Monday market in Torroella de Montgrí and lunch in ancient Peratallada

18th of February, 2019

Torroella de Montgrí is a culture town, with regular musical performances, expositions in the church and three museums to visit. It is situated on the foot of the Montgrí, a mountain with the remains of a castle and seen from a far distance.

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It is a very lively town, although there are not any specific spectacular buildings present, except for the church and the museum Palau Solterra, a 15th century palace.P1050445

We used to go on Monday morning to the market. Not only to buy the fresh produce, the tasty olives and cheeses, but above all to have a coffee on the placa (plaza). There is only one cafeteria and I still remember the old man, who owned the café a 30 years ago. He always had a big smile for me, when he noticed I arrived again for the holidays. After he died, the café was not the same for me anymore, although his sons took over. On occasions we went on special summer evenings to the intimate plaza, where we joined (after invitation) the Sardana dancing, the typical Catalonian dance, symbol for national unity and identity. The café served Cremat, a Catalan alcoholic cocktail, made with rum, sugar, cinnamon, lemon peel and coffee, prepared in huge terracotta bowls. The lights were dimmed and candles were burning and I still feel the atmosphere of the small idyllic plaza.

 

On my way back ‘home’, I decide to go for lunch in Peratallada. Like Pals, this very small and authentic town, with only around 250 inhabitants, is considerably renovated. The castle is dating back to the 10th century and the church of Sant Esteve to the 13th century. The name of the village is derived from ‘pedra tallada’ or ‘cut stone’. In the summer various restaurants, galleries and even some small hotels are catering the many tourists. Still, people often forget to visit beautiful Peratallada, as it lies off the main road. Now in February, I am surprised that a few restaurants still have their doors open. I decide to have a late lunch in El Borinot, a cute and tiny place under the arches. A nice way to end another great day!

 

Market in La Bisbal and a visit to Pals and Sa Riera

15th of February, 2019

After a very cold night with frost on the ground, I hop in the car and decide to go to the market in La Bisbal d’Empordà. At this time of the morning, you still can find a parking spot. Markets are popular among the Catalans and they start early! La Bisbal d’Empordà is a typical provincial town, very well-known for the ceramics and all kinds of baskets. I notice that the stall with meat and cheeses is still on the same corner as 20 years before. They stick to their place! You can get good bargains here and most people buy for the whole week their fruits and veggies. I just stroll around, get familiar again with the Spanish atmosphere and buy some roses for my father’s grave.

From La Bisbal I return to Pals, park the car in town and walk up towards the cemetery. From now on, I will visit my dad every day of this week, to catch up with him on the stories. A lot has happened over the last 20 years…….

Pals is still Pals, a few stores more and a few less and, very important, more cafeterías! The medieval town has not changed at all and it’s lovely to walk around and admire the view from the old tower.

At the parking I start a conversation with an older guy, who is sitting on a bench. We talk about my economic rental car and I tell him the reason I came back to Pals. Long story short; it turns out he was the gardener of my parents!!! What a coincidence! The next day, I take him to the local café and we talk about the old times.

It’s lunchtime and I drive to Playa de Pals, to see if restaurant Mar Blau still exists. It idoes and as always running the whole year. It has a terrace at the seaside or at the back. There is a cold wind blowing, so I prefer to sit on the secluded terrace. To sit outside again is such a great feeling! I take my favorite avocado-schrimp and sip my white wine. This is holiday!

The beach is wide and empty. After lunch, I go for a walk over the rocky path along the sea, towards Sa Riera. Many times I walked this trail in the past and on some stretches it was not very safe, but it improved a lot. The nude beach is also still there and one person is sunbathing. Thanks to my 60 x zoom camera, I know it is a guy and yes, he is nude!

Sa Riera is empty, nearly all the houses are closed and not even one café open. In the summer these places are crowded with tourists and now I barely see a living soul.

I return my way to Play de Pals, via the tiny streets up and down the hill and arrive just before sunset ‘home’.