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Showing posts with label Costa Brava. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Costa Brava. Show all posts

Friday 31 August 2018

As summer draws to a close ...

I always come on-line round about now to complain about how I want summer to go on for ever. And I don't want it to end. But even I know that everything has its season, and this year we've had a pretty good run of summer. It's been fabulous: long and hot and sunny.

In these final days I've been busy with my needles, enjoying the cool of the evening breeze on my terrace as the children played in the garden below. I've finished the Fair Isle cowl that I'd been working on with my home-dyed yarn. Without any prompting from me, Emi (age 12) admired the colours, which made me feel good. He's not given to much comment where my knitting is concerned, so it's significant that he volunteered something positive.



Friday 10 August 2018

What the Dickens ?

The other day we trooped along to the Espai Carmen Thyssen in the Monastery here in (very) sunny Sant Feliu. We love our monastery, and support all the events that they host there. Every year the lovely Baroness Thyssen brings a selection of paintings out of the Thyssen vaults for a specially curated exhibition - just for us. These exhibitions take a theme and use the art from their extensive collection to narrate and explore it. One year they chose the exploration of the West (think USA), and told that story from a Spanish perspective, which was really interesting for someone brought up with an English-speaker's bias, who had always thought in terms of her cousins across the pond. This year the theme is the evolution of landscape painting, which is also interesting in its own right, and includes a healthy amount of local art.


Having looked around the landscape exhibition one of the attendants told us to pop upstairs to the Pepa Poch exhibition. I'll be honest: I'd never heard of Pepa Poch before.


Tuesday 5 June 2018

A big "thank you" ...



... to the lovely guests who came for our May Spring Colours holiday. Come rain or come shine, you were terrific!


Wednesday 2 May 2018

The big yellows ...

 Okay. I am now officially fed up with the weather. It feels more like February than May here in London. And in my book that's bad - really, really bad. 😣


So morose did the weather make me feel today that I went burrowing into my photo archive for solace. And that's where the big yellows came in ...

Saturday 21 April 2018

Spring has (finally) arrived ...

Gosh it's good when spring finally shows up. The skies are blue, the sun is shining and everywhere there's a riot of colour. This has got to be the very best time of the year: fresh young green leaves unfurling with the promise of wonderful balmy summer days to come. Bring it on!


Enjoy!

Bonny x





Monday 16 April 2018

Sea gulls ...

The WonderDog and I have just been out for a wander along the cliff tops. I've been rather busy over the weekend with lots of people coming and going, so it was my first opportunity in quite a while to just be alone with my thoughts.


Friday 13 April 2018

From indoor rain to Macbeth ...

It's been a funny old time out here on the (not-so) sunny Costa Brava. We've had the very worst weather imaginable.



On Tuesday night it rained cats and dogs. Curled up in bed I was vaguely aware that there was a storm kicking up a hullabaloo outside. But you know that nice, cosy feeling you get when it's miserable outdoors and you have the luxury of not having to go anywhere ... well, I had that in spadefuls. I very happily went back to sleep and thought no more about it.

Fast forward to the following morning when I stepped into ankle deep water in my dining room, and it was another story. A river ran down the staircase from upstairs and the rain was still falling outside ... .


Monday 6 November 2017

Reflecting on a seasonal change ...


Last week I was pootling around in the sunshine, feeling as though summer hadn't really gone anywhere, and could safely be relied upon to hang around for the indefinite future.

Sunday 3 September 2017

Alien Invasion

This morning we woke up to an alien invasion. Sunny Sant Feliu has been overrun by brown jellyfish - medusas, as they're known in this part of the world. Emi assures me that they're not too bad. For one thing they don't sting as much as the white ones do - or so he tells me.


Wednesday 30 August 2017

Sail away with me ...



... to somewhere where it's always summer.

Tragically, I can feel summer slipping through my fingers, and I really, really don't want to let it go.

All the best,

Bonny x

Monday 28 August 2017

La Santa Market ... shopping by moonlight ...

