2 days in Emporda, Part II

8 Aug

So, onto more castle pics! The one above is a view from our castle room. Unbelievable. Below are more views.

This is a day view from the top of the tower where Rapunzel was (kidding about Rapunzel – it was me):

And another view from the roof of the tower:

It was a gorgeous day and the views were spectacular.

The inside of the castle was also pretty interesting. I loved all of the dragons everywhere. Here are a few shots.

This one is at night as I’m descending the windy staircase of the tower:

The is one that is hanging above the second story of the main castle building, which now serves as the reception and entry point:

The owner is apparently a Waterloo fan, as he has the largest, miniature collection of the Waterloo battle in the world. Here’s a pic:

And, a close up of one of the battle scenes:

Weird? Cool? Both?

Okay, onto Day 2. We started out the morning with an excellent breakfast that is included in the room price. Of course, everything was homemade. There were 4 different types of jams, 6 different types of bread (I ate 4 slices), charcuterie, fresh squeezed juices, cava (yep, they even bottle their own cava), granola, yogurt, fresh fruit, and then they asked you what type of eggs you wanted and they made them, as well as the coffee, to order. Wow, wow, wow. It’s not a wonder that I’ve gained nearly 6 kilos since I’ve been here (2.2 kilos = 1 pound).

After I stuffed my belly and other parts, we were ready for a little pool time. Oh yeah, the castle has a heated pool, 8 large (for 2 people) padded lounge beds (they were beds not chairs), 3 sitting/sunroof decks, 2 bars and a bartender who tends the pool goers. Inside, it has a dvd/library collection, a piano room, a lounge/reading room with a t.v. and several different nooks and crannies in which there are lovely pillow seats usually underneath a magnificent window with a gorgeous view, if you just want to chill for a moment. Yep, fit for a princess.

After breakfast we set out to drive through some more small towns. Diana may need to correct me on this, as all medieval towns look alike (kidding!), but I think the two we hit on day 2 were Cruilles and Monells.

If I’m not mistaken, Cruilles was the town in which Diana tried to drive down some steps. Here’s how it went… Diana: “I’m not sure if we can drive through these narrow streets, but let’s try.” We drive down a few very narrow streets and then take a hairpin turn right with no more than 1 inch on each side of Diana’s van. It turns out we’re in a lovely courtyard with no way out. I get out and take some photos while Diana does a 10 point turn to get us out of there. Here’s pic of Diana and mom as we exit the courtyard.

Instead of being deterred, Diana pushed on through another narrow street that looked rather like a large walking path. Halfway down the street mom says,
“Ummm, I think those are steps going down ahead of you.”
Diana: “Nah.”
The car: thunk.

Yep, we launched off the first big step. Me: laughing. Then, me: incredibly impressed, again, with Diana’s driving. I was pretty sure we bottomed out the mini-van, but all she did was burn rubber and much of the clutch in reverse to get us back over the steps. I was secretly hoping we’d keep going down the steps to see where we landed. Ha!

Did I mention Diana is the greatest tour guide ever? She’s fearless in her van.

Here are a few views of very cute Cruilles and Monells.

This is the picture of the tiny courtyard Diana drove in, which we’re all now pretty sure was for pedestrians only:

I think this was also Cruilles:

And Monells…

I loved the streets in this town a whole lot.

A door in Monells:

Another street:

There was also a very cool bridge in a town we passed on our way back to Bisbal to buy some pottery. Here it is:

The last thing we did on Friday was visit Gala’s castle in Pubol. Gala was Dali’s wife. Now, I think I’ve done just about every outing and seen just about everything I can see memorializing Dali. For you Dali lovers, here are two pics of a table he made. The first pic is of the table. If you study it closely, you’ll notice that, in addition to the bird leg/foot, you can also seem to see through the table to the floor below.

