A week or so later, María Eugenia and Agustín treated the family to a relaxing weekend at Tossa de Mar, a positively incredible beach on the Costa Brava. One of the things that struck me about this beach is that it fulfilled every expectation I had been taught to have about the Mediterranean Sea: perfect weather, palm trees, phenomenal seafood, hidden alcoves with few people, and crystal clear water of the most vivid blue. Things I had not been expecting include: a massive beach DJ extravaganza that we happened upon by chance, large grains of sand that were more like pebbles (that didn’t cling to your feet after going in the water!), and, of course, the enormous medieval fortress next to the beach.
It was a perfect scene. There was this castle-like thing to the right, little white boats bobbed on the surface of the water, and we sat in the sun, enjoying the heat accompanied by the relief of a steady breeze. Nuria, María Eugenia and I mainly stayed on the beach, while Uge, Nacho, Mateo and Agustín drifted between the beach and the water. Benja, on the other hand, walked towards the water the second we got there and I didn’t lay eyes on him again until it was time to go. I think he did a lap.
Later we went for paella, which is one of my love affairs here in Spain. As usual, I had trouble figuring out what to eat and what not to eat (the first time I had paella, I looked the dead lobster right in the eyes and thought, “Welp, I guess this is what they do here . . . .” My mouth was open and my fork raised when Nuria thankfully stopped me). So, Nuria had to take my plate and dissect my food for me. I would have been embarrassed, but since she’s studying medicine I like to think she was just practicing.
We went to the beach for a little bit again, and after that, we went to mass. Mass was in Catalan, so I can confess to not understanding a word with a clear conscience. After mass came the moment we’d all been waiting for: we headed to the fortress, despite being dressed in our church clothes. It was one of the coolest things, climbing this large stone wall at sunset. It was built in the 12th century to ward off pirates, which is fitting, because standing on top of it was what I imagine it must have been like to be on the set of Pirates of the Caribbean. Nacho had brought the nice family camera, so we took a load of photos. We ambled through the 16th century streets and looked for a place to eat.
After dinner, we went to the beach to participate in the festivities. Benja, Nacho, Mateo, Uge, Nuria and I danced to a three-way music mash-up of Spanish, English, and the DJ’s artistic liberties. At one point, Benja and Uge were twirling in a circle together. Benja must have forgotten that he was holding his ice cream cone, because when centrifugal force got the best of it, he was a little less than thrilled. We all thought it was hilarious though.
The next day, we woke up and headed to a different part of the beach: one of those hidden alcoves that few people know about. It was so, so cool. We rented a kayak and just had a blast. To the right is a picture of Uge and me kayaking. I thought we did a great job, but if the accounts of the onlookers on the beach are to be believed, this photo was taken at one of the rare times when Uge and I were synchronized in our rowing. One thing that was really amazing about the kayak experience was that it let us observe the water at a distance further out from shore. From maybe thirty feet from the beach, you could see the bottom. So cool and so, so different from the Atlantic. This was a really unique spot and a totally awesome weekend, and I’m really grateful to have been included in the family outing!