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Road Trip: Barcelona to Girona to Tarragona

Well, Barcelona was yet again AMAZING! The food, the people, just everything was great. I spent the remaining days after the retreat enjoying mostly the food, can’t lie. hahaha

The trilogy happened at The Boqueria, where we ate an array of seafood – razor clams, scallops, scampi, gambas, squid, garlic shrimp, mussels, clams – my mouth is watering again just thinking of it.

The other thing that I indulged in: Croner, where donut meets croissant – enough said. I even forgot to take a picture because it was just love at first sight, and I got distracted. hahaha

I decided last minute to rent a car for Saturday, October 7th, and drive up the coast to Girona, hitting Tossa del Mar along the way. Friday night ended pretty late, so I ended up just driving to Girona where I spent the night at this magical place: Can Sala. One word: Stunning.

Before I continue, I need to tell you about the adventure with the car as I left Barcelona. I rented through Auto Europe using a quote I sent to myself just a few days earlier. When I pulled up the link to the quote, it said the car was still available so naturally I booked only to find an email saying that because it was last minute (day before) they needed to confirm with the vendor that all was good. This was in the morning, so by the afternoon, I was getting a little nervous that it wasn’t going to go through. Auto Europe came through, and found me a comparable car at a different vendor for the same price. (In case your wondering: about $610.57 CDN for 29 days – not bad eh?!) Travel tip: in my experience, Auto Europe is waaaay cheaper than if you book directly through a vendor (e.g. Europcar, Avis). They get the best price across all vendors. I saved over $2,000 – no joke. 

I arrived before dark, which was good, because Google maps directed me about 1km farther to what looked to be an old castle – likely a user issue, but we’ll never know ;). There were balloons, which I thought was festive but odd at the time, and I strolled in, kids running around – I thought to myself ‘oh no, what have I gotten myself into?’. Low and behold, they told me that Can Sala was just back a bit. They were celebrating a birthday, and were very kind to invite me to stay and eat with them. I didn’t want to intrude, plus it was getting late, so I thanked them and went along my way, knowing I could go back if all else failed – I realized at that moment just how much Spanish I had lost, but it’s slowly coming back :).

I arrived at Can Sala and I was completely taken aback – Come here if you get a chance, and stay for at least the weekend. The food and ambiance is lovely, truly a unique experience, just check out the pictures on their site. They offer dinner – I had a 4 course menu with salad, soup, spelt risotto and dessert to finish for 15 euro, and breakfast was also included. I requested fresh bread in the morning (personal loaf), and all in all I paid about 45 euro – amazing!

The next morning I was off to Tarragona, with a quick pit stop in Tossa de Mar – I had planned to go on the way up, but left Barcelona too late. A lovely coastal town with the famous lighthouse, rich with history. I walked through the town, up to the lighthouse and back. Travel Tip: Parking can be a bit tricky – I used this app called ‘Telpark’ – It’s a little like the Green P app that I use in Toronto, where you essentially pay for parking through your mobile – pretty handy and super easy to use, once registered. You can even extend the time without having to go back to your car. Also, sometimes Google Maps will lead you to pedestrian streets – change gears if this happens so you don’t get too deep in the windy, tiny roads.

My dad was saying they used to pass Tarragona on the drive to Portugal (where I was born) – pretty cool to actually go and visit. I was only there one night, so I ventured into town for a bite to eat – It was Sunday, so a lot of the restaurants I pulled up were closed, so I settled for a goat cheese salad with chicken on the side. I made sure to get a quick dip in the Mediterranean first, and went back the following morning as well after a run. I pretty much had the whole beach to myself in the morning, which was amazing. The water was a bit chilly, but I couldn’t resist! I stayed at Hotel Saint Jordi, a cute 3 star hotel, right off the highway. If you stay there, make sure to get some coffee in the morning – it’s delicious. The staff were extremely kind – even managed to find me a bit of chocolate after dinner 🙂

Next stop – Valencia!

Lessons Learned:

  • If you’re going to indulge, enjoy every minute
  • If you’re by the sea, just get in there, no matter how cold (well… at least the Mediterranean hehe – no Polar Bear swim for me!)
  • Use your head and common sense! Technology is great and is there to help us, but we’re still smarter (so far anyway).

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Natalia Edelmann

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