As the legend goes, Orpheus, the mythological singer from ancient Greece, was sailing the Western Mediterranean when his boat struck a solitary rock in the middle of the night and foundered. He survived by clinging to the rock all night.
At dawn, he realized that he was too far away from the main coast: it was impossible for him to reach it by swimming. He was sad because of his terrible fate, but also amazed by the beauty of the mountains on the coast. Being a sensitive and mythological guy, he took his lyre and began to sing to the mountains. The high, massive, snow covered, distant and wonderful mountains (which happened to be the Pyrenees range) liked so much that divine song that little by little they approached to Orpheus’ rock for better listening to him. When the easternmost tip of the range reached Mr. Orpheus’ rock, the wise musician hopped to the coast and went home on foot.
Since then, that tip, or cape, has been known as the Orpheus’ Cape (so named by the Greeks 2575 years ago, when this coast was a Greek colony; its current name is “Cap Norfeu”, Catalan contraction of “Cap d’en Orfeu”: Orpheus’ Cape)
In more recent times, another mythological creature -me- decided to visit Cap Norfeu and its virgin surroundings just to take a walk and a bath. This post is the account of that epic day.
Cap Norfeu is part of a coastal Natural Park (Cap de Creus), subject to strong protection by law.
Notwithstanding this legal protection, human beings and mythological creatures are free to walk around as long as they respect the environment and don’t behave as assholes.
It is difficult to get lost in Cap Norfeu:
It is easy to fall into the sea if you don’t watch your step:
It is very unlikely to find anybody following this very path in autumn, but …:
It is completely normal to feel like Zeus in Cap Norfeu:
Life was difficult for shepherds in Cap Norfeu:
Life is delicious for yacht owners in the coves around Cap Norfeu:
The only building in Cap Norfeu -apart from a very old shepherd’s hut- is a ruined defensive tower (17th century) on the cape’s highest point. It was built there because baroque pirates loved to come on holidays to these waters.
Cap Norfeu is located in the world’s most beautiful region (opinion is free): Empordà. Empordà (administratively divided in two comarcas: Alt Empordà and Baix Empordà), as my loyal readers know, belongs to the province of Girona, Catalonia, Spain, Europe, planet Earth. The Empordà’s Mediterranean wild coast is known as “Costa Brava”.
Did you know that the word “Empordà” comes from the Greek “Emporion”, which means “market”? More info about the Greek and Roman roots of this little paradise in Covetotop’s universally acclaimed (18 likes up to date) post “The coastal path of Empúries”
I don’t know why, but whenever I think about classical philology (that’s one or two times per century) I feel compelled to swim urgently in the Mediterranean Sea. This time is no exception, ergo I seek desperately an appropriate little corner in the Orpheus’ cape area to swim for a while. By “appropriate” I mean crystal clear waters, blue skies, mild breezes, rosemary scents, total solitude and a long series of physical and metaphysical conditions which I don’t dare to transcript here.
My first thought was visiting Cala Rustella (“cala” means “cove”; cove to top 😉 ), but it is a little far away from the cape and I don’t want to walk so much by now. Disregarded:
Cala Canadell lies at the point where Norfeu Cape joins the main coast (North face). It is an unspoilt cave, but I have to descend and to climb a lot just for taking a little bath. Disregarded:
Cala Pelosa lies more or less at the point where Norfeu Cape joins the main coast (South face), but there are too many signs of human presence. Disregarded:
After a little walking I find what I deem an “appropriate cove” to get rid of my philological concerns …
Yes, this place seems very “appropriate” … it has crystal clear waters …
… nobody around and a there’s a cozy corner to extend my towel …
Yes … Cala Calitjà is the perfect cove to take the perfect philological bath. This place is so wonderful that I feel like singing now …
At this point I wonder if such a musically sensitive cape like Norfeu would respond to my singing the same way it did to Mr. Orpheus’ singing long time ago. Facing the cape, floating in the chilly Mediterranean waters, I sing with the full power of my voice an aria from Monteverdi’s opera “L’Orfeo” …
I sing, but Norfeu cape does not move an inch. It is so disgusting! Perhaps Norfeu cape is too massive for my musical skills. Let’s try it with this little side of the cove …
I sing again, but nothing happens. It does not move either. I’m afraid I have no mythological powers. Perhaps the time has come to go home. Yeah.
On the way to my home, singing non-stop, I take a last glance at Norfeu Cape from afar and I am shocked. Of course, I shut up. I’m not very sure, but I’d swear that it really has moved. Not towards me; it has moved just towards the opposite direction, towards the horizon … Is it running away from me? Do I sing so bad?
At home, silent and taciturn, I render homage to the mythological Orpheus by playing on my stereo a really good version of Claudio Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, the first opera ever written (1607) …
This was a mythological day, really …
(“Hi ha quelcom en l’anima empordanesa que no s’explicaria sense la presència d’aquella immensa cavalcada de roques pirenenques, atretes mar endins per les eòliques ressonàncies de la lira d’Orfeu” –excerpt from ”Les Gràcies de l’Empordà”, chapter XIV, written by Pere Corominas, published in 1919)