Now, if you look at this second pic, you see that you indeed see through to the floor below and you also see a large, white stuffed horse that indeed was alive and real at one time. In addition to some other weird fetishes, Dali loved stuffing large animals. I mean, I loved stuffed animals, too, when I was a kid but this….

is clever, I’ll give him that. I know, I know, for someone who doesn’t appreciate Dali, I’ve seen everything there is to see about him in Catalonia. But, like Gaudi, Picasso and Miro, he is/was one of the world’s revered artists, so when in Catalonia…

Back to BCN on Friday around 8 p.m. Perfect!

Mom went back to CO on Sunday a.m. early, early, so I cleaned and rested that day. Then, I beached it on Monday. The beaches in Barcelona are not very nice compared to other beaches I’ve been to (and they pale in comparison to Hawaii beaches – by a long way) but I needed some BT, so I had to do it. So, if you’re ever in Barcelona and you just have to get your beach on, then I would suggest going to the beach next to the W Hotel. It’s generally cleaner down that way than the part of the beach just in front of the pier at Barceloneta and you can use the very nice W Hotel bathrooms. Their hand towels are awesome! If you’re shy, just be aware that there are some nudies and many topless folks. If you’re not shy and want to get a full tan, this is the place for you.

Note: For those of you who know me, you know I’m not shy. But, don’t worry mom and dad, I won’t end up on the internet in my full birthday suit.

Then, I went back to work at Quim’s on Tuesday. Here’s my first meal back, courtesy of Yuri:

Ummm, yes it was as delicious as it looks. Simple, fresh, quickly seared in garlic and olive oil. Sprinkled with parsley, maldon sea salt and pepper. The prawns had a splash of vinegar on them which was perfect. Yep, you need to suck the heads out of the crayfish to get the full flavor.

Then, it was dinner with Diana and Teresa. Here’s a warning for all the people living in Barcelona or those who plan to visit: stay away from Thai Garden on Valencia between Rambla Catalunya and Carrer de Balmes. It was hands down the worse food I’ve eaten here and the worst Thai food I’ve ever eaten. The restaurant has a darling interior and nice Buddhas everywhere, but the food was literally rotten, like spoiled. I had such a rough stomach today.

But, the company way fabulous. I was with two lovely ladies who showed me more places right around my apartment that I hadn’t seen. We went to a bar called Boca Chica. It has a restaurant attached to it called Boca Grande. The bathroom is the highlight of the place! It is the coolest bathroom I’ve ever been in and I want to steal the idea for my restaurant. Seriously.

It has a DJ and a DJ setup in the bathroom. I’m not lying. Here’s a pic:

The pictures I took are kind of bad because the bathroom was lit with only candles and I had only my iphone with me, not my good camera, but the bathroom was also covered with mirrors and funky art. If you look at the pics below, in the reflection of the mirrors, you can see other walls and the art on them.

The individual unisex stalls were also covered with mirrors, including the ceilings. Why I’d want to see myself going to bathroom I don’t know, but the mirrors themselves were very nice quality and the stalls were clean and elegantly appointed. I always say the mark of a good restaurant is how much thought goes into the restrooms and how clean they are kept. So, I applaud the restaurant for taking such care with theirs.

Well, I’m off to bed, as I’m up early to work at Quim’s again tomorrow. I’m going to teach the other cocineros a dish that’s easy to make for their “specials” of the day. It has a raw salsa component to it that I think they need more of on their menu. We’ll see if they like it!

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2 Responses to “2 days in Emporda, Part II”

  1. Diana August 12, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    Rachel, it was such fun. I can still remember driving the car down those steps and driving backwars the narrow streets. No kidding!
    I must tell everybody that touring with you was great fun and very interesting in many ways. Hugs to your mum!!!

  2. janet draman August 12, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    Diana is a “rock star” of a tour guide, driver and friend ! We had the best time and had our own private times and tours. Thanks for the memories! Don’t forget to send me that thing with all of our/your pictures on it.

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