There's something about open-air shopping in the moonlight on a balmy summer night that really appeals. And when the venue is as pretty as the Santa Market in Santa Cristina d'Aro you'd be crazy not to trot along and try it out. It's being held at the riding stables just outside the village, and they've got a great line-up of music and gastronomy to tempt all the senses after a hard day on the beach.

We pottered along the other night with some good friends who ride at the stables.

Santa Market, Santa Cristina d'Aro, Costa Brava, Catalonia
Santa Market, Santa Cristina d'Aro, Costa Brava, Catalonia

Thursday 24 August 2017

Lazy summer days ...

I LOVE summer. Totally, utterly and absolutely! It's the best time of the year by far.



 We've got into the rhythm of summer living. Emi is having a ball on the high seas, sailing every day in his little Open Bic, which is really a surf board with a sail and a boom. We play lots of tennis at the tennis club. In my case I play Padel, which is a variation on lawn tennis played on a smaller, walled court with a hard racket. I have classes with a lovely coach, who has more patience than the prophet Job. The WonderDog is out and about all the time. In truth he enjoys more walks than he really wants to go on. He's developed a strong preference for snoozing on the cold marble floor under the sofa on especially hot afternoons.


Wednesday 16 August 2017

El Celler de Can Roca

Last week we had a special dinner date, a very special dinner date indeed. All the planets aligned and we were offered a table at the celebrated Celler de Can Roca in Girona. We've been trying to get a reservation there for ages. Normally you have to book 11 months in advance. Yes, that's right. Almost a full year ahead of when you want to go out for dinner. Mr B has been trying each month, on the first day of the month, when they open the bookings for 11 months down the line, to wrangle a table. But here's the thing: they open the booking line at midnight on the allocated date, and within ten minutes all the tables for the entire month on offer are gone.

El Celler de Can Roca

As we knew we were going to be on the Costa Brava for all of August we put our names down for a cancellation - any cancellation. And last week, when our besties, P and A were in town, we lucked out with a table for four.

So what's so special about this Celler de Can Roca? you may well ask.

Well, they've got 3 Michelin Stars for starters, and if you check out the World's 50 Best Restaurants you'll see that they're up there - right up there at the very top. In 2013 Celler de Can Roca was voted the world's Number 1 restaurant, in 2014 it fell to number 2, 2015 saw it return to the number 1 spot, in 2016 it was number 2 and this year, 2017, it's number 3. In anyone's gastronomy it's a very special eatery.


Thursday 10 August 2017

High Summer in Sunny Sant Feliu

We've finally made it home to Sant Feliu. It was an epic adventure getting here via the Panzer Museum in Munster: 3 days in the car, more traffic jams than I've suffered in years on the M6, a couple of audio books and a lot of lively discussion in between times.

Sant Feliu de GuĂ­xols
Our town beach here in sunny Sant Feliu de GuĂ­xols

And it's high summer. The place is full of people. We've got the Porta Ferrada Music Festival in full swing, parking is nigh on impossible and the weather is sunny and bright.

Sant Feliu de GuĂ­xols
Sant Feliu de GuĂ­xols: the port

Emi is beside himself as all his local friends are in town, and he's got a full compliment of amigos down at the pool. In addition he's had some good friends from London staying with us this week.

How do you like his new snorkel mask? He thinks it's the business, especially given how he can hang his go-pro on the front.


He's already had several sessions filming the sand on the sea bed 👀 and the fish darting around in the depths. He's always had a tendency to gild the lily when it's come to recounting all the amazing things he's seen in the water, which is now catching up with him as we review his video footage. It's amazing how elusive those huge lobsters and mean scorpion fish have become since he's started filming ... They used to be two-a-penny, every day sights 😜.


Walking the WonderDog in the cool of the evening has its own special charms. I enjoy being out and about when the heat of the day is spent, and the tourists are drifting off to change for dinner.

