Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sant Pere Pescador

Some days turn out better than you expect and today was one of those days. We woke up to silence, no wind. Even though it was a bit cool outside we decided to go for a walk on the beach at San Pere Pescador but this time go to a different part.

A few wrong turns in Castello d'Empuries and we were travelling the labyrinth of little narrow streets. It was lunch time and we had already passed several closed supermarkets but as luck would have it we spotted a restaurant up a side street. It was time to stop. The restaurant, "Portal de la Gallarda," Portal of the Brave was in a very old building, part of it a ruin. Inside the owners had preserved all the stone brick and arches as well as putting plate glass over the portals that would have been the outside walls. From here you could look across the local allotments to the Pyrenees in the distance. From the courtyard outside you looked down on the portal or gate, complete with a bridge crossing a moat.

Time for lunch. We had a glass of the local house red accompanied by some "tomato pulpo," small bits of toast, tomato and some garlic. You rub the garlic on the toast or bread, then mush the tomato in to it. It is quite delicious and goes very well with wine. I had a rabbit leg and Seamus a local sausage, both grilled and served with grilled asparagus. For dessert we shared some almond cake, which was lovely and moist and not too sweet. This was accompanied, as part of the dessert, by a shot of sweet wine. Instead of a glass to share we each got a glass, which wasn't quite what we expected but very nice.

Dali's photo was up on the wall and apparently he had been a regular, along with with Fages de Climent, a local poet, who Dali had been friendly with since he was a child. They collaborated on an "auca" or storybook with a series of pictures and rhyming couplets, "The Triumph and the couplet of Gala and Dali." This was our table mat at lunch and I asked if I could take one with me to translate what it says. So far I'm afraid I haven't made too much sense of it.

At the next table there was a very old lady, the mother of the owner, and another of her sons, who himself was quite old. The whole time we were there she opened a small pile of business mail and scrutinised every single word on the page. The odd time she would pass a letter or statement to her son, who would get worked up about whatever it was. I think I would be right in saying that she held the purse strings for the business. When I saw her it reminded me of an old Italian friend of ours who always tells the story of how his rich grandmother always counted her money and knew exactly what she had down to the last penny. Unfortunately, for him she would never buy her grandson an ice cream, something that rankles to this day and he's eighty.

I digress. We were very close to the main square of the town. After passing some arches still standing from the the customs house built in the 1200s and which later served as the poor house, we were outside the Church of Santa Maria d'Empuries. It has a very impressive facade with statues of the twelve disciples. The church, built between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, is the size of a cathedral but never received that status. There were four very elderly ladies vigorously cleaning the stone floor while we were visiting and after our short walk around the church we passed them again. This time they looked like a postcard, sitting outside the church enjoying the sunshine.

Finally, we went for our walk on the beach at San Pere de Pescador only this time the sand was quite soft and it was much harder walking on the dunes and the beautiful expanse of beach. We came to the river.....but it was just a little too deep to cross. By this time it was lovely and warm, thirteen degrees celsius as we returned to the car along the top of the dunes. I wonder if you could wrap up, take a chair and a book and sit for a while or is it still too cold for that? What a lovely unexpected day but now it's night and once again the wind has picked up.

1 comment:

Salvador said...

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at http://www.salvadorbrand.com/Salvador-Brand/the-lithograph.html