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Posts Tagged ‘Spain’

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We chose this town for an overnight stop on our way back to France from Barcelona. Unlike some bigger places on the Costa Brava it is not known for it’s party scene. What sealed the deal were coastal walks in each direction – one to Cap Roig botanical garden and in the other direction to a lighthouse with a stunning view. We headed for the garden first, and spent an hour wandering the meticulous sloping terraces of a lovely old chateau.

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On the way back we stopped at platje Golfet, a near-deserted beach where we swam in the crystal clear water before following the coastal path back to our hotel in town for a picnic lunch on the deck. After lunch we climbed to the lighthouse, rewarded ourselves with a jug of Sangria and them lolled around the pool until dinner. A perfect day in Catalunya.

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I knew nothing about tapas and now I know only a very little, but that I will share:

These are home-style Spanish tapas. They are served on plates you can share around. There are meatballs in a spicy sauce, egg and potato tortilla, croquettes and bravas potatoes with spicy sauce.

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And these are slightly fancier Tapas:
Paper- thin Iberian ham on a slice of baguette, tuna salad in the square pot, smoked salmon and creme fraiche in a glass and a dainty little salad.

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And these are my favorite kind: Basque tapas also known as pinxtos – hope I spelled it right! Really flavorful and inventive little bits of anything that will fit on a large toothpick or on a slice of bread then secured with a toothpick and usually drizzled with a sauce or olive oil. You help yourself from an immense eye level buffet and when you are done they count your toothpicks to tally your bill. Noisy, chaotic and fun!

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A few more photos of festival events in Barcelona during our recent visit:

The first is an exhibition of antique hand powered carnival rides from Antigua and Bermuda. After waiting his turn in line, the kid that got stuck in the rocket ship was not very pleased!

Salsa drum and marching bands are everywhere. My new life goal is to be a part of one. If I wasn’t entirely lacking in rhythm and musical ability, I’d just start one. Hello Gibsons percussionists – Call me!

Live music venues went all through the afternoon and evening. This was a full orchestra performing at Placa Catedral. We also saw African, Indian and lots of Spanish performers.

Gegants, or giants, up to five meters tall spent Saturday night asleep in City Hall. The emerged the next morning, two by two, to dance. They paraded through the city that evening. I have some great film footage that doesn’t want to upload from this iPad. The photo does the dozens of gegants little credit. So you should just plan to go. For all you frugal travelers…all these events free of charge!

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The Cottager and I are more the country variety of mice, but I was determined to go somewhere entirely new on this trip abroad – well two entirely new places actually- and the first was Catalunya, a lovely area of Northeast Spain with unique language and traditions and a strong desire for self-determination. We timed our visit to coincide with the biggest annual festival in Barcelona and made our hotel reservation months in advance. It was worth it.

Though neither of us typically like crowds and there were many, many travelers who had the same idea as us, La Merce, which honors one of two patron saints of the city, still belongs very much to the people of Barcelona. The festival has a truly heartfelt enthusiasm and involves so many people that you are left in no doubt that it is a genuine celebration rather than something put on for tourism sake. The sheer number of music venues, street performances and Catalan traditional events is overwhelming. And pretty much everything is free

Here are some pictures from one of the most famous events, the Correfoc or fire run. It involves a lot of drumming and marching Salsa style bands, and fireworks-spewing monsters and demons. Unlike in Vancouver where the use of fireworks in this way would be out of the question,here there was no difficulty in showering an all ages crowd with live embers. In fact the biggest official presence was the street cleaning crews. No first aid stations or ambulances standing by with motors running, no police pouring out everyones beer and slapping cuffs on belligerent youth. No belligerent youths, actually. Absolutely everyone entered into the spirit of the event. As did we, though prudently sheltering our tender flesh and synthetic travel wear when the fireworks turned on us.

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