Aiguamolls park is tucked between the developments of Roses, Empuriabrava and Castelló d’Empúries and thank goodness the developers were kept at bay for this is an exquisite, peaceful and fragile eco-system where man should not be the protagonist.
The area is a marshland formed by the rivers Muga and Fluvià where they reach the Mediterranean Sea and has been an important stopping off point for migrating birds on their annual voyages from N. Africa to N. Europe.
The park is well organised with many trails and hides from which to observe the ever changing variety of breeding, nesting, resting and feeding birds of all sizes and descriptions from tiny robins and nightingales to massive flamingos and purple herons.
The visitor centre can provide maps and bird information although I find it strange that no organised tours with an expert ornithologist are available on a daily basis.
One of the great success stories has been providing nesting facilities for the white stork and their enormous nests are very easy to spot and if you choose the right time of year seeing the young chicks being fed is a great experience.
Best time to come is early in the morning as this is when the activity level is high and the birdsong at its loudest.
Walking to the beach will take about an hour and if you want to make a circular path the whole way around the park allow several hours and take a hat, comfortable walking shoes and have cameras and binoculars at the ready!
The 23rd of April is not an official holiday here in Catalonia but it sure seems like it! Many balconies and buildings are draped in Catalan flags and many shop windows try to incorporate one of the two main symbols of the day.
The tradition is for men to give women a rose (or two!) and in return they are given a book. The centre of Girona around the Rambla is full of stalls selling books and flowers and I have never seen the streets so busy, possibly because it has been a splendid, warm (hot even) day, with a clear blue sky after what seems like weeks of rain.
This is one of the few times that people seem to raise money for “good” causes; children raise money for their school play or boy scouts for a summer camp.
So beware as you walk the streets, either buy a rose or use a book to defend yourself !