Today (Saturday) is a very simple drive through the country side provided by a company called ‘With Locals’. Basically a guided tour by someone that actually Lives in the immediate area.
Bob, our driver, picked us up directly from our hotel. As it was a Saturday it was much easier for him to do this, thank goodness. Certainly made it a easy start to the day.
Our drive took us out of Barcelona in a north easterly direction. Past the little fishing town of Montgat. The land in this town was not very valuable until the train was built through it. Then, because the sea would flood a lot of the town, areas were built up to prevent that problem. Admittedly more to protect the train and tracks but the spin-off benefit was it also made land in town a lot more in demand. Especially because of the views you could get…if you had the right piece of land.
Just down the road is a Large marina that is chock full of sailing yachts. And not just the little dinghy type (8 – 10 ft)…no no no. More the cutter rig or yawl or gaff rig. These are serious sailing vessels.
Carrying on we come across a small church. Its stature belies its age. It has definitely been here a long, long time. Even the ‘new’ addition is not really that young. 🙂
Down the road a little further is a very small town called Alella . This town is not very well known yet it produces some of Spain’s finest Cava wines (a sparkling wine similar to Champagne). It was here Bob brought us to a wonderful wine store/winery. One side was a wine bar and immediately next door was the winery itself.
The wine is made and stored right here. If you bring your own bottle, you can fill directly from the barrel. At the Outrageous prices shown on the barrels. Did I mention that price is…Per Litre?? If you buy their wine, in the labeled bottle in the store, the prices portray a more realistic price. Until you compare that to any bottle you buy at home. Then you realize how much you overpay at home.
Off we go again with a bottle of Priorat to bring to the ship. If we are Very lucky it may even make its way back home. But I’m not holding my breath.
Driving through a Nature Park (as opposed to a National Park – really a distinction of administration more than anything else) we stop after driving along a very well packed, yet dirt nonetheless, road. Along the way Bob suggested we be aware of hunters which are after boar. Apparently boar is a huge problem here both in numbers and physical size.
After parking in a secluded spot he proceeded to take out a red and white checkered table cloth which he placed on the hood of his car. Then out with the Iberico ham, Manchego cheese, small breadsticks and two bottles of wine – red and white. We told him to not open both as it just wouldn’t be reasonable. As he was driving he wouldn’t be drinking and there was no way the two of us could demolish a bottle of wine each. He said he’d be happy to regardless, but thankfully he acquiesced to our suggestion.
Light snack done we made our way back. Retracing our way along that dirt road but in a slightly different direction Bob takes to our final destination…the train station which will take us back to Barcelona. He lives very close to here and driving into Barcelona twice was not part of the plan. We knew that so no surprises. What WAS a surprise was that Bob bought our train tickets (he also bought us glass of wine each at Alella). Ok…each ticket was only 4.60 Euros but it was certainly not expected. Then, he got us back into the car and drove us down to the beach where he had made reservations for us for lunch!!
He provided us with a wonderful day full of treats and information so I have to highly recommend him to anyone considering something similar when in Barcelona.
Now…this restaurant…what can I say? Spectacular setting right on the sandy beach with the clear blue sky overhead and the amazing Mediterranean Sea forty feet in front of us. Will the food match the surroundings? How shall I put it… YES!!!!!!
Cava Sangria (note…litre size!) Because it’s Cava, it’s not red. Definitely a keeper. 🙂
Chef’s style octopus. One very large arm, slightly crispy on the outside, perfectly done snow white on the inside. Served on a couple of fried yet soft scalloped potatoes. How do they do this magic?
Tuna steak that was simply huge and utterly delicious. Seared properly on the outside and essentially raw in the middle. Peppers, onions, zucchini and carrots all cooked without being limp.
Seafood casserole consisting of crab, shrimp, mussels, lobster, calamari and clams. Fabulous gravy with crunchy/soft bread perfect for dunking and soaking up said gravy. Actually just easier and more effective to simply use the soup spoon, it really was that good. Yes it was not inexpensive. But when are we going to be back…to surroundings and food so impressive?
We made our way back to the train station, got on, went back to our room and laid around like beached whales. It was a fantastic day, rounded off by a marvelous meal.
And yes…I’m still a day out of step. Next…the ship.