaching, the very same one I would hop in moments later.

Bird’s eye

The good thing is that you don’t need to be experienced to do this. Just to be eager to have the experience of your life. If you are used to planes, takeoff isn’t too different except for the fact that you can feel the lightness of the plane when it bullets towards the sky. Once on the air, you are in store for the first surprise: the canals of Empuriabrava, a Venice-style maze of water, roofs and swimming pools. With a northeast turn we fly over the town of Roses as we see the great rocky ridge of cap de Creus, the easternmost tip of the Iberian peninsula. Right there we can spot the white houses of Cadaqués, where Salvador Dalí spent many summers in his youth. Maybe he would have liked to see his retreat –located in the nearby Bay of Portlligat– from a metal bird like ours. Rows of boats moored yards away from the beach lay along the coast like beads and the trail of sailing boats and yachts reminds us of the possibility to hire one from Estació Nàutica Roses-Cap de Creus once back on the ground.

The Empuriabrava’s beach

The plane then follows an imaginary circle towards the west right above Port de la Selva and veers south, where we are hit by the sublime sighting of the great bay of Roses before going back to base. The bay glisters with a palette of bright colors: blue, white and green. Sea, sand and forest. The green belongs to the natural park of Empordà Aiguamolls, an idyllic and protected space spattered with lakes and ponds, the perfect habitat for numerous birds. Ironically not too far from the canals and villas of Empuriabrava. At this height you can witness the true dimensions of the human footprint. Speaking of humans, it’s time to stop this bird thing and leave behind these borrowed wings. It’s time to jump.

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