We enjoyed a nice relaxing Friday morning at our apartment in the hotel today. In the afternoon we went to the beach in Malgrat de Mar for a little bout of sunbathing and swimming. We caught our first glimpse of the Senti la Costa Brava boat, which amazed us by sailing right up to the beach beside us for passengers to get off and on. The sea is just deep enough close to the sand to make this possible without a harbour or pier. Continue reading “2023-05-05 – Malgrat beach, Casa bella and jam session”
La Diada de Sant Jordi / St George’s day has arrived and we’ve chosen Arenys de Mar as our venue to sample the celebration of Catalonia’s national saint. The main events take place in the evening from 5.30pm, which gives us a perfect excuse to have a lazy Sunday in the apartment and a much deserved rest from what has been a week full of long walks. This is the first time we’ve missed Vermut Time in many Sundays, but it means we set off for Arenys well fed and watered with both the laundry and my family zoom done and dusted. Continue reading “2023-04-23 – return to Arenys de Mar for Sant Jordi”
I can’t deny packing up our stuff from our home from home in Arenys de Mar was tinged with a wee bit of sadness. We’ve had a fantastic six weeks here and we’ve very lucky to be staying on in Maresme county at Santa Susanna. The transfer from Arenys to Santa Susanna could not have gone more smoothly to be honest. A northbound train pulled into the station just a few minutes after we got there and our apartment at the Odissea Park hotel was ready early just a few minutes after our arrival there. Continue reading “2023-04-12 – Santa Susanna moving day”
The end of our six weeks in Arenys de Mar is fast approaching and we’re both naturally happy we are able to extend our stay for another four weeks up the coast in Santa Susanna. The sunny aspect of our flat in Arenys is a primary factor in our enjoyment here, so it’s no surprise that we take a relaxing time enjoying our last full day here. As late afternoon arrives we decide to check out whether the local Xiringuitos are open for business for maybe a last drink on platja de la picòrdia, the beach directly in front of the main Riera in Arenys. Continue reading “2023-04-11 – lazy last day in Arenys de Mar”
Easter Sunday and we had mona de pasqua for breakfast. Three layers of sponge with some custardy cream between each, with a sprinkling of nuts on top, decorated with a small yellow bespectacled bird and some blue and yellow feathers. Continue reading “2023-04-09 – last Vermut time in Arenys de Mar”
We made this a long Good Friday, by getting up earlier than we have risen since we got here. We wanted to experience la Renglereta at 8am, which is an outdoor procession marking the stations of the cross from the Santa Maria church to the Capuchin friary up the road a wee bit. Continue reading “2023-04-07 – la Renglereta on Good Friday and jam session al Celler del Rial”
Today was another restful day, taking it easy in Arenys de Mar. It was another lovely sunny day, so we donned our swimwear and headed to the beach beyond the docks in Arenys, which is called Platja de Cavaió, a very long wide beach. Even on a Tuesday afternoon we are seeing the beaches here more populated with sunbathers, people fishing with rods and even swimmers. I was determined to have another dip in the ocean myself. Continue reading “2023-04-04 – platja de Cavaió”
After pushing the boat out so far metaphorically yesterday with our Sunday afternoon pub crawl, we needed a bit of recovery time today, so we took it easy at home. Apart from a quick shopping expedition to Bonpreu in the morning, we only ventured out again in the evening for a walk up to the cementery, returning via the main street, so Al could pick up something to put in a burger bun for tea. Continue reading “2023-04-03 – quiet Monday, an evening walk and burgers for tea”
It’s Palm Sunday today and families gather in the church square in Arenys de Mar with rams for the children. These are tall bouquets of palm fronds, decorated with all sorts of things like sweets and toys. There is a blessing of these rams outside the church. To be honest, we missed all the action and found the crowd in the aftermath of the religious ceremony on our way to find some Vermut time. With so many people now filtering out of the square there is significant competition now for tables at nearby bars for Vermut, but we manage to get the last one at El Celler del Rial. This is the first time we have found it open and they have a special offer for Vermut time of a little vermut, olives and crisps for €3.50. Continue reading “2023-04-02 – Sunday pub crawl in Arenys de Mar”
I recalled that the first Saturday of the month was a special market day in Canet de Mar and we’d been there 4 weeks before and met Marta and her pro-indy activist pals, so we decided to jump on the train to Canet today and maybe see Marta and Jordi, now that Jordi had arrived from Scotland. The market was very much as we had experienced the last time, with plenty of hippy crafts, vegan cheese among the other things. Continue reading “2023-04-01 – Canet Saturday and a bang on the nose”
My fifty-sixth birthday has arrived! After a lovely lazy morning, the plan is to explore La Musclera beach near Caldes d’Estrac and in the evening I fancy going to the pizzeria there to eat. It’s menu is reasonably veggie-friendly and I like how they name all their pizzas after towns in Maresme. Continue reading “2023-03-31 – birthday no. 2”
As has been the pattern for us now, our Barcelona day left us in need of rest and a lazy day at home in Arenys. Looking at my google timeline, I can see it looks like I didn’t even move from the flat on this day. I cooked some fidueà for the evening and these short thin noodles really are a comfort food, perfect for the occasion.
