Sunday, October 18, 2015

#1527 2 weeks in Barcelona day 7: Platja d'Aro

I hope you all had a nice weekend. I'm still recovering from the cold/flu thing I've had for awhile. I think I may break down and go to the doctor because I can't seem to shake the gunk. I'm tired of being sick and tired.

Anyway, let's talk of something more pleasant. Tonight I'll write about the seventh day of our trip to Barcelona.

Sunday 20 September 15

The last time I was in Spain, I spend much time in the city at all. We would come in the summer and go immediately to Platja d'Aro, a beach resort town on the Costa Brava, about an hour or so north of Barcelona. My grandmother had an apartment there, and that's where we always stayed. My Tia Nuri also had an apartment there where she ran her peluqueria, a beauty shop. She was a hairdresser. Both of those apartments have been sold long ago. No one I know lives in Platja d'Aro anymore. My aunt lives in La Bisbal, in a village in the mountains; my cousin Monica lives in Sant Feliu and my cousin Sonia lives in Santa Cristina although she works in Platja d'Aro.

It's no surprise that Mom, Lizzie and I did want to spend some time in Platja d'Aro. We have a lot of happy memories there. We planned to break up our vacation with three nights at the beach town.

Sonia came to pick us up in the morning. Before she got there, we packed and cleaned up the apartment. There wasn't too much to do, just taking out the garbage and sweeping the floors. I have to show you a photo of the room Lizzie and I shared. It was monastic:

my bedroom at Casa Tibidabo
There were two single beds and a rack for hanging the clothes. The bed was pretty uncomfortable. There was no pad between the sheet and the mattress and I could feel the coils pressing against my body. Plus the bed frame was a bit wobbly. Oh well. It was home sweet home for six nights and I slept fine. It was the least comfortable bed I had, though.

We had to walk a couple of blocks up to where Sonia had parked the car. Parking in the city can be tricky and I think we were fortunate that she was only a couple of blocks away. One of the bonuses of the walk was that we passed by the church where my parents were married.

the church where my parents said "I do"
No, it's not the cathedral or Santa Maria del Mar, but I'm sure it's nice enough inside. We didn't try to go in, just took a couple of photos.

Sonia had prepared lunch for us at her apartment, which is on the way to Platja d'Aro. Sonia lives in the little town of Santa Cristina which is tucked in the hills about 15 minutes or so from Platja d'Aro. Her apartment is small but cute. She has it decorated really nicely and it's cozy and sweet. Here is the
view from her front door.

Santa Cristina
A home cooked meal was a treat I wasn't expecting. And even better? Canelones!

canelones at Sonia's apartment
We had a nice meal and chatted and looked at Sonia's treasured photo albums from her time in California. We were excited to see our apartment in Platja, so soon enough we were off. We did stop along the way to pay our respects to my grandparents at the cemetery. The cemetery there is a bit different from what I am used to. The graves are in the walls.

the cemetery
My grandparents have been gone for a long time. I miss them. I was glad we stopped to see their grave.

There's really no good way to segue from the cemetery visit, so I'll just plow on.

We had booked an apartment through Airbnb but had a little trouble with our host. He didn't immediately respond to my mom after the reservation was made on the original apartment and when he finally did, it was to say the apartment we had chosen was unavailable. He offered us a smaller apartment with a location that my mom liked, but there was only one bedroom, if I remember, and one of us would have to sleep on the sofa. My mom told him to try again, and he offered another small apartment that was part of the Hotel Aromar complex on the beach. We decided it would be fine.

Our apartment was on the third floor of the Delfin apartment building. No elevator; we had to lug our suitcases up the stairs, but it was worth it! Our apartment was seafront with an amazing view of the beach and the sea.

the beautiful blue Mediterranean view from our apartment
We were downright giddy with joy about our situation. The apartment had two bedrooms, one with a queen size bed and the other room with two singles. The kitchen was updated but tiny and had a terrible smell in the garbage closet. The bathroom was also updated and very nice. The sitting/dining room was too small for three people. Fortunately, there was a table and chairs on the patio and that's where I spent all my time when I was there.

Down below on the beach walk - you see where the trees are in the photo? - there was a petanque tournament going on. Petanque is the French equivalent of bocce ball. It's a game where you throw a ball at a little ball and try to come closest to the little ball, I guess kind of like horseshoes. Anyway, there were literally hundreds of French people down there playing in the tournament whose headquarters were at the Hotel Aromar. The announcer's table was right under our patio. Good thing we weren't there very much!

Sonia left us to get settled in and to go get Eric so we could have dinner with them. We quickly put our things away, went to a store for some water, sodas and snacks, then went down to the beach to get our feet wet.

the obligatory photo of my toes in the sand
I did get my feet wet and the water was f'ing cold! It was fun though!

The sand there is unlike the sand at most of the Caribbean beaches. It's like little pebbles.

rocky sand
The sand is deep and not firm and hard to walk through. I'll tell you more about that in a couple of days. I remember from my teen years that the sand there does an excellent job of keeping your heels soft and your calves firm. :)

It was a gorgeous clear day and it was very easy to see the nearby town of Palamos from the beach.

Palamos in the distance
We were sitting on the beach when Sonia and Eric returned. We gathered ourselves and went out with them to a kind of "locals only" place called the Costa Brava bar. We ordered a bunch of tapas and some beers and watched Spain beat Lithuania in the European basketball championship. The people there really do love Pau Gasol. Every time he scored, the patrons would clap and cheer and say his name reverently.

After the basketball match, the TV was changed to the Barca soccer match. FCB was playing Llevant. It was the game where Messi got hurt. I thought it would be exciting to see a Barca match at a local bar. I thought the people would be really into it and excited when Barca scored, which they did at least three times while we were sitting there. Eric told me that a lot of the people at the bar were from Madrid or southern Spain, so they didn't love FCB. It was still fun for me. For some reason, I didn't take any photos there that night, but I think my mom has one or two on her blog.

After dinner, we went back to our apartment with the agreement to meet again the next day for more fun and some family time.

That night I slept in my little twin bed with the window open so I could hear the waves slapping on the shore. The air was cool but I was snug and cozy and happy to be in Platja d'Aro!