Friday! So now what? Two precious days of deeply desired weekend stretch ahead. Life is short, and it's time to fill the next 48 hours with memories that satisfy our curiosity and carry our spirits through another working week.
We get into the car and head north on the coastal highway to Girona, as the warm afternoon sun flashes past the wing mirrors. We take the exit to Blanes, and we're soon greeted by a picture-perfect Costa Brava postcard scene: before us, the calm turquoise sea, to our left an impressive cliff, and a small upwardly winding road that beckons us to climb towards the cloudless blue sky. We find ourselves in a hidden corner of the Mediterranean and suddenly in front of the historic botanical garden of Marimurtra.
The name Marimurtra describes the garden's mix of Mediterranean flora and sea atmosphere. Founded by the German botanist Karl Faust in 1920, the garden is today home to more than 4,000 different plant species - both native varieties and those gathered from the furthest corners of the planet, including Central American and Southern Africa.
It is one of the most impressive and important botanical gardens in all of Europe. Botanical gardens have held a changing role in history. As their names indicate, they have long served for medicinal studies and the cultivation of plants with healing properties. They've also been silent witnesses to the evolution of the planet, and of society through the countless visitors that come to marvel at their aesthetics and serene beauty. For almost a century, Marimurtra has been an oasis of peace and conservation, and a haven of enlightenment and education.
This garden and its surrounding park are perched on a rocky cliff from which the close proximity of the sea comes us as a stunning surprise. At the entrance, a white building with green window blinds and a typical clay roof marks a strikingly beautiful contrast to the spectrum of colorful flowers and plants that wind around it like a glorious carpet.
We stroll among the giant cactus formations and delve into the labyrinth of sights, sounds and scents. Natural stone paths lead the visitor and their senses through the different areas – from rainforest to desert. We follow the long flight of steps leading to the Linnaeus temple, where the sea breeze softly welcomes us. The spectacular view over the small bay and out to the horizon seems the perfect point to stop for a moment and just feel glad we're alive and that we too are part of Mother Nature's complex, unrepeatable tapestry.
Marimutra is a treasure chest, an open box of Mediterranean beauty. It’s also the last outpost for some of the world’s most endangered plant species. Botanical gardens like this are well worth our time and support. As the famous travelers’ proverb goes: take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints.