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by Scott Penzarella on August 03, 2012
While the hardcorians opted to ride up to the monastery, 50% of us were more of the relaxarian type. We hit the beach in Sant Marti de Empuries. Mark, Petra, Mo, Sandy, Jerry, Rachael and Marni, set off properly outfitted with towel, sunscreen, book, a fistful of euro and an eye for the nearest chaise/umbrella combo. Within 200 yards of the parking lot after a quick 20 minute drive, we found our paradise and set up shop. 10 euro each felt like the best money ever spent for this view of the Med. Families with children frolicking in the surf, lovers strolling in their own amorous universe, tan and rotund old men, topless ladies of varying shapes and sizes--all were represented.
After a difficult couple of hours reading, daydreaming (about not being on a climb in 100 degree heat), we collectively yawned, stretched, and decided it was time for lunch. A quick stroll up behind the multi-hundred year-old church and voila--three beautiful restaurants to choose from. I suspected our choice would be the “fleece the tourist” variety, but it was utterly delightful and we spent a full two hours perfecting this new level of “I’m On Vacation”. After lunch and a quick walk around town, it was back to our spots for a full-on snooze-athon.
With all the work we had done, we clearly deserved a nice dinner, so after a couple of hours back at the villa (how I do love saying that--“back at the villa”...), we headed into Bascara for Chef Ritchie/Chris’ only night off. Bascara is at the confluence of France and Spain and the cuisine is reflective of the location. Our dining room held one beautiful long table with high-backed chairs and a view out onto the narrow town streets.
Ritchie/Chris ordered white, rose, and red for us to try, and the tapas began to flow freely. We had calamari, bread, grilled local veggies with goat cheese, clams, and mussels. We had our choice of turbot (white fish from the Med), fillet of another white fish from the North Atlantic, grilled rib-eye, or braised pork. I chose the pork and was not disappointed. Ron had the rib-eye, and therefore I had a taste of that as well. Also fabulous.
There had been the equivalent of a whisper campaign all week regarding the chocolate cake at this place. When it came time to order dessert, Scott implied that there were only just so many of those crown jewels available, so you had better really want, and furthermore DESERVE to have this chocolate cake. The other options were orange cake, local ice cream (torrone--hazelnut), flan, a goat cheese/honey dish and maybe one other that currently eludes me. The orange cake was drizzled with heavenly chocolate, was moist and beatifically orange-y. While the chocolate cake was indeed good, I have to saw that mine was better. Scott later admitted that the shortage in the house was actually on the orange cake rather than the chocolate, and that he and the waitress were in cahoots to herd us into choosing appropriately.
Properly stuffed, we headed back to the villa and retired to dreams of more climbing the next day.
Tomorrow: RocaCorba. Apparently it is going to be a torture-fest for our final send off.