Sant Feliu de GuĂ­xols
Sant Feliu de GuĂ­xols in the evening sunshine

All the best for now,

Bonny x


Friday 2 June 2017

Just chilling in sunny Sant Feliu ...

This past couple of days I've been chilling, enjoying the (unusual for me) sensation of having nothing much to do. All my deadlines have passed. All my work is done - for now, and it's been a real treat to head out on my bike, to enjoy the wind in my hair and the open road rising up before me.

Sant Feliu de GuĂ­xols, Costa Brava
Sant Feliu de GuĂ­xols, Costa Brava

Of course I've had the WonderDog strung over my handlebars. There's no leaving him behind. Mr B recently bought me an amazing handbag contraption that allows him to sit on the front of my bike. I was a bit worried about how him freaking out, but he's taken to our new mode of transport with real aplomb. Anything is better than being left behind, and in this hot weather I think he enjoys the sensation of the wind in his fur as we bomb along.


Max the WonderDog

My bike is an ancient bone-shaker, and I'm usually the one bringing up the rear of the cycle party, but that's just fine with the WonderDog who doesn't like going too fast over the bumpy bits. I'm not going to win the yellow jersey if the Tour de France veers south, but I can say, hand on heart, that I really couldn't care less about winning the speed trials. I'm just there for the fun of it.

Bonny Bonafilla, Costa Brava Knitting
Bonny & Max

Young Emi is busy with sailing, windsurfing and tennis, so I've got loads of time to wander around and take random photos of things that catch my eye.  And, as is always the case in this beautiful part of God's good earth, there are lots of things catching my eye - like this amazing cactus flower:

Sant Feliu de GuĂ­xols, Costa Brava
The perfect orange of a cactus flower, Sant Feliu de GuĂ­xols, Costa Brava

I'm not mad about cactuses ... until they flower. And then their flowers never fail to delight.

Or how about this weirdly monochromatic butterfly? He's probably a moth.

Sant Feliu de GuĂ­xols, Costa Brava
Hanging out with the wildlife, Sant Feliu de GuĂ­xols, Costa Brava

Although this chap below is the real deal. There were dozens of these little guys enjoying the wild sedum flowers growing on the sea cliffs as we chuffed past.

Sant Feliu de GuĂ­xols, Costa Brava
Hanging out with the wildlife, Sant Feliu de GuĂ­xols, Costa Brava

And the contorted shapes of the Costa Brava pine trees are always guaranteed to catch my eye. 

Sant Feliu de GuĂ­xols, Costa Brava
Cami de Ronda, Sant Feliu de GuĂ­xols, Costa Brava

And then there's our sensational village beach, where windsurfers and sailors swish past, and old men meet on the benches to gossip and play petanca in the shade of the plane trees.

Sant Feliu de GuĂ­xols, Costa Brava
The village beach, Sant Feliu de GuĂ­xols, Costa Brava

The herring gulls are everywhere, and they never seem to stop chattering to one another. There's a constant barrage of noise from them. We've got a mother and chick team nesting in our garden, who take great exception to anyone trying to use their swimming pool. They dive bomb us every time we venture out, and we are all in terror of their vicious beaks.

Sant Feliu de GuĂ­xols, Costa Brava
Herring gull, Sant Feliu de GuĂ­xols, Costa Brava

Anyway that's it for me for now. Wishing you all a fabulous weekend.

Bonny x


Sunday 8 January 2017

Sant Pere de Rodes ... a flashback to the middle ages

The other day we headed off on a little pilgrimage to the ancient monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes. Once upon a (very long) time (ago) it was a really popular place to go. It was a hot spot, a must-see on the Pilgrim Trail.

According to the legends this is where they took the remains of Saint Peter, the father of the Western Church, after Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410 A.D. Rome had fallen to the heathen hordes and the elders of the church wanted to protect their treasures so there was an exodus of precious things such as the mortal remains of the saints, the Relics and the Holy Grail. They were carried off to far flung Christian lands, where the elders prayed they would be safe.

