March 22, 2012 - Posted by Erin in Spain, Travel, Travels in Europe, Travels in Spain

After surviving the twists and turns departing Cadaqués, we arrived in Besalú – the next stop on our tour of Catalonia. Without knowing much about my new destination, I could tell it was already trying to lure me in with its arched bridge and the promise of another villa. Could my emotions handle being toyed with yet again? After all, I am a one-pueblo kind of girl.

Upon arrival, the get-to-know-you session was in full swing. Rather than rest, my new pal Marie-Eve and I meandered down the town alleyways with the river as our destination. Stepping out of the confines of the old city wall, the multi-arched bridge revealed itself with the wide riverbed at its feet. A trail of rectangular stepping-stones carefully laid across half the water like the start of an unfinished board game, and I was ready to play.

With the city behind me, and the bridge just ahead, I danced across the stones by myself, water slipping through the cracks and passing all around me. My first fling with the village was exhilarating, but would it last?

After a homemade paella at our villa (said with an ultra-posh accent), we convened in front of the Museum of Miniatures – a destination that, by all accounts, I’d scoff at with a giggle had I traveled to Besalú alone (you know, because these days I hang out at villas and all 😉 ).

miniature ant on a high wire

But what at first seemed like just a series of shoebox-sized dioramas with dolls, turned into laughter and gasping as we stared through magnifying glasses at unexpectedly bizarre images – an umbrella-wielding ant tip-toeing across a high wire, a choo-choo train chugging inside the eye of a needle, an Eiffel Tower smaller than a microscopic insect. Sounds silly, but it was probably the unexpected highlight of the day.

chair in besalu

Besalú still had more quirk up its medieval sleeves, though. Following the museum, we approached a building with peep-hole windows emanating a warm glow, and a peculiar multi-legged chair affixed up high to its side . This was the art gallery and workshop of Kel Domènech – the eccentric furniture creator and self-proclaimed sculptor, cabinet-maker, historian, collector, antique dealer, designer and philosopher (unlike myself – the eater, wanderer, drinker, day-dreamer, generally confused foreigner, and expert on all things chocolate. That’s my official title, actually).

I should mention that there is a bit of a “chair” movement in Besalú. Yeah, a chair movement – or at least that’s what I’m calling it. Allow me to elaborate. Basically, the idea is that in such a beautiful place, one needs time to sit and reflect, thus all these symbolic chairs throughout the city. Between the chairs, Dalí and the Museum of Miniatures, it clear that artistic eccentricity runs in the Catalonian blood.

chair in besalu

Exhausted from the roller coaster of emotions (Girona, Cadaqués, and now Besalú!), we finished our day back at the villa for wine tasting and tortilla, before falling asleep to the sound of the church bells. Sigh, I was in love. But while this was our last pueblo, it wouldn’t be our last villa. The next day, we would head to the countryside for a calçotada – a feast involving onion-like veggies, lots of fire, and wine, of course. Warning: I advise you read my next Catalonia post on a full stomach.

Disclosure: I traveled through Catalonia as a guest of Charming Villas Catalonia. Rest assured that I’m keeping it real – all opinions are entirely my own.

[travelist location=”Besalu, Spain” type=”img” url=”http://www.latortugaviajera.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Besalu-bridge.jpg”]

February 21, 2012 - Posted by Erin in Spain, Travel, Travels in Europe, Travels in Spain

Someone pinch me, I think I’m in a dream. Actually, I hope I’m in a dream – after the mass quantities of food and wine I’ve been consuming, I’m kind of hoping this isn’t real. I’ve spent the last four days hopping from pueblo to pueblo and fancy villa to fancier villa (courtesy of Charming Villas Catolonia), all while wine tasting and eating myself to oblivion. It’s obnoxious, really.

Since I’m up to my ears in catching up, I thought I’d give you just a taste of my trip via a few photos I took with my iPhone. Which picture is your favorite?

Girona river
Girona
Girona villa
View from our villa in Girona
Besalú, Catalunya
Besalú
Cap de Creus, Cadequés view
View from Cap de Creus in Cadaqués
Cadaqués shoreline
Cadaqués
Cadaqués sunrise
Cadaqués sunrise in front of Salvador Dalí’s house


Disclosure: I traveled through Catalonia as a guest of Charming Villas Catalonia. Rest assured that I’m keeping it real – all opinions are entirely my own.