Last year Audrey and I were fortunate enough to visit Spain for the first time. With limited time in the country, we keyed in on Madrid and Barcelona and really enjoyed both cities, however, we left Spain feeling as though we had only scratched the surface of what the country has to offer.
With this in mind when we had the opportunity to head back to Spain and visit a different region (Costa Brava) we jumped at the opportunity. We’re realizing as of late that we enjoy a slower pace of travel and we are wanting to spend more time in nature, eating slow food and really immersing ourselves in local culture. Costa Brava, the Catalan ‘wild coast’ situated in the coastal region of northeastern Spain, offered exactly that!
For those who fancy relaxing sailing trips, fresh seafood, inviting vineyards, adventurous hot air balloon rides and slow dining over many glasses of wine, join us as we share our journey from Cadaqués to Girona featuring all of the travel and food highlights in between.
Sailing and Seafood
Driving late at night down a serpentine road we arrived at Cadaqués. Given it was around midnight when we checked in, it wasn’t until the following morning that we were truly able to appreciate just how cute and picturesque the town really is. After enjoying a leisurely walk down to the harbour, that morning we set sail aboard Charter San Isidre touring Cap de Creus Natural Park. On board the sailing boat we had ample time to relax and really take in the scenery.
After anchoring the boat and enjoying a bit of swimming it was time for lunch and our crew had a real treat prepared for us. As a lover of fresh fish and seafood, I enjoyed every bite of fideuà, mussels and drunken sponge cake (bizcochos borrachos) from a generous spread laid out before us. Out of everything served, my favourite had to be the drunken sponge cake with its syrupy liquor that soaked into the cake. It was ever so sweet, yet it burned a bit as it went down my throat.
Grape Harvesting and Wine Tasting
I’ve been on some rather dull wine tours before – the kind where facts are heavy and experiences are light. Fortunately, our visit to La Vinyeta Cellar was anything but that! In fact, I’d go as far as saying it was the most immersive vineyard experience I’ve ever had. Aside from getting to harvest the grapes (yes, they put us to work) we then had a chance to stomp them in a barrel before sampling a generous spread of cheese and meats to go along with our wine.
That afternoon was the classic example of why I enjoy travel; it all has to do with being surrounded by great company, experiencing new things and enjoying incredible food and drink. Check. Check. Check
Hot Air Balloon Ride
If you’ve been following my travel blog for a while you’re well aware of the fact that I’m terrified of heights. The allure of going on my first ever hot air balloon ride and having the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone was at a tug-of-war with my fear and anxiety. I actually plan on writing an entire post on that experience, so I’ll keep this very brief. I’m sure glad I did it. I was nervous, but it got better as the journey progressed and the views of the Pyrenees were incredible.
2nd Best Restaurant in the World!
Well, let me start off by saying that it is not exactly every day that you get to eat at the second best restaurant in the world. Having an opportunity to gormandize on a spread of appetizers was one of the highlights of being in Girona.
Food that only can be imagined by creative geniuses was served to us as I got to sample exotic delicacies such as anchovies ice cream. However, my favourite one of all was a platter called Around The World with many Asian inspired bite-sized treats. Having an opportunity to be a fly-on-the-wall inside of the kitchen really gave me a greater appreciation for the level of detail that is involved at this restaurant.
Girona Walking Tour
Girona is one of those cities that has a town feel. You wander around and you have all the attractions of a bigger city yet without the hustle and bustle and grittiness that often defines it. Although we only had a brief walking tour with a gelato in hand, I was impressed by the colorful apartments, historical architecture and general laid-back vibe of the city. I’d love to return again someday and shoot a city video guide focusing on the town’s architecture, narrow pedestrian streets and ancient city walls.
Food and Wine!
The food and wine we experienced on our trip was simply splendid. We didn’t have one single bad meal. What really stood out for me was the quality of the cheeses and meats. At every meal I struggled to control myself even though I had every intention of not stuffing my face.
My favorite experience was learning how to drink wine from a traditional porró. Best described as a traditional wine pitcher, it resembles something of a wine bottle morphed with a watering can. The goal is to pour wine directly into your mouth from as far away as possible. I must have had some beginners luck because it wasn’t until near the end that I sprayed it all over face 😉