Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Week in Sitges

All good things must come to an end and, as I write, the last hours of our week in Sitges are ticking away. We’ve just checked out and now we’re sitting in the lounge for a few hours before we have to head to the airport. We did consider doing something in Barcelona this afternoon, but in the end chose a lazy day after a long night last night.

There is something to be said for not having the Internet available on holiday; pretty much from the start I’ve managed to completely forget about the rest of the world and it’s been delicious.

The outward trip was a trial though; BA have switched over completely to self-service check-in at Gatwick which means that the queue for the Bag Drop (discretely renamed from ‘Fast Bag Drop’!) was just as long as the check-in queues used to be, so there was no avoiding it. Then the woman at the counter told us that we had to pay another £60 excess baggage because Brett had two small suitcases rather than one large one. To add insult to injury they then managed to lose one of the cases en route!

Fortunately once we left the Barcelona baggage hall things got better; Avis gave us a rather nice Alfa Romeo for our hire car, the new maps I’d bought for the SatNav all worked fine and we had a smooth ride down the coast to the hotel. A quick unpack, shower and change later and we were off for the first of the week’s gourmet dinners with John & Rich.

They were planning a fairly lazy holiday by the pool sunbathing but I was in the mood for something a little more active. On Sunday Brett and I took a drive along the coast immediately south of Sitges but weren’t much impressed. I think Tarragona might be worth seeing but we didn’t go that far and nothing intermediate looked worth a second glance.

On Monday we headed out for a trek up towards the French border and foothills of the Pyrenees. We saw some lovely views and picturesque towns along the way, some of them feeling quite Alpine, but we had rather overstretched ourselves by not properly planning the day; we needed a lot more time in the area to do it justice and, as it was, we didn’t get home until 11pm.

Tuesday was a much needed lazy day in the hotel.

On Wednesday we assayed Gerona, north of Barcelona, and had a lovely day; we spent it entirely in the old town which has something of a Moorish feel to it; lots of tiny shaded gardens built into corners of the tightly-packed buildings and lots of narrow, winding cobbled streets between them all. I got quite a few nice photographs of the town and we both agreed it was somewhere we’d like to come back to for a longer stay.

Thursday was another day in the hotel. I got itchy feet though and took the camera out for a stroll along the beach and around the town. I ended up getting some good shots of surfers in action, even though the surf apparently wasn’t up to much. One of them told me the surf was supposed to be better tomorrow but gave me his email address anyway to send on the pictures.

I was feeling pretty rough that evening – possibly from not realising how dehydrating the wind and sun were whilst sitting out on the seawall snapping surfers! – so I passed on the usual after dinner drinks and had an early night.

Friday we had thought to do another day trip but in the end decided not to as I was still a bit groggy and Brett was not much better; he hadn’t got in until nearly 4am having run into a couple of other Chorus boys in one of the bars and hung out with them for a while.

A long morning nap after breakfast sorted me out though and I awoke feeling clear-headed again, just in time for lunch which we took at a Mexican tapas bar in town. The afternoon I spent on the beach again; the surf was indeed a lot better than it had been the previous day – to the extent that the lifeguards put up the red flag for bathers. Unfortunately not many of the Sitges surfing community seemed to be skilled enough to take advantage of the big waves so about half of the shots are of guys falling off their boards. Still I had an enjoyable afternoon and it got me thinking about another strand of photography I could develop; sports photography. (I really need to get that website sorted so I can start attracting paying clients!)

In the evening we were joining Jamie C & Andrew and two of their friends, Damon & James, for dinner at the Mezzanine restaurant and then went on to a few bars for drinks afterwards. One of them was quite a discovery; the Mediterraneo, just along from our regular Piano Bar, was a bit noisy but was spacious, modern and well ventilated (unlike most gay bars around town!) I wish we had discovered it earlier.

After that though we headed to bed.

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