It's finally time for sunny Spain! Woohoo, right?!? Sun, sand, sangria and waterspouts?!? There is something on that list that doesn't seem quite right but more on that later. As usual, let's go from the start.
So, after a 5am rise (that's what you get with cheap flights - Ed) and a rather misty drive (Cheers Colin!), Derek and I were soon off on our Ryan-Air flights to Reus for a week in Spain, complete with the complementary applause when we landed (something I never quite understood but oh well).
After being met by my parents and an excited, if confused Ollie, at the airport, we drove through some beautiful and mountainous scenery on the way back to the flat in Benisannet, before a lunch and beer overlooking the square (below - Ed). This necessary respite was then followed by a lazy afternoon wandering around the village, looking at all the different crops that they grow in the region. After a homemade tapas dinner and a few drinks, it was time for bed (after a 5am start, it was necessary). However, what a dinner! The parents definitely put on a feast with dish after dish of Spanish food. Probably worth the flight alone.
So, waking up fresh the next morning and with a lazy breakfast in the heat, we headed off to Hospitalet, a nearby coastal town that holds a relatively large Sunday market with lots of clothes and traditional Spanish foods, as well as the usual daily amenities. As we drove over the mountain and down into the bay, we spotted some dark clouds. Uh oh. However, those were nothing to be concerned about....right? Starting to wondering back to the waterspout comment, aren't you?
We pressed on and parked the car by the beach, set off with Ollie and walked along the promenade down to the market. As we continued down the beach, we felt a few spots of rain but as the market was covered, we decided to ignore them. This was a mistake
That was roughly when I spotted it. A funny looking cloud that was hovering over the ocean. One that looked a little like an elongated triangle. One that appeared to be growing and spinning a little. Is that some water splashing around directly underneath it? Hmm that's kind of odd but nah...it couldn't be. Then, having a look around the area, we suddenly noticed there were lines of people standing along the beach, all pointing in the direction of the ocean. Oh, it is a waterspout forming. That's does not bode well for the weather.
However, we headed to the market, as it has begun to rain steadily, and wandered around the stalls for a while, enjoying just perusing the wares for a bit. Then, after going down one half of the market, we were standing discussing whether or not we should head for the shelter of the nearby coffee shop or continue with the market (Okay, so I was talking about finding Churros...you happy???) when the heavens opened.
It rained. Ridiculously heavy rain. I've seen heavy rain before but never this suddenly and this heavily. Before, it was a fairly normal strength rain, then it was just a wall of water coming down. It was the kind of rain that actually sent people running and closed up the market, Within the 10 - 15 seconds it took to get under the covered walkways, we were soaked through. I could actually wring out my t-shirt.
Thankfully, and despite the surge in people heading to the various cafes (it's a row of harbour-side cafes, so they can be quite popular at the weekend - Travel Ed), we found seats as my mum had headed in earlier. After a couple of coffees, and once the rain had calmed down a bit, we headed to the car defeated and wet, and drove back to Benissanet.
There was one upside to this sudden cancellation of our beach/market trip though and that was we had returned to the village in time for the local restaurant's set lunch. Now, in Europe, a lot of places will do a 2 or 3 course menu and a drink for a fairly cheap price e.g. 10 - 20 euros and this was the same. However, in the village, it is particularly amazing value (from my experience but you may know other places, of course) and was, and often is, filled up with the locals eating out. Generally, a good sign, For 13 euros, you get:
- An appetizer
- A starter
- A main course
- A dessert
- A bottle of water
- Half a bottle of wine each
- Tea/coffee afterwards
As we did arrive a little late, the restaurant (a small dining area in the community centre) was filled up but the owner actually set us up a table outside so we could still get food and then served us himself. Additionally, the menu had around 5 - 6 items for each course, whereas most I've seen have had 3. That lunch, I once again feasted like a king, with a meal that included of smoked salmon, a good/rough local red wine, rabbit and a berry salad plus the rest. Great value and great taste: always a winning combination. Afterwards, and after half a bottle of wine, it was time for a sleepy Sunday afternoon and evening with a little wander around the town. Next week, it's wine tasting and hill-walking!
Pick of the Week
Chorizo - Sticking with the Spanish theme, I wholeheartedly recommend this sausage. It's delicious and versatile. Add it it to stew. Marinade it in cider. Eat it straight, Go on, give it a try if you haven't!
Music of the Week
This week's song is a bit different from what I normally post but I still enjoy it. From the past, it's time for REM – Everybody Hurts. Pretty sure you know the song.
See you next week!
See you next week!