Monday, 17 June 2013

Tossa del Mar

Tossa del Mar is a gorgeous little seaside village on the Costa Brava, just over 100km North of Barcelona. Against popular belief and unlike all the other Costa Brava villages the place was not a fishing town traditionally but based its economy on agriculture, until the 1950’s when mass tourism took over. So many people have recommended us to visit it that last weekend we packed up and drove down there.

We got a car from the airport and we couldn't believe our eyes when we saw our car for the weekend. We checked everything twice to make sure we have the right vehicle but all seemed to be fine. By some ‘accident’ this little thing was our ride.

We weren't even sure we can drive it on the motorway! Apart from it being TINY, it was also a semi-automatic car so Paul had fun for a few minutes trying to figure out how to drive it while I was quietly freaking out on the seat next to him thinking ‘He cannot drive this box. We’re gonna die!’ It was all good though and soon we were taking over the bigger cars on the AP-7. That tiny thing can move!  

After about 1.5 hours we managed to find Tossa, find a parking space and find our accommodation. By that time the weather was decidedly horrible but it didn't stop us from going and having a quick look around before lunch.

Our first impressions weren't very good. All I could see was that mass tourism took over and under every single house was one of those shops that I call ‘crap shops’, the ones that offer you Barbie decorated swimming rings, T-shirts with the Barca team posing as castellers or a foot high purple dragon holding a magic ball.

We found the castle on the side of the town and looked around. Inside it actually looked nicer, with lots of small houses and windy little streets. The view was excellent over the surrounding areas. We also discovered the first beach ‘El Codolar’ that looked…empty.

The Costa Brava, the Rugged Coast.

From the top of the castle we also found the ‘Platja Gran’, the main beach of Tossa.

By this time a storm was brewing quietly but imposingly in the distance.

We decided that for now it was enough and started to go back to the apartment, stopping only to buy some food. Just about 5 min from the apartment the sky opened and by the time we got home we got drenched. What a lovely weekend ahead of us!

We ate our lunch in silence, listening for the rain outside, then had a little siesta. By the time we woke up somebody cleared the sky, put all the clouds away and the sun was shining at full power. We once again started to explore the place. The castle looked very picturesque from the main beach.

We also found the third beach, La Mar Menuda. I think this was my favourite. We sat down in a beach bar on the far end and enjoyed the sun, a cold drink and watched how people braved the cold water but retreated every single time. To our delight the hotel on the beach even had a wedding organised. They set up everything on the sand that was NOT flat and we watched the ladies stumbling down on the red carpet in their high heels and how the whole wedding was conducted at an angle, the decoration slowly slipping from the table and the guests holding onto their chairs!

We spent late afternoon chatting to a Hungarian couple (Paul did all the talking, not!) trying to understand each other in three different languages. For their recommendation we tried the local speciality, the cim i tomba for dinner. You can read about it here.

We spend the next day in the hills around the town but we were back by the evening. We visited the Moorish Tower behind the last houses that offered a magnificent view over Tossa.

After dinner we went for a last stroll. Tossa said good bye to us with a spectacular sunset.

Even though our first impressions weren’t very nice, Tossa del Mar did grow on us by the end. It’s a lovely little place to enjoy the sun and have a meal in one of the nice restaurants. I later learnt from Wikipedia that this was the first place in the world who in 1989 declared itself an anti-bullfighting city! Go Tossa!

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