Last Updated on 11 May 2023 by gerry
As we count down the last few days of our stay in Catalonia, we plan some activites in places we haven’t yet visited. On our list of things to do is some wine tourism in Alella, so we have booked a tour for today at a winery called Alta Alella.
I stayed in Alella, which is close to El Masnou on the Maresme coast for a few days in September 2018 as part of the Foreign Friends of Catalonia initiative. We were treated to a reception at the town hall in El Masnou which is right on the main road and I remember a fabulous food and wine festival in the main square of Alella on the eve of La Diada. Apart from those memories, I don’t recall much about either of these places, so I’m looking forward to reconnect with them today.
As we got off the train in El Masnou, we followed most of the disembarking passengers across the main road and along to the right. The plan was to explore for a bit, grab a bite to eat and then order a taxi to take us to the winery for about 3.15pm. El Masnou is quite an unusual town, I think, because it has quite a stretched-out, compressed shape along the main road without much of a recognisable centre, so we struggled for a while to find some place to sit down for lunch. With the help of mapping apps on our phones we eventually found a little cluster of cafes and we ordered some drinks and tapes at one of them, called Bar Angel.
After lunch we explored a little bit more hoping to find a good spot for a taxi pickup. Around the corner there was a BP garage. I had made the misguided assumption that the Taxi Més app I had used before in Arenys de Mar, would work just as well here in El Masnou / Alella. It failed to find any taxi companies for pickups in this locality, so it must be quite a localised app. The man in the BP garage was very helpful and wrote down a couple of local taxi numbers for us, but I could not get through to either of them. Oh dear, we were in trouble now in terms of making our wine tour.
We phoned the winery to explain our predicament and they said they would try to order a taxi for us. They conversed totally in English, so at least we could understand each other. The taxi companies on the other hand all had automated messages in Spanish. In trying to ascertain our location, the winery person asked me if I could see the blue elephant. I had no idea what she meant and all I could do was repeat that we were at the BP petrol station.
Twenty minutes went by and no taxi appeared. It turned out that the winery had been just as unsuccessful as us at getting hold of a cab for immediate pickup. Saturday afternoon is clearly a very busy time for taxis in the area and we had to face up to the reality that we were not going on our wine tour today. My understanding was that the winery was some distance away, up in the hills behind Alella. However there was a Sunday tour available and we were able to reschedule for that. We will just have to figure out our transport arrangements a bit better.
We now had some spare time and we chose to walk up the main road to Alella and have a look at the town. It was now 4pm, so most places would likely be shut, but we had a good look around. It is a very small town centre and most of the population live in houses on the elevated streets around the town. A car is pretty essential for life in Alella, it seems. On Saturdays the last bus down the road to El Masnou is at 2pm!
We found the town square, where I had experienced the wine and food festival in 2018 and it did not match up very well to my memory as now the square is empty with just a cafe terrace on one side. We did fine one little bar open and had a refreshing drink, as we both knew we’d be making the journey back down the hill under our own steam.
Our descent didn’t take too long and we discovered some new parts of El Masnou along the way. We had made arrangements to return to the Estrac Pizzeria in Caldes d’Estrac with Marta at 8.30pm that evening so we had a couple of hours to kill and we came up with a plan to stop off in Cabrera de Mar, another as yet unvisited town and find somewhere to lie down on the beach and rest our weary bodies.
What we found in Cabrera couldn’t have been more perfect. A couple of beanbags beside a xiringuito were beckoning us as we left the train station and the Saturday evening atmosphere on the beach was so upbeat. So many families were playing all kinds of beach games and people young old were enjoying the hot hot early evening sun. After all our taxi heartache, it’s lovely when things work our just perfectly.
The rest of our evening was just as perfect. As our train arrived in Caldes from the south, Marta’s train from Canet was just pulling in, so we walked up to the pizzeria together, right on time for the doors opening. Bona bona nit i bon profit!