Spain: Part 3

Rafael (Rafa) and Rosa arrived early the next day to drive us to another part of Catalonia, the Costa Brava, the Mediterranean coast between Barcelona and France.  We had happily been “adopted” by them in, I can only assume, true Catalonian fashion, meaning that we were treated to all sorts of undeserved generosity of time and spirit.  We took full advantage of this delightful companionship. Here you see us at a wharf side restaurant trying to learn about the menu fare which was mostly fish, of course.  Now I’d never met a cuttlefish before (English translation) but they’re like miniature squid, served whole, and totally delicious.  They are also apparently the source of sepia ink, which is my favorite color!  I was also trying to figure out the different ways to order coffee in Spain.  Oh, and did I tell you?  They actually speak two languages in this region, confounding those of us who are so happy that at least we know a bit of Spanish.  You are likely to have your Spanish question answered in Catalonian, a distinctly different sounding language!

This is the view between the railings of the deck of Rafa and Rosa’s apartment in Empuriabrava.  They took pity on us and let us take a nap before more sightseeing.  The town of Empuriabrava is built on canals like Venice which go down to the sea and is bordered on both sides with beautiful marshes populated by diverse bird life.

We drove on windy roads over a mountain to the picturesque town of Cadaques on a protected Mediterranean inlet where we roamed around, went to a craft fair/market by the sea, and finally ate dinner at a restaurant called Can Rafa (ironically) with Rafa and Rosa and now another friend of theirs, Virginia.  While Shambhavi tried to sketch a plate of fish on a nearby table, I asked Rafa to pose for me and sketched this with a dark wash pencil and finger dipped in water.

Next:  a day of rest and pink storks



  1. Hola Guapissima!
    What a pleasure again to read and to see!
    I don’t know personally people from Catalonia, but I am not keen on the way they act publicly, as “a nation”. I really don’t like the fact that they speak their special language all the time, as if they wanted nobody from outside to understand them. I don;t know if it is still the case, but some years ago, when I drove down from Germany to the Costa Blanca and drove through Barcelona, all the sign posts on the high way were suddenly in catalan, not even in both languages. also in the radio you could not find one sender speaking normal Spanish. And also I really don;t like the way they act in the senate when they are trying to forbid bullfight. I don;t mean the fact of trying, but it is the way they do it, answering there in catalan to people from other regions who don;t understand one word of catalan.
    I can’t help to find their separatist attitude unhealthy… above all when you realise that so may countries here in Europe make so many efforts to become one!
    Some thing for the Basques people by the way…

    Great portrait of Rafa, he really looks like a Spanish man! I am glad you has such lovely people to guide you…


    1. Hi Miki! I kept thinking of you and Kev while I was in Spain. I’m sure your part of Spain is somewhat different than Catalonia. I must say I never ran into a separatist attitude, but there was a cultural pride, which seemed quite understandable to me. And I guess I never really thought I was going to understand too much of the languages while I was there. . .French for instance. I never got around to learning travelers French, but did quite well with holding out a palm full of money when I had to pay!


      1. Believe me, they are separatist.. pride of the own country is one thing which I understand very well and love, but it is not only that. Well, I guess the reality one sees when one visits a country as a tourist and above all when one is guided by lovely people like in your case, is certainly different as the reality of a resident…
        But this separatism stuff is a very painful theme to me, I prefer not to go deeper into it… 🙂


  2. Sounds like fun all the way! – but I have to agree with Miki about the general Catalan mentality, I actually equate it with the Welsh – there is an insistence on a separatist mentality (at the least the Welsh signposts are generally dual language!) If you eat the source of your sepia ink, could you call that ‘biting the hand that feeds’? 🙂


    1. I was hoping that they’d de-inked the sepia before I ate it! I had one plate of paella while I was in Barcelona that was reddish brown in color and tasted yucky – later I realized it probably had squid ink in it! ANd squid ink apparently is more reddish.


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