Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tossa de Mar

Off message-ish homily rather than homage to a relaxing short break in Tossa De Mar, Costa Brava, Catalan. The resort is famous for its medieval walls around the old town and sandy beaches. It is also far more popular with locals than Brits and other northern Europeans.  I last visited the town about 15 years ago and I was pleased to see it had hardly changed and it was as pretty and pleasant as I remembered.  

Some fantastic free walking maps from the local tourist information office. Along the coast (1 hr) and the hills behind the town (no shops so take all the water and snacks needed - 4 hrs). The route descriptions and way marks (see red and white strips in picture) are a little unclear at times but you should not get lost if you take your time at junctions. A less successful walk (supposed to be 3.5 hrs but took 4.5 hrs) from Tossa to Lloret spent too much time walking past endless holiday and retirement bungalows although the final couple of km along the coastal path was magnificent and made up for it. The wild spring flowers found everywhere were simply gorgeous.

As usual avoid the fixed price menus at the seafront restaurants like the plague. The better value ones tend to be the furthest away from the front. I would however recommend watching the sun go down with a cold beer from the bar in the old town overlooking the walls and the beach. During the civil war a British destroyer took off foreign nationals trapped by the fighting from this beach. 

What is striking and a joy to behold is the Catalan love of their family and especially children. The grumpy and officious bus driver who refused to let us on the bus 2 minutes early then held up the queue of passengers while he made a number of attempts (unsuccessful) to make a toddler smile. On the journey itself another passenger spent most of the trip trying (equally unsuccessfully) to persuade the child that he had stolen his nose. In a restaurant a teenage girl at a family meal completely unconsciously loudly kissed and hugged her grandmother. Dogs are numerous and also clearly adored. I had thought this was a particularly British canine love affair. The near constant cacophony of barking dogs is seemingly ignored. In London this would have resulted in at the threat of an ASBO! As for the Catalan’s loving football; try finding a bar or restaurant that didn’t have a massive TV on as loud as possible when local team Barcelona played on Wednesday evening (alas impossible)

Goggling Tossa I was pleased that I had a sort of excuse not to have gone swimming (the sea was freezing) by finding this report.

Btw for the avoidance of any doubt the title of this blog is no geographic reference whatsoever to any other (unison) blogger :)


Damien McKee said...

What's your view on the Brits abroad who go to British bars and stick with Brtish food when on holiday!

John Gray said...

I think they are missing out. The fish mixed grills were delicious (and I love a full breakfast and roast - at home).