Paradise Found in Lloret de Mar (part 2)
Santa Clotilde Gardens was our first stop in the seaside resort town of Lloret de Mar, Spain. The day seemed to be smiling with a soft blue sky and a warm sun playing peek-a-boo among the tree branches. As we strolled between two towering Monterey Cyprus trees flanking the entrance, the magic of the gardens began to take hold.
One of our first surprises was the absence of flower beds. Nearly everything growing was green. Each tree, topiary, as well as the ivy that grew on every riser of every stone step added its own hue to the living collage.
The second surprise was the absence of walls at Santa Clotilde Gardens. Our guide for the day, Marta, explained that trees and bushes formed the perimeters of the squares, as well as the barrier at the edge of the cliff.
Touring the Gardens
We stopped at the first square, known as Siren Square. Five bronze sculptures of sirens greeted us. Their flowing tresses, perfectly proportioned nude bodies and tails were a feast for the eyes. Over two dozen bronze and marble sculptures accentuate gardens, placed there by the original owner of the property.
The Gardens History
Raül Roviralta i Astoul, Marquis of Roviralta, fell in love with and married Clotilde, the love of his life. He referred to her as a saint. So in 1919, he commissioned master architect and landscaper Nicolau Maria Rubió i Tudurí to design and build the house and gardens in honor of his beloved bride. The project took eight years. Sadly, Clotilde didn’t have the good fortune to enjoy her husband’s gift long enough. After bearing the Marquis four children, she tragically died.
The Marquis eventually remarried and had four more children. Although his descendants still own the house, Santa Clotilde Gardens now belong to the city, and have been open to the public since 2006.
As we made our way down to the clifftop, we were struck by the numerous varieties of Mediterranean plants, bushes and trees. The small squares with their original sculptures and fountains beckoned us to stop and savor our surroundings. Sensory gardens, filled with the sounds of birdsong and ocean waves, fresh, green fragrances, punctuated with a small pocket of heavily scented jasmine. Add to that the touchable textures of leaves, trees, as well as bronze and marble.
The gardens in Lloret de Mar have become a haven for those who want to find a quiet place to read, meditate or simply breathe in the beauty of Santa Clotilde. At the bottom of a long slope, we found ourselves at the top of the cliff, looking down on the stunning views of the beach and sea below us stretching to the horizon. It’s hardly surprising that Santa Clotilde Gardens is a popular spot for weddings and wedding photos.
If You Visit
A visit to Santa Clotilde Gardens costs €5.00 for adults and €2.50 for children. This is small price to pay for the opportunity to lose yourself in the calm and tranquility of these unique gardens.
Disclaimer: Our day in Lloret de Mar was generously hosted by Lloret Tourisme, Restaurante POPS, the Institut Gem Wellness & Spa Hotel and Patronat de Turisme Costa Brava, Girona, who coordinated our entire visit to Costa Brava. However, all opinions, as always, are entirely my own.
Along with her photographer husband, Simon Lock, and her guide dog, “Otto”, Penny has spent the last three years focused on making the most of what is supposed to be the couple’s retirement.
Penny’s background is in public relations and community outreach, with nine years as a television talk-show host and producer. As her career progressed, she found herself writing a variety of copy: articles, newsletters, annual reports, press releases, etc.
When Simon and Penny moved from Atlanta to New Bern in 2006 to start their business in auto repair, she began to cast about for opportunities to continue writing. Through her networking efforts, she landed a part-time job as staff writer for The County Compass, a local weekly publication, where she learned that writing for a newspaper was a niche unto itself.
When Simon and Penny decided to close up shop and retire early in 2013, they began taking online courses and live workshops in travel writing, web copy, blogging and, for Simon, photography, through Great Escape Travel (GEP) and American Writers and Artists Inc. (AWAI).
Today, Penny writes regularly for her travel blog, http://sixlegswilltravel.com, and is continuously expanding her freelance travel writing for newspapers and both print and online magazines, with Simon taking all the spectacular photos. Both Penny and Simon are members of the International Travel Writers and Photographers Alliance ITWPA).
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