Culture in Catalonia

We parked up in Cami de la Creu, a commercial motorhome park in Cabanes near Figueres. It’s a strange place, almost like camping in someone’s front garden – although to be fair the garden is enormous and nicely surrounded by tall pines. Here you can avail yourself of all necessary services with the added luxury of electricity and wifi for the princely sum of 10€ a night. When we arrived there was no-one around to pay, or indeed to advise us where we should park, so we chose a convenient spot, unhitched the trailer and tucked ourselves in. A couple of hours later, as a number of other motorhomes rolled in, we looked out of the front window into the driving rain to find an elderly man under an umbrella doing a passable imitation of a traffic warden. With a stub of a pencil and his tongue sticking out he was carefully writing our registration number down. I jumped out, clutching a 20€ note for a two night stay and was welcomed warmly. He pointed up at the leaden sky, through the driving rain and said “No soleil” and looked at me with such sad eyes that I could have believed we would never see the sun again.

The next morning, walking the dogs through the lovely rural pathways surrounding us, I was delighted to find sunshine, warmth and beautiful views of the Pyrenees, with a topping of snow that hadn’t been there the day before. To be honest, it wasn’t the snow that delighted me, it was the fact that we were heading south away from it, although it was very pretty from a distance.

Having settled the dogs down with their breakfast we got the bikes out of the trailer and set off in the direction of Figueres. If I had a bucket list – which I don’t because I’m having too much fun seeing what’s around the next corner – the Dali Museum in Figueres would have been on it. His art work is so bizarre and yet so appealing that I’ve wanted to go to this place for years. Shirley, a bit unclear about why I was so enthusiastic, was up for the ride and open to finding out what all the fuss was about. We shot off up the road on our trusty electric bikes and very soon found ourselves in Figueres. Stopping to consult Google Maps, we set it to find the museum via a walking route. We pushed our bikes and walked in several concentric circles until we had to admit, Google Maps was doing us no favours at all. At this point a pleasant local man spotted us and came over, speaking to us in what we can only assume was Catalan. We asked him if he spoke English and he said no, but he did speak French. Perfect! Then he began to speak to us in a version of French that bore no resemblance to the language we were expecting. At one point, waving his arms about he said something that sounded like Hoché. Shirley was the first to catch on and said “A gauche?” (tr. turn left?) “Si, si, Hoché” he replied. So the conversation went like this – the man said a few random words with an odd French one thrown in. We grasped the French one and repeated it to check we had it right and eventually he waved us off merrily and we found the museum. Miracle!

The next challenge was finding somewhere safe to lock the bikes up. When we bought them we decided to buy good quality models with the hope that they would last us for many years to come. Sadly, owning nice bikes, something we haven’t really done before, brings with it the added worry of how to keep them safe. Finally, we found a multistory carpark, pushed them in through the pedestrian entrance and locked them to a metal fence right under a security camera leaving us free to go and explore.

The Dali Museum … that’s a boat suspended above us

If you are the kind of person who appreciates the slightly unusual, bizarre or just plain weird yet also wants to experience beauty and artistic genius then the Dali Museum is a must see. We were completely blown away by the experience. We were a little bit in love with Dali by the end of the tour. Photos of him with that cheeky twinkle in his eye give a hint to the eccentric humour of the man, yet there were moments of sadness and beauty along with genuine puzzlement as you try to make sense of some strange angle or clever trick with mirrors. If you get the chance to visit, we can’t recommend it highly enough.

Dali’s Car

Sunny Sitges

The next morning we hitched up for the next part of the tour, diverting to Figueres again for a trip to Lidl. Google maps didn’t let us down this time and we found the shop easily and restocked the rapidly depleting fridge with the added benefit of Spanish prices. Figueres is a very short distance from the French border and French people can often be found in the region doing their shopping. The difference in the price of food is remarkable, given the short distance in miles.

After filling the fridge and the fruit bowl we set off down the motorway to enjoy our regular visit to Sitges. Here we always enjoy spending time with Shirley’s brother Chris and strolling round this lovely resort. On this occasion, given the added length of the trailer and also the difficulty in finding legal and accessible motorhome parking in the town, we opted to stay at Camping El Garrofer, just on the outskirts of the town. It is about 2 miles to the centre of Sitges from here so we took full advantage of our bikes, the bus and on occasions our feet for our twice daily trips into town. It’s a good campsite, on the ACSI discount scheme and costs 20€ a night. Staff are friendly, facilities are more than adequate and they have a good café bar, although we didn’t make use of it because we spent so much time in Sitges itself eating, drinking and making merry… speaking of which, the fun only got better when our pals Melanie and Biz turned up and we sat until a ridiculously late hour in Parrots bar chatting and laughing.

Sunday lunch at Le Patio restaurant … fabulous
Chris’s little dog Buggy joins us for drinks at Parrots … she’s looking for anyone who might give her a treat

And so it came time to think about our next move. We looked at one another, we looked at the map, we talked to Melanie and Biz and we tried to consider our options but we found ourselves, probably for the first time, completely dumbfounded. The sunshine, the great company, the lovely town and possibly the good wine made us feel sleepy, happy and possibly too lazy to think ahead. We started the journey saying we wanted to live in the moment but this might be taking things too far.

Why move on when the sun is shining and you can walk along this gorgeous sea front

Where will we end up next? Who knows? We’ll make a decision eventually but in the meantime here’s to life in the slow lane.

Obviously the right campsite for us

5 thoughts on “Culture in Catalonia

  1. Weather’s good. Company good. So why move indeed?
    We’ve just spent 11 nights in Kalyves, Crete … British inhabitants passing for a chat and telling us about music events and restaurant recommendations, a gift of local walking books, and importantly, a toilet and water within metres …. what’s not to love. Reckon, we’ll even go back!

  2. Yes the Dali museum is fantastic, we have been many times as it is not far for us. Just a day trip with the cost of fuel paid for by the cheaper shopping. The exhibits on the upper floors change all the time so always different. Always take your passport or proof of age as there is a pensioners discount and don’t forget to visit his jewelry exhibit just round the corner, free with museum entrance ticket.
    Not far from Lidl is WokU an “all you can eat” buffet for a silly price at lunch time. With a very large car park opposite where you can sleep it off. We have over- nighted there many times.
    Keep having fun and safe travels.
    S&J

    1. We’ve had a frank discussion about this and we’ve decided it’s true. Good thing they are fun company. 😉 However, they are currently ahead of us and scoping out some future stops. x x

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