Ever seen those movies in which rich chaps race down European hillsides in swanky cars? There's the sea on one side, they have the roaring wind tousling their hair, and there's usually a dame or two in the other car. The Costa Brava (the wild coast) is exactly that sort of locale. Unfortunately, neither Francesc nor I are rich, he doesn't own a convertible, and the few dames we met were on solid ground. Plus, I get motion sick when going down winding roads at speed, so I spent not a little time staggering out of the car and arranging myself flat on my back on the roadside asphalt, and feeling very sorry for myself. Not something you see James Bond doing very often.
But apart from that, it was exactly like in the movies.
The hotels I'd stayed in weren't too much on the expensive side up till then. But for these, the last 4 days of my holiday, I splurged a little. Picked a Parador, no less. Paradors are state-run luxury hotels that are located mostly in buildings of historical significance. The Parador de Aiguablava doesn't seem to be a particularly old building, but the location is fantastic. It's set on a hill, with steep falls to the waters on three sides. From the balcony of the room we had, you could spend endless hours gazing at the blue-green waters, and listen all night to the sea lapping the shores. A pity, then, that we didn't spend much time in the hotel...
Begur is a beautiful town (the pictures of the town, below, are Begur's streets) with several coves near it - Aiguablava being but one. But we spent very little time there, preferring to use it more as a base for drives around the Costa Brava. I have a thing for lighthouses, so I saw quite a few: apart from the one at Cap de Creus, we also made time for Sant Sebastià and the one at Tossa de Mar. Plus, because Francesc hadn't updated the maps in his GPS device in a while, we took time out of our busy schedules getting lost quite a bit. One memorable night, returning from Cadaqués, we spent hours and hours circling the whole of the Costa Brava at least thrice (and, I suspect, large swathes of France and Italy, too), with frequent merdas punctuating the night air from the direction of the driver's seat.
Still, it means I can boast of having seen more of the Costa Brava than most other tourists - even if on many occasions my visit comprised solely of seeing boards with a town's name on it whizzing by at speed.
This last week in Catalonia was my favourite. Francesc's hospitality meant that I got to see much more of this lovely region than I would've if I'd stuck to public transport, and his friendliness meant that I got to meet more people - and get to know a little of them - than at any other time during my holiday.
If only I could afford more trips like this - and for longer... Fernweh's a terrible thing, I tell you, and from my little experience of it so far, it's one of those afflictions that get worse with time. Is there no cure?