Timeline: July 12th – 18th
We broke camp on Saturday the 12th, packed the car and then, with a short drive ahead of us to Tossa de Mar, climbed on our bikes for a ride from camp. The folks at the reception desk had suggested heading north and thus we went. The first short stretch was along the main road but we shortly turned off onto a house lined street that would take us quite a few miles in the direction we wanted to travel, a block or so from the beach.
It was a cloudy day with a hint of rain in the forecast but as the blocks kept unfurling we just kept riding, our only goal to keep the ride to about an hour or so. We climbed up a short hill to a viewpoint overlooking the beach stretching to the south, then began to make our way back to camp, riding along street and bike path next to the shore.
We truly felt like we were back in Santa Monica. I guess all beach communities are similar in that way and as we pulled into camp our single regret is that we’d used up all of our bonus travel days and had no more to give to Barcelona. More bike riding there would have been a joy.
The first part of the drive to Tossa took us along the coast, again cruising through beach towns and settings. We turned inland for a bit, then back to the shore as we approached town. Francois had texted us that traffic out of France was horrendous and that he was going to be delayed, our original plan being to meet him at the house to see if the arrangements would work for all of us.
As he was going to be late, we drove straight to Camping Can Marti to check it out. We parked the car and entered reception, asked about rates and confirmed our reservation. This time of year in a campground of this nature, the charge is 35 Euros a night, a shade under $50. We asked if we could walk around and check out the sites and then did so. It was a nice enough place, but there would be a charge of 5 Euros a day for Wi-Fi, good only at the bar. Not sure what to do we returned to the car to discuss our options just as it started to drizzle.
We called Francois who answered and said he was about an hour from town. He was able to give us the address of the house they were renting and we decided to drive over to check it out. This of course proved to be an adventure as it is perched high up on a hill whose approach is via, you guessed it, twisty narrow streets. On our first try we didn’t understand the instructions from the GPS and turned one street too soon, sending us down a narrow lane or two.
We came back around for another try and being confused, found a parking spot (this is being generous observation, the spot halfway on the street and halfway in a gully), and I walked back out to the street, then up the hill a bit to discover the street we should be on. I walked up to confirm where the location of the two-story house and up the stairs to discover that the leasing agent was present. She let me tour both floors of the house (two separate living quarters) and my first impression was one of true delight. The upper level, the one we would occupy had a postcard view, spacious living spaces, and large outdoor patio: I was hooked.
Our only concern was the cost. Francois had mentioned we’d just split his room cost with him, our share being about 270 Euros, but there would be additional food costs that we wouldn’t have complete control over. We just weren’t sure how much more it would run us to stay, but after a short discussion and Joanna seeing the space, we quickly decided to go all in and stay at what we would, and will forever, refer to as the Tossa House.
We moved the car closer to the house, parking in the driveway of number 12 next door, which the agent assured us would be OK for a short while. This being the weekend, parking was at a premium but we were advised that on Sunday all of the weekend visitors from Barcelona would return home and more spots would open. And they did.
We didn’t have to wait long for Francois and the others to show up. Our group would be comprised of:
- Anders and Babette Larsen
- Keith Olive and Silvane Dessi-Olive
- Nicole (Babette’s Sister)
- Jerry and Joanna
- Joss and wife Tordis and their three daughters (and a boyfriend or two)
- Marci and his wife Flo
- Jean Jacques and his wife
The history of these folks is long, rich, and deep, with many trips to Tossa. In fact, for a few of them this is where they all met in the early 1970’s. In a later post I will attempt to provide a tree of connections, but for now let’s just say this was to be a memorable reunion to celebrate the 60th birthdays of both Anders and Joss.
Anders had made most of the arrangements and advised us that for the first night, we’d be walking down into town for dinner at a restaurant with a very reasonable 10.30 Euro fixed price menu, the Braseria Berlin. We’d started with a beer or two at the house (this would be a constant and common pattern for the week, much food and drink) and the walk down a nearby stairway into town took but a few minutes.
There were sixteen of us (additional folks would drift in and out during the week) in total and we would have one of the best, least expensive dining experiences of our trip. The owner handled our orders and made two passes around the table, once each for the starter and the main course. Portion sizes were impressive, food quality good and the night passed us by in that fuzzy state we arrive at when the day has been long, full of uncertainty that gets resolved, the belly gets full, the mind numb from good alcohol and conversation. There could not have been a better way to start our week in Tossa. We were glad we’d arrived.
Camping Can Marti: http://www.campingcanmarti.com/?lang=en
Restaurant-Braseria Berlin: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g230087-d1094508-Reviews-Restaurant_Braseria_Berlin-Tossa_de_Mar_Costa_Brava_Province_of_Girona_Catalonia.html