Family Time :)
Haha I’m feeling a lot of pressure on this blog post, so I’ll try to make it a good one!
Well, what a week! It all began on Monday and the first five minutes set the tone (a good tone!)! Not even five minutes after walking through the door from Vienna, my apartment buzzer rings. First I ignored it, hoping for more time to spruce up to see the fam, and then, in the distance, I hear from the street- three stories down- Mom’s voice calling ‘Mikeyyyyy….Merceeeeeé.’ Haha of course! So my parents, Stefanie, and Matt (Stef’s fiancé) all came up to see my apartment and meet Mercé and then we set off to the Costa Brava (about an hour north of Barcelona), where Matt’s parents, Linda and Dave, have a PRECIOUS vacation home!
We arrived close to 10pm and headed out for a great Spanish meal, which is of course incomplete without a little sangia! Olé! And from then until Satuday morning, our week was just packed with good food, sunny weather, cute villages, beautiful landscapes, siestas, and of course some sangria!
Dave and Linda brought us to a beautiful & quaint beachside town, Colella. White stucco buildings with brown roofs and wrought iron balconies overflowing with plants—the epitome of Spanish! And the narrow streets winded down to the sea—there were fishing boats posted up on the sand, cafés, restaurants, people on the beach, the sea was sparkling in the sun---SO picturesque! We strolled along a path overlooking the turquoise Mediterranean until we reached the next town of Llefranc. Amazing! Of course we had to soak in the beauty with a refreshing Spanish ‘clara,’ a mix between beer and lemon soda! Just perfect! I think this area was my fav!
We visited a very cool town, Pals, a Medieval village which has been preserved and is currently a functioning village with shops, residents, and some amazing landscape views! The cobblestone walkways and the little shops and wine cellars were so great and this is where we bought the most delicious (yet dangerous) sangria, which later caused the demise of the Toccos! Haha!
Wednesday we visited the town of Palafrugell for some of the best Spanish tortilla ‘bocadillos’ we’ve encountered! We hit the markets, bought some fish & veggies, and hid for shelter in a wine store since it was raining! The lady working took us down to the wine cellar and gave us the scoop on a lot of their wines-very interesting to learn about! And back at the house everyone concocted a delicious meal of the fresh sardines, veggies, and olives we had bought at the market, a little meat, a little bread, and a lot o’ sangria! At this meal Dave and Linda coined the phrase the ‘tanked up Toccos!’ haha ohhh man!
We also visited the castle that Salvador Dalí built for his wife! We were able to walk from room to room and see how things were set up, and it’s kind of cool that it was somewhat recent! The castle was surrounded by pretty gardens with crazy Dalí elephants scattered throughout. And the area around the castle was super cute, with more cobblestone pathways and cute shops!
Girona is another very cool city, with a Medeival feel and the old city walls still intact. From the path along the top of the city walls, we had a beautiful view of the whole city, and when it started to rain, we headed to dinner at a traditional Catalan restaurant. The dinner was great- I had my favorite typical Catalan dish, butifarra amb mongetes (catalan pork sausage with roasted white beans)! But Stefanie had quite the experience here!!! Having found a garbanzo bean dish that she liked on the English menu, she found it (or so she thought) on the Catalan menu. Trying to communicate with the waitress and order the menu item correctly, she ordered a meal that consisted of ‘cellos y garbanzos,’ thinking it was the same as the English menu. Well soon enough the meal came out and the majority of her plate was this white stuff that looked like chicken skin but was soft and mushy. We had no idea! So Matt tried it, and spit it out (rare occasion!!) so we knew it couldn’t be anything normal! When the waitress came back, she told us it was tripe-->aka the lining of a cow’s stomach!!! Eeeeeeeek! A little intense for all of us and especially for Stef, the almost-vegetarian! Hahah good story though—straight out of a movie!
Friday, our last day with the Pilkingtons, we visited the ruins of a Greek city and Roman city in Empúries…the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day! And then of course some more delicious food-one of my many favorite meals of the week! While Matt was enjoying octopus and the best anchovies in the Mediterranean (see pic! haha), I had a pizza with figs, bacon, and cheese—YUM! Us ladies enjoyed some afternoon beach time at L’Escala while Papa took his first swim in the Mediterranean and the guys played a little ‘boules-’ a fun bocce-like game that’s played in the sand! Qué perfecto!
Back in Colella, Dave and Linda introduced us to ‘cremat’! It is a pot of rum, Cuban rum, and sugar that is lit on fire for about ten minutes and then combined with about a shot of coffee! It was super sweet and super strong!
After a fantastic week of relaxing and touring around La Costa Brava, my parents, Stef, Matt, and I headed back to Barcelona on Saturday for the remainder of their visit---> so it was my time to be the tour guide!! We did all sorts of fun things, ate more good food, did a lot of strolling around the city, and I was able to show them most of my favorite places!
Saturday night was particularly funny because Matt and Papa had gotten tickets to FC Barcelona game and Mom and Stef and I decided to try and scalp tickets at the stadium before the game--->haha ohh man! So first we located the scalpers, and while I was a little hesitant to approach people asking for tickets, Mom just went to town, asking everyone for ‘entradas’ with her Betty Boop Pepe look! Hysterical! Ultimately we weren’t successful, but it was a fun/silly experience anyway!
So it was a GREAT week! I was of course a little sad to see everyone go but I’m also a psyched to get back into the Barcelona flow of things, take a little break from traveling, and enjoy the city I’m in until the end of the program!
Ps. Thanks for reading and for all of the comments that people have been leaving! It’s super exciting to read them and to see that you all are enjoying keeping up with my travels!