I’m just back from a long weekend in Sitges, feeling every so slightly broken. This is purely due to sleep deprivation – a series of very late nights with friends, combined with early mornings to get down to the beach.
Stereotypes abound when it comes to Europe, but one