Sant Pere de Rodes
Sant Pere de Rodes


Wednesday 4 January 2017

Arrival of the Royal Pages ...

Tonight, 4th January, the Royal Pages who precede the Wise Kings for the Feast of Epiphany have arrived in town. They came by sea with drums beating, and torches blazing, as fireworks exploded all along the waterfront. It was spectacular.

Arrival of the Royal pages on the eve of the Cavalcada of the Kings
Fireworks to herald the arrival of the Royal Pages on the Eve of the Cavalcada

Tuesday 3 January 2017

Cami de Ronda Rock Safari ...

It doesn't have quite the same ring to it as going on a bear hunt, but on New Year's Day we headed out on a rock safari around the Cami de Ronda from Platja de Sant Pol to Cala Sa Conca.

Cami de Ronda, S'AgarĂł, Catalonia
Cami de Ronda, S'AgarĂł, Catalonia


Friday 30 December 2016

Hygge ...

I have to 'fess up to never having been to Denmark, and to have a knowledge of that country, its language and its people that has largely come to me as a by-product of my enthusiasm for crime fiction. So far, so good. These days however there is one aspect of Danish culture that I find myself drawn to, and that is this thing called hygge. Everyone seems to be talking about all over social media.

Now I certainly don't pretend to totally understand what it's all about. For one thing the internet tells me that hygge is a concept incapable of direct translation into English, which is a bit daunting. Apparently we simply haven't got any words to express it.

The Danish word, hygge (pronounced “HUE-gah”) is translated by Babylon as cosiness, which is, I suspect, an over-simplification. Other sources elaborate on it being the art of enjoying life's simple pleasures, such as family, friends and warm homes in cold weather. It could, for example, be the pleasure of taking off your unwieldy ski boots, massaging your cold feet and slipping them into the furry embrace of a comfortable pair of Ugg boots. Do you ever feel elated when you finally get those cumbersome ski boots off? Me too! Well, I'm pretty confident that what we're recognising here is a warm, happy moment of hygge.

Whatever the sense of it I'm probably not doing hygge in a way that many Danes would recognise, but out here on the Costa Brava I'm making a valiant attempt to nail it. These sleepy down-days between Christmas and New Year, when the holiday mentality carries on regardless of whether there are bank holidays or not, seems to present the perfect opportunity to achieve moments of hygge.




Thursday 29 December 2016

Mas Molla ... going strong since 1338 ...

At this time of the year we tend to go through rather a lot of vino, with friends and family dropping in, dinners, celebrations and general merry-making. Having had a fairly thirsty Christmas we headed out yesterday afternoon to replenish supplies for the New Year.

Rather than trekking off to Oddbins, we went to the bodega of Mas Molla, where the same family have been making wine  in the same way on the same land since 1338. I kid you not. They cared for their vines in the fields hereabouts as the Hundred Years War raged across Europe. They shivered with fear as the population round about perished from the Black Death, which flared up for the first time in 1348 - just 10 years into their history here.

When they first started out in business it was still (fairly) respectable to believe that the world was flat, and it would be almost 200 years before Nicolas Copernicus suggested (in 1543) that the earth revolved around the sun. Can you imagine that? The Molla family were working here when heliocentrism was regarded as a dangerous heresy. They were doing their thing whilst poor old Galileo was being investigated, and held under house arrest by the Roman Inquisition for having supported the heretical notion that the sun was at the centre of the solar system.

More than a century and a half would have to pass from the time they opened shop here before Christopher Columbus sailed across the pond and discovered America.

I could go on in this vein for some time ... .

Standing there yesterday looking out over the terrain, dotted with rows of (very dead-looking) winter vines it sent a real shiver down my spine to think about just how long this family-chain, down through the generations of the Molla family, has been tied to these same fields. I was more than a little bit blown away by my own roll-call of events that they've lived through ... .

Mas Molla, Calonge (Girona)
The cellars of Mas Molla, Calonge