Too good to leave - sharing Catalonia with Canadians

180707 Mercadona Local supermarket with fresh produce

Fresh Produce at the local Supermarket Mercadona next to Marina Badalona 

180710 2 Barcelona Train Station Barbara and David Berks arriving

The 10th of July saw us natvigating the public transport of Barcelona that works so well to meet David and Barbara friends from Ottawa Canada at the Central Train Station. 

Having come to love the city of Barcelona and feel like we have barely touched the surface of what there is to see and experience we didn’t hestiate to recommend spending a day touring before heading north.

180711 1 Park Guell Barcelona

Park Guell columns and walkways

180711 2 Park Guell

First stop on our itinerary was Park Guell - well at least the outer walking tracks. The actual park had an overly long line up for tickets that was not going to fit into our time frame. Park Guell is where Antoni Gaudi was commissioned to design a “Garden City” on 20 hectares of land to accomodate public buildings and 60 houses in his unique decorative design between 1910 and 1914. Opened in 1922 the estate was never completed but became a colourful exhibition of Gaudi's work. Time permitting it would be good to return to see the buildings within the park including the Museu Gaudi held in the house that Gaudi lived in from 1906.

180618 3 Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

180711 14 Sagrada Familia Stained windows

Park Guell was cut short due to our decision to return to the Sagrada Familia. Even though we had only been here a few weeks ago we felt the building worthy of a second visit and we weren’t disappointed. There is simply too much to take in on one visit. This time we navigated the Nativity tower. The Nativity Tower in contrast to the Passion Tower is full of colour with symbolic images representing Christ's childhood and times of celebration.  The steps on this tower proved however to be just as interesting on decent as they were in the Passion Tower.

180711 17 Walking Barcelona

For us  the highlight on this occasion was definitely the capturing of the sunlight through the stained glass windows basking the temple in amazing colours. 

After a long lunch at what feels almost like our local restaurant in the old town - Elsa Y Fred where the food and service once more excelled we left Barbara and David to continue exploring while we headed back to the boat to begin preparations to head out of harbour. 

Despite the heat we were pleased to see they now too had an appreciation for the city of Barcelona. 

180712 1 First day of sailing from Badalona North

Heading out of Badalona Harbour 

180712 4 Andrew and Lee another day in the office sailing

From Badalona Marina we enjoyed some good sailing along with several nights on anchor. First in Cala Llorell where a relocation of the anchor became necessary when we discovered that the local ferry barge dropped people off on the beach then reversed by our stern close enough for the captain to stick his head out and say hello!

Several nights were split between our two favourite Calas in the Bay of Roses - Cala Montgo and Cala Pelosa. Even at this peak time we still found anchorages to be relatively empty come sunset and the added bonus of good restaurants made for great locations to stay. 

180714 2 Storks in nest Peralada

As has become the pattern for this season a road trip was planned with the key items being a Parador stay and a winery visit. 

180714 13 Museu del Castell de Peralada Library180714 18 Museu del Castell de Peralada Wine Barrels

We chose the winery of Perelada  a relatively young winery established in 1923, when a gentleman by the name of Miguel Mateu acquired the Perelada Castle with the vision of restablishing the wine making tradition that had been originally established by the Carmelite Monks in the adjacent monastery in the XIV century. Located in the town of the same name it came with the unexpected bonus of Stork nests where the young storks now rather large must have been nearing the time of home eviction. 

Perelada winery tour was unique in that it started with a road trip to the vines in convoy, followed by a tour of  Convent del Carme in the town centre which housed Miguels art and glass collection, a wine museum and historical library. The exquisite library was furnished in 1889 and today contains around 100,000 books, with the oldest documents dating back to the 9th century. Across the road we ventured into the processing room where the wine was aged in barrels, then finally a wine tasting set inside a beautiful tasting room next to the wineries restaurant. 

When booking the tour we pondered how it could possibly be a three hour tour. Turned out to be more like five after the completion of the tour, the tasting and a fine lunch. 

180714 23  View from our Parador Vic Sau

Our Parador for the evening was Parador de Vic-Sau in the Osona region  just 115km from L’ Escala where we had secured Katherine, but an entire days journey after our wine tour.  This Paradore is listed as a “Naturia” or building immersed in nature. The view from the hotel looking out  to the Guillerias Mountains and the Sau Reservoir below certainly confirmed the reason for its listing. As with our previous Parador visit in Cardona the staff were very welcoming, the accomodation very comfortable and the food excellent. 

Monastery of Sant Pere de Casseres.

180715 7 Monestir St Pere Casserres180715 12 Monestir St Pere Casserres

On recommendation from the hotel we headed out the next morning to the nearby ruins of the Monastery of Sant Pere de Casseres.

The monastery was build on the site of a castle that dated back to 898AD. The castle had a small chapel that was dedicated to St Peter at the time that the Viscounts of Osona decided to convert the church into a monastery. Over the centuries the monastery never surpassed a total of twelve monks and by the end of the XV century only two monks remained. The monastery was eventually sold into private ownership and was operated as a farm until the Osona District Council brought it back in 1991 and began restoration work to preserve the history of the only Benedictine Order in Osona. The presentation both written and visual was a credit to the Council and made for an informative visit along with stunning views. 

180715 18 Rupit Street view

El Fossar Street -  Houses from 16th and 17th Century Rupit

180715 22 Lunch Stop the Restaurant Menjars Ca Lestragues cooking since 1805

The more well known town of Vic was only a short drive away and we would have loved to have stayed an additional night in the Paradore to take in a visit to the town know for its Roman ruins. Instead we headed on a scenic 45 minute drive away - scenic being the word for small narrow and winding road to the medieval town of Rupit. 

180716 6 Lee and Andrew

Rupit was surprising thriving with tourists the majority of whom appeared local. The stone houses and limestone streets made for picturesque walk before our lunch stop. The restaurant Cal’ Estragues established in 1805 according to the sign on the door served food that was very rustic, healthy and hardy. Going by the lovely ladies that were cooking in the kitchen and the look of the stove we suspect that they had all been around a long time. 

Before we knew it it was time to farewell Barbara and David. It had been a great ten days in their company. As they flew home we set sail back to Badalona to await our next arrivals. 

Certainly has been a season of visitors and there were still more to come!

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© SV Katherine 2018      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Isle Tabarca Spain