It’s always a nice thing to be back “in your own bed”. We’ve become very fond our flat in Arenys de Mar. The bed is so comfy and the way the light floods the place in the morning (once you pull the curtains) is so uplifting. Continue reading “2023-03-27 – Mercadona shopping”
Our jaunts into Barcelona seem to knock the stuffing out of us. Right enough, yesterday’s city tour on an open topped bus saw us exposed to the sun for 4 hours and that was probably the biggest factor in the rest and recovery needed today. Rest and recovery are two of our motives for this trip anyhow, so we take great pleasure in days like today, when we have the luxury to indulge in pretty much doing nothing. Continue reading “2023-03-21 – rest and Pebre Negre”
The cupboards were getting a bit bare again, so I decided to get up nice and early on this Monday morning to go out to the Bonpreu supermarket again. It was the first one I found when we got here and is still my favourite I think. Big mistake though – at 8am on Monday morning, no supermarkets are open here – they all open their doors at 9am.
A bit of a false start, but I was able to catch up on doing this journal after what had been a busy weekend. At 10am we were to have a visit from our AirBnB host (Pere) – it was good to finally meet him. After that I was able to make a successful attempt at my supermarket run. Alison fancied a wander in the shops too, so we decided we’d make the day a “stay close to home” day.
In terms of planning what we do each day, we have quite a relaxed approach, not making too many concrete plans and very often deciding what do to when we get up. There are a lot of places to visit for a day and we are steadily making our way through a list of them. There are some special days in our time here that do need some extra thought, research and preparation. Our birthdays, St Patrick’s Day and I have a gig in Igualada on Fri 24 March 2023. Conversation has turned to what we should do for St Patrick’s day, which falls on a Friday this year. I’m still harbouring a slightly unrealistic desire to find a pub in Arenys de Mar that would welcome a sing song session, but the consensus is for going out to an organised celebration of some sort somewhere.
I set about some research into Irish pubs in the area or any other establishments who might be putting on a St. Patrick’s Day special. We don’t really want to go as far as Barcelona, even though there will be plenty of Irish bars there doing their thing. Calella looks like a lively town for night-life and we haven’t yet visited yet, but I draw a blank on any leads for Paddy’s day events there. Mataró is the biggest town in Maresme county and I discover there is at least one Irish bar (Molly Malone’s) and interesting looking Belgian bar (The Drunk Monk). I can see the bones of a mini-pub crawl coming together there. Indeed we resolve to go on a scouting mission to Mataró, hopefully tomorrow night (Tuesday) and see what Molly Malone’s has to offer for the Friday night.
As the afternoon petered out, I got an urge to make risotto for dinner. I had bought the rice in the morning, but needed the other ingredients. I think I was driven by the slight disappointment the arosseria (rice restaurant) La Tasqueta didn’t have a veggie rice dish on the menu. I nipped across the road to Ametller Origen and got the few things needed and that’s how we spent the evening. A nice home-cooked mushroom risotto, some beer and a few telly programs.
We both have birthdays in March, so we’ve been looking forward to celebrating these special days here at our home from home in Catalonia. Here are a few of the important elements that made up birthday no. 1. Continue reading “2023-03-12 – birthday no. 1”
Our first Monday in our new home from home evolved into a very nice rest day. We didn’t move from the flat, we enjoyed the plentiful light we get through the day and relaxed with tea, coffee and a bit of improvisation with the food we still had in the cupboard.
With no excursion today, today’s journal entry is an opportunity to explore a couple of the more mundane facets of our experience in Arenys de Mar: the peelings and the pealings, by which I mean the recycling and food waste scheme they have here and the bells of the Església de Santa Maria. Continue reading “2023-03-06 – peelings and pealings”
It’s a Thursday morning and we’ve woken up in our new “home from home” for the next 6 weeks – Arenys de Mar in Maresme county in Catalonia, on the mediterranean coast just north of Barcelona. The “home from home” narrative is a keen reminder to ourselves not to slip too much into “holiday mode” eating and drinking out every night. An attempt to replicate the type of expenditure that might be routine at home. We’ll see how that works out for us. Continue reading “2023-03-02 – Arenys de Mar, our home from home for 6 weeks”