On a day with light Tramuntana we drove in the direction of Vilajuïga. There a small signposted road leads through the town towards the mountains. Just behind the village the landscape changes and gets mountain character: rocky green mountain meadows, gnarled holm and cork oak groves, in between a flock of sheep, birds chirping. The narrow road winds its way up the mountains. We enjoy the solitude.
Then the tremendous former Benedictine monastery Sant Pere de Rodes comes into sight. First mentioned in 902, the first decades of the 10th century were marked by a spiritual and material prosperity. Until today the monument on the edge of the Pyrenees is shrouded in numerous legends. They talk of buried treasures – an iron chain in which the Apostle Peter was allegedly tied up – a rain cape of St. Thomas Becket, that is expected to increase fertility – a holy cross, after which the Cap de Creus was named – and the dissolute life of some monks. Other legends tell that before the monastery was erected there had been the temple of the «Aphrodite of the Pyrenees» and that the remains of the Apostle Peter are buried there. During its heyday in the 11th Century, Sant Pere de Rodes and its famous writing school were a spiritual center. Precious manuscripts of illumination were created then. One example is the «Bible of Rodes», which is now kept in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.
The former Benedictine monastery is one of the most important romanesque buildings of the Costa Brava. It towers 500 meters above sea level and offers spectacular views. It owes its dominant position to the Pirates, who destabilised the coasts at the founding time of the monastery.The whole complex impresses with architectural monumentality in a spectacular landscape. In summer, piano concerts are held in one part of the monastery. A restaurant offers a great view of the mountains and the sea and invites hungry hikers for a lunch menu.Accessible only by foot is the higher grounded Castell de Salvador, from which one enjoys a magnificent view of the monastery and the sea. Every day the first sunbeam of Catalonia falls on the Castle of San Salvador de Verdera.