Posted by Karie on Dec 18th 2007 08:12 pm
With my parents visiting for the holidays, we wanted to give them a little taste of Europe, but without running them into the ground (which we nearly did anyway). So we opted for spending a few days in Barcelona, taking a road trip up the coast of Spain into the French Riviera, back to Barcelona, off to Paris, then back to Barcelona again. Simple enough, right?
So we pile into our rental car and start driving. We had heard that Catalonia gets the short end of the stick in Spain, in that it’s the only region that has to pay for their own roads. Hence, we were expecting some tolls along the way… but when we saw signs that the next toll station accepted credit cards only, we realized that we were in for more than pocket change.
The final tab in a 4 day road trip (with no driving on one of the days) was 100 Euro in tolls. That’s about $145. Not to mention the gas, which is equivalent to about $6.50/gallon. Anyhow, we were committed.
First stop: Figueres, Spain, a charming little town whose only real claim to fame is the Dalí Theatre and Museum (Teatre-Museu Dalí in Catalan). We only had 1 day to spend here, but we figured that would be enough time to visit the museum and explore the small town. Well, contrary to our “Europe for Dummies” book, it turns out the museum is closed on Mondays. (Personally, I’m pretty sure the outside of the museum was just as interesting as the inside anyway.)
So, we got back in the car and drove to Cadaqués, a tiny fishing village nearby. We had originally nixed Cadaqués from our agenda, as time was limited and the weather wasn’t ideal for a beach city. However, I’m glad it worked out to go there anyway.
Cadaqués was actually the home of Dalí, so they share his fame with Figueres. It’s easy to see how an artist could be inspired here. Picturesque white washed homes with bright Mediterranean-blue shutters, ivy climbing the narrow alleyways, people chatting with friends in tiny cafes overlooking the cove…
The vividness of the town between the sea and mountainous terrain was reminiscent of Cinque Terre, Italy, for those of you who have been there (or read my blog about it), but possibly even a little less touched.
After meandering through the shops and, of course, stopping for fresh pastries and café’ con leche, we headed back to Figueres to finish off the delightful day with the worst meal ever. It was so bad it was funny!
We were in the mood for something “familiar”, so we stopped at this British restaurant with a varied menu, and 3 of us ordered the pizzas. You might be asking yourself, “What could possibly go wrong with ordering Italian food in a British restaurant in Spain?” We even sent it back to the kitchen, and when it came out the 2nd time it was worse. Lesson learned. We thought through our food choices a little better from there on out!