Cover-12

Week 12: Costa Maresme

Posted on Posted in 2015, Weekly Updates

This week, we headed to the coast just north of Barcelona for our final two weeks. This is the perfect way to bring a close to this wonderful family holiday with a view over the Mediterranean and the constant sound of the waves. There was definitely a slowing down this week, but we still managed to do a few things.

Here’s what we got up to in Week 12…

Where We Went…

Caldes d’Estrac

This is our hometown for the next two weeks. And what a contrast to the normal Spanish beaches. From our apartment on the fifth floor that is just across the road from the beach, we are in a prime position to witness a beach that even on the weekends is mostly deserted. When we were told that every one goes home as soon as August ends, they weren’t lying. We get to watch the sun blaze red every morning from our massive balcony, listen to the sounds of the waves in our bed, walk along the beach path, eat delicious meals prepared mostly by Brigit and take quick dips in the sea. A great place to just stop and live and transition back to our Melbourne lifestyle. It really could be Elwood or Brighton beach here. The sand is even the same texture, but the sea a little rougher. Great find Brigit.

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Platge Santa Cristina

This was our first trip away from our local beach. We headed north to bottom of Costa Brava looking for a fine sand beach and one that was easy to swim in. Well, of course the sand was the same…and we were lucky enough to pay $10 dollars for parking. I vote that every beach in the world should be free! Ah well…at least it was a beautiful small bay and had some good rocks for me to climb. The girls loved swimming as always, while Brigit read her book. A very relaxing morning and luckily it started raining when we wanted to leave, which meant the girls finally cooperated with us.

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Walking at Montserrat

I was lucky enough to get a leave pass on Wednesday the day before Brigit headed off on a little impromtu business trip to Luxembourg. As always I choose to hit the mountains. With the stunning range of Montserrat an hour away, this is where I headed. I hit the road at 6am and started walking in first light at 7am. This was a relatively easy hike up with mainly a gentle slope and even steps a lot of the way to the 1236m peak at Sant Jeroni. On the way, I passed by the stunning monastery of Montserrat, hidden in the jagged peaks. It is amazing serviced by a train, road and cable car, displaying its importance and the money of the Catholic Church. Up past the monastery, I walked in the clouds that was whipping up through the jagged peaks. It was quite something. At the top, my view was of a white cloud, but with the pace that the cloud was moving it felt really special and surreal to be there in this obviously special place.

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After a gentle climb, I didn’t expect the steep, slippery trek down through a wooded channel between the rock pillars. It further embedded my love for the uphill and hatred for the downhill. Maybe I should have taken one of those transport options. After the clouds at the top, this side gave way to dessert like conditions and strong sun. Even following a GPS mapping device, I manage to take a wrong turn and add another 4 kilometres to my journey and another extra steep descent that even categorised as rock climbing. All in all, after 19 kilometres I was stuffed and made me appreciate my coffee and pan con tomate for €2.15 even more.

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Luxembourg (Brigit)

From Brigit… I headed to Luxembourg for a couple of days on a business trip… yes, a business trip on a holiday! My main advertiser on Biddy Tarot, Oranum.com, invited me to meet them at their offices in Luxembourg with an all-expenses paid trip. Over 2 days, I got to know the team (who I’ve worked with for over 4 years) and created some fabulous new opportunities that I know will truly benefit the Biddy Tarot community.

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I also reaffirmed that I the corporate world is not for me any more! I appreciate our time together, but spending a whole day in an office reminded me that I am so very glad I do not have to do that ever again! (In fact, I often have nightmares where I find myself back in a corporate office, not having fully resigned my job. Eeks!)

After a full day of business development discussions, Yan and I headed out to see Luxembourg – a small city with a ‘village’ vibe.

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Barcelona Zoo

It was daddy day care this week for 2 and half days, so I had to be planned and organise our time. I got up early on Thursday and made lunches and packed bags and made the girls breakfast so we could get on the train and head to the zoo in Barcelona. The girls were excited the night before. But things didn’t start well. A long story short, the girls made a mess, I asked them about 50 times to clean it up, I lost patience, I acted like a child and threw their cars off the 5th floor balcony into the pool. That got their attention. After we all cooled off both literally and figuratively retrieving the cars…the day turned out to be a delight.

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We jumped on the train two hours late, but enjoyed our lunch on there. Forget to validate our tickets, but luckily a gate was broken and we could sneak out. Found a wonderful café in Barcelona with the best coffee I have had in Spain and possibly Melbourne…so smooth. Walked around Parc Ciutadella and jumped on an elephant statue. We found the zoo and enjoyed an amazing dolphin show and the girls dragged me around to see most of the animals. We played in the playground there with flying foxes and then had to run to the exit as the man keep announcing ‘the park is now closed…’

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We found a tapas bar, sat at the bar and apart from the hot sauce also blowing Zara’s head off (that is what it looked like) we had a great time. We finished off with an ice cream and headed back home on the train. 45 minutes with no seat was harsh and Chloe was so tired, she jumped off the train by herself with 5 stops to go…luckily she heard my panicked voice and jumped back on just before the doors closed. A fun and eventful day.

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Sant Pol de Mar

The next day, I took the girls on the train again, a few stops in the opposite direction to an old fishing village and just enjoyed each other’s company. It was a simple day, where the girls played in the playground and I drank coffee. We had a great swim and play in the water on another beach where it was about three steps until the water was over my head. Then it was a peaceful lunch and a walk around town. A simple day when we all so respect and love for each other. These are perfect moments and days.

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Lessons We Learned…

Heating in the pool please…

My question is, why have a pool that is not heated? For the last two months, Brigit has been talking about how she was going to spend these two weeks going from the pool to the beach and back again all day every day for two weeks. Well, she is yet to venture into the pool and even the girls have only ventured in there twice…because…it is frigging freezing. I only use it to rapidly cool down after a run. And I am yet to see anyone else from the apartments use it. Why maintain it? Spend a bit extra and get some heating, so it will at least be as warm as the sea. Yet another 1st world problem. But seriously why have a pool if it is too cold to use…

Cooking without gas

In our €200 euro a night apartment, we spent 5 days without gas. That meant no stovetop and no hot water. This meant the girls were completely frightened whenever I went in for a shower. Shriek, shriek, shriek… And we realised how hard it is to prepare a tasty meal without a stovetop. Even when you look up oven recipes online, they all start with a sauté this, a fry this in a pan. It did allow me to learn that you could make some pretty tasty scrambled eggs in the oven, that even Chloe enjoyed!   That was very lucky indeed. Anyway the moral of the story is…we love hot water and stovetops and we are very lucky to be able to take that for granted…as I assume that probably billions of people don’t have the luxury.

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Next Week…

Will be more of the same, with a few road trips planned to end and a visit to Camp Nou (for me and the girls).

 

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