Last Updated on 17 March 2023 by gerry
We managed two excursions today: a walk to the neighbouring town of Arenys de Munt and an evening pub crawl of sorts in Mataró as mentioned before.
Walk to Arenys de Munt
Arenys literally means sands, so Arenys de Mar is Sands by the sea and Arenys de Munt would be something like Sands up the hill. Often these seaside towns in Maresme county created an inland refuge town as a safe place in times of a threat from pirates. In the morning we set off to visit the other Arenys on foot. The great weather continues, so we take our stroll quite leisurely and hope we don’t get too much sun on the way.
At the edge of Arenys de Mar, where the town boundary appears to be, there is the main Maresme highway and we needed to carefully figure out how to get over this busy intersection with flyovers and many junctions. For pedestrians, it wasn’t too bad as there are a couple of subways. Before we see the second subway however, we are able to follow some other walkers across the road towards relative safety of the treelined path pictured above.
We were still just following our nose at this point, but as the path appeared to fork, we consulted google maps for some help on the best route. It suggested we still had a 30 minute walk to get there, but actually within less than 10 minutes we had reached the climbing centre and wine shop that Al had visited with Marta last Friday. I think I’d been expecting a much smaller older town, but Arenys de Munt is nothing like my preconception. It is quite heavily developed with an industrial sector on the lower part we encounter first and a long street leading to the centre of town.
On this long road into town, we stopped at a pharmacy to see if they had a particular sun-cream Al had been looking for. This quaint hand-drawn “Happy Father’s Day” display was in the window. Here they are celebrating Father’s Day on 19 March this year, which coincides with Mother’s Day back home. The staff in the pharmacy were very helpful and it was a lovely engagement as they didn’t have the item in stock but reckoned they could get it by 4pm or thereabouts. They offered some restaurant recommendations as we left.
Infinit – menú del dia
Eventually we found the central square of the town, Plaça de l’església in the shadow of the church of Sant Martí. There were two or three promising looking cafes in the square, but only one, Infinit, was serving a Menú del dia. This was our first opportunity to sample a menú del dia, particularly great value at €11 per head for 3 courses with a drink included.
The meal was superb and the service was so friendly, we rose from our seats well fed and very happy to explore a bit more of the town before heading home. When we returned to the pharmacy, they had indeed acquired the sun-cream we had wanted earlier. Amazing service!
Molly Malone’s, Mataró
After such a long walk in the sun, we needed a good long rest at home and it was touch and go whether we’d even make it to Mataró for the mini-pub crawl as planned, but we managed to rouse ourselves and get on a train, travelling three stops south to the county capital for just about 8pm. It was rather serendipitous for our St Patrick’s Day plans that we did.
Molly Malone’s made an instantly positive impressive, based on the beer selection alone. As well as Guiness, they had their own locally brewed lager and ale, Hazy Jane, a couple of strong Belgian beers, all on draft and much more. It is a small-ish bar with two sections of seating semi-partitioned by a wall. The furniture is all of traditional dark brown wood.
On ordering a second drink, I asked the barman what his plans were for St Patrick’s day in the bar. He told me that “hopefully, he would have a singing duo for the evening”. I asked whether they do music other nights and if they ever have acoustic sessions, as I’m a singer myself and would enjoy that. At this point he got interested in the prospect of booking me for the Friday as he hadn’t yet confirmed with any musicians. I was more than happy to explore this possibility, as it seemed that a “best of both worlds” scenario was in sight where Al gets a Paddy’s Night event in an Irish bar and I get to do a bit of singing.
There was one problem, though – artists or bands performing in this bar usually provide their own PA and of course, I just have my travel guitar with me and nothing else. This guitar is quite quiet by its nature but works well with some amplification. Some light at the end of this conundrum was offered by the other member of the bar staff who reckoned that I could possibly plug my guitar into the pub’s audio mixer, but he wasn’t too sure if it’d work. On closer inspection I was confident I could make it work – I would just need to get hold of the right cable. That was a quest for another day, but it was looking like our Friday night plans were taking shape.
The Drunk Munk, Mataró
The second and final leg of our mini-pub crawl took us out of the old town to more modern wider streets of Mataró in search of The Drunk Munk, a Belgian pub, with a fine selection of beers by all accounts. It took some finding even with the help of google maps as the pub is to be found in what seems an unlikely spot at the back of some office buildings.
We had time for one round of interesting beers, a stout and a sour, and I managed a nice wee veggie-burger too before it was time to head back down the hill for our 10.44pm train home.
Back in Arenys de Mar, we were delighted to find the verumTast bar open, so we were able to enjoy a little nightcap and reflect on the interesting and unexpected developments of the evening. Bars in Arenys de Mar seem to close quite early at night, so with was a lovely treat. We met a Swiss man called Peter who recalled travelling to Belfast as a young man just as the “Troubles” were beginning in August 1969.