Celebration rehearsal – San Feliu de Guíxols, Catalonia, Spain

We can see now how the siesta happens in Spain. Evening meals are eaten from earliest 9pm onwards, then from 06:30 latest, construction traffic starts. No wonder they all take a snooze after lunch. Following dumper trucks and leaf blowers (?!) at 6.15am this morning, we were already out and accidentally wandering around the market just before it opened at 8am, then a stroll around the marina. We had a lovely coffee with the market traders at the square. Then another double expresso after breakfast back at the van. So I am officially still wired by mid afternoon sat with my peppermint tea and no siesta for me, I am really not accustomed to caffeine.

The marina is beautifully maintained with a lovely restaurant, sadly closed for the season. The pinky first light across the water was a lovely start to the day.

The market is fairly small but immaculate. Beautifully presented seafood, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and butchery. Open daily, there sadly did not seem to be too many customers when we visited but hopefully it was just we were early.

Kevin has a compulsion if he sees a breakwater that we have to walk to the end. When we went for our walk first thing this morning he could see the breakwater but we could not see the route to get across. Therefore, we set off before lunch to achieve that objective. It was a lovely temperature and we donned shorts and sun dresses, despite the puffer jackets worn by the locals. By the time we reached the end of the breakwater the dogs were panting and we were both hot.

We spotted a lovely looking restaurant at the end of the breakwater, El Tinglado, with a covered terrace and based on the lovely day it seemed rude not to stop in for lunch. It is my birthday tomorrow and we are keeping an easy schedule. We took a seat in the shade next to an ex-pat finishing her coffee who came out for the winter during the pandemic and never went home.

The El Tinglado, which seems to mean train shed, was the original home of a train, funded by shares sold to the community which was commissioned to deliver the local seafood caught here to Girona. In fact, the train takes centre stage in the restaurant still! (Claire – you will have to bring Alec!)

We had a lovely three course meal, including a bottle of wine and two beers for the princely sum of €43,30. We thought they had forgotten to add the wine to the bill but they assured us it was included in the set menu. However, sitting in the shade in a slight breeze in November was perhaps a little optimistic and we were ready to head back to our nice warm van.

We had been struggling with translating the menus and I thought I must have completely forgotten the Spanish I had learned. Even Google Translate was making no sense of it, until I thought to swap Google translate to Catalan not Spanish and bingo, we could work out what everything was. It really is quite a different dialect. Also, interestingly, we had what would be paella in Spain but made with vermicelli pasta. I guess another Catalan variation.

Anyway, back to the van for a quiet evening. After a bit of deliberation whether to head into Barcelona for my birthday, we have decided to stay put. Many of the restaurants here only open from Thursday for the weekend, so it will be good to see the town in full flow. We are expecting a fair bit of wild camping where we are headed so we are making the most of it now. We can only camp a train journey out from Barcelona, anything closer in appears to have dire warning from recent visitors on campervan break-ins. So compared to a commute with two dogs into a city centre, another leisurely day here in San Feliu de Guíxols seems the ticket for tomorrow.

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