October 18th, 2011 | Posted by: Kim
With all the hail pelting down from dark grey skies here in Amsterdam, our trip to sunny Barcelona and Cadaques seems eons ago, but we’ve in fact only been back for a couple of weeks now.
The conference that brought us to China last year was held in Barcelona this September. And coincidentally, Matt’s Mom and Brian were looking to make a trip over to Europe around the same time, so we all met up post-WYSTC at a great little find of an apartment (thanks go to Nancy) with a rooftop terrace and a view on the Sagrada Familia. Fortuitously, the trip also coincided with the annual Merce Festival, of which the most memorable experience was certainly the Correfoc.
We expected a spectacle based on what we’d read about it, but nothing can accurately convey what it is to be right there, and so close to all the “beasts and devils from hell” taking over the streets, dancing among crowds with fireworks and giant sparklers. Not a safety barrier around, though at least the odd firetruck was along the route on standby. Make this incredible event number 27 that we’ve encountered over here that would never, ever, ever be permitted in the UK, Canada or the US because it wouldn’t be considered remotely safe. And wow, was it a good time.
Post conference, it took me days to get back on form, but in addition to the Correfoc, the few days spent in Barcelona were a happy blur of sightseeing, tapas-eating and mojito-drinking. Cadaques, however, was more the speed I was up for.
A three hour bus ride, including a nail-biter of a last 1/2 hour through tight and winding mountain roads, took us to the incredibly beautiful seaside town of Cadaques. But first order of business, before exploring the town itself, had to be lunch and several hours lying poolside at our hotel. And we kept up that pace our entire four days there. We’d both had a killer couple of months work-wise and this was our first chance to recuperate. The Santa Maria Church and Dali’s home were really the only must-see sights for us outside of simply wandering the lovely, hilly streets, so we didn’t feel compelled, as we usually do when travelling, to be out and about all day, every day. We dedicated ourselves fully to a routine of: get up, eat breakfast (including churros!), wander the town, lunch and relax poolside all afternoon, dinner & drinks, repeat. Magic.