Top Travel Experience: Lloret de Mar Spain

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Between 1983 and 1986, I lived in Europe with my husband while he served with the US Air Force in Bitburg, Germany. We didn’t have a lot of money but we would venture out someplace in Germany or one of the nearby locales every weekend. This was pre-European Union days and you had to go through border crossings between countries and every country had a different monetary unit, so you had to plan ahead a little. We found some amazing places during those weekend forays. One of the best experiences, though, was the week we spent in Spain just before I turned 22. People thought we were crazy leaving a one-year-old with friends while we spent a week on the beach in Lloret de Mar, a town about an hour north of Barcelona on Spain’s Costa Brava. For us, it was a dream trip filled with sights and sounds that were new to us at the time.

Cala dels Frares by Albert Torelló

Cala dels Frares. Photo by Albert Torelló

It’s hard for me to believe that the trip was 29 years ago, because I remember it as if it were yesterday. I fell in love with the rocky coast – in fact, it turned up years later in one of my novels. The town had those classic European winding narrow roads, but it was filled with architecture left over from the Moorish influence in the area. Each day during our stay, Bill and I would wander out of town, hiking along the shore and over rocks so we could explore some new isolated little cove.

Monarc Duffel Bags

The hills outside of town were filled with some of the biggest homes I had ever seen. One day, while sitting on an outcropping of rocks watching the comings and goings around us, we spotted one house that hung to the cliff as it was waiting to jump into the churning sea below. We realized there were armed guards in front of a heavy gate at the bottom of the hill and we watched—through Bill’s zoom lens on the camera—as guards paced up and down the hill. We could see the house and there were more armed guards on the patio that overlooked the Mediterranean below it.

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Lloret de Mar 7 by TijsB

Lloret de Mar. Photo by TijsB

That moment captured the feel of Costa Brava for me. Intrigue. Power. Rugged beauty. I could just imagine James Bond winding his way up the driveway. Over the years, we’ve retold this story dozens of times. I never found out who lived there or why they needed so many guards, but we’ve created a million stories to go with that scenario. That’s why this is one of my top 20 travel experiences.

Lloret de Mar – April 1985. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

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What have you experienced on your vacations or as you’ve wandered the world that made you want to weave a story about it? What captivated you and had you wanting to know more about the people and customs? Click here to read more of my top travel experiences. 

Written by Susan Lanier-Graham

Founder and publisher Susan Lanier-Graham has traveled the world for the past twenty years, filling a passport or two along the way. She has wandered through the jungles of Thailand, explored the mysteries of the Great Pyramids, and shared the night with a leopard in Zambia. She sailed in the Mediterranean, sipped her way through Burgundy canals and Champagne caves. She followed Rembrandt’s footsteps through Amsterdam. Susan found her center on the red rocks of Sedona and soaked up an exquisite sunset over the Indian Ocean in Bali. Susan is always looking for wow moments around the world or across the street to share with adventure lovers everywhere. She has authored more than 75 books and hundreds of magazine articles. Susan is an award-winning travel writer and member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA). She is a Certified California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS). Susan's work still regularly appears in print and online. Susan is an award-winning travel writer, a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and is a Certified California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS). Susan has worked as an ambassador for Travelocity and is currently a travel ambassador for Rocky Mountaineer. Her work regularly appears in print and online in a variety of publications. These include various AAA publications, Postcards for Travel Leaders, Alamo.com, Hotels.com, Fairmont.com, So Scottsdale, Uptown, Green Living AZ, Life Refined, Modern Luxury, Marriott.com, WHERE Arizona, WHERE Traveler Phoenix + Scottsdale, and more.

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