The walls at Tossa de Mar are perhaps one of its biggest attractions. Holiday makers get to feel like they’re drinking in historic culture when in fact all they’re doing, by and large, is drinking in the local alcohol culture and cooking themselves under that big tanning lamp in the sky, fearful of returning home without white bits and the accompanying adulation from peers and colleagues for looking ‘healthy’.
The Catalan people have done their utmost to keep the walls intact although down the years smaller houses have been ‘tacked’ onto the sides of them, albeit tastefully done. This actually gives the town a sense of cosiness and the architecture is largely sympathetic to the old walls and churches that are dotted within the small area that is Tossa de Mar.
At first appearance you expect to see a keep and sentry towers but actually there are just ramparts and a few prison towers with some incredibly unwelcoming cells. I could imagine the horrors people must have been subjected to inside those walls and frankly, it made me shudder.
The Costa Brava was a paranoid hotbed of defences in the early part of the second, post-Christ millennium and it is said that these walls and others in the area (such as the towers built at Begur) were placed to fend off attacks from pirates; attacks which never occurred.
A climb to the top nowadays brings you to a very modern lighthouse and a few restaurants, all vying for your hard earned holiday pocket money. Along the walls there are street entertainers, hippies making jewellery and various ice cream vendors. Of course, being on holiday you’ll part with it because you’re on holiday. These clever vendors know this too so perhaps that makes them a new breed of pirate.
For some reason the Catalunyans have failed to grasp capitalism which works in their favour. The walls are free to be explored and the only levies are those imposed by said restaurateurs and hippies, but again, you’re free to avoid those if you so choose.
The narrow ramparts make for an exciting wander, especially when faced with overweight tourists coming the other way. There were the obligatory dirty looks and huffs which never amounted to anything more than a storm in a B-cup.
For a few hours you can freely immerse yourself in the nostalgia of the aged walls, imagine those non-existent pirates buckling and swashing as you stand beside the rusty old cannons overlooking the Mediterranean, while conquistadors plotted their routes to new worlds and Monty Python-esque Inquisitors, well, ‘inquisited’ I suppose.
Tossa de Mar is a lovely town well worthy of a visit so if you’d like to book a hotel there you can click here to find one.
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