I was just thinking, where is my favourite place? I used to say it was Sonoma Valley in Northern California, just north of San Francisco. When asked why, I said, because it smells amazing. It's got lots of trees and is hilly. Anyway, it's been years since I was last there, which is a shame.
My new-ish favourite place is the wild beach at the Delta Ebro on Spain's Costa Durada. The river Ebro starts in the mountains and flows out into the sea from the Delta Ebro.
I have own a home in that area for 14 years and it's only really been in recent years that I have discovered it's beauty and charm. It's a really long beach (the thin bit above that links the land masses), I would say a couple of miles long and what is so unique about it, is how the channels in around the back of the beach (Trabucador) and you get, what Americans would call a panhandle. The waves on the costal side are uninterrupted and on a very even flat bit of coastline. I hate walking into the sea and all of a sudden it drops away. Here you can walk out into the sea a long way before you are submerged, out of your depth.
It's one of those places that you will never have heard of, as it's not a tourist destination. There are never that many people there and we always go to the furthest point you can drive too, then walk a little further. It's nice to choose either the peace and quite, or take the bluetooth speaker and blast out the music, knowing that you will not annoy anyone. We make camp close to the shoreline so it's easy to run in, and out. From June the water is always warm. Sometimes it feels like bath water. Sometimes the waves are high and it's fun to jump through them. Other times is flat and calm, like a mill pond.
The sun shines and we have a picnic. There are no shops, bars or toilets at the wild beach. You take everything with you (and take everything away, when you go).
Part of the excitement is the journey there, once you turn off the main road and head into the delta, it's very flat and fertile, which is why they grown rice there. Yes rice - Paella needs rice. There are mile upon mile of paddy fields.
Plus all the wonderful wildlife, like Stork and Heron, that goes with them. Once you get throughout the fields of rice and are close to the beach, there are 1,000's of Flamingo birds.
Another attraction to this area is the kite surfing and wind surfing, as the water in the estuary only comes up to your knees. Perfect for getting back on again. It's a really safe place to let small children play in the water, as there are not tidal waves and currents to sweep them away.
After 8pm you are allowed to fish off-the-coast but not before as folks will be swimming in the sea and you wouldn't want to catch one of them!
In the middle on the summer you can quite happily sit on the beach till 8pm, as everything is still beautifully warm. The journey home is only an hour.
So, it's probably one of my most favourite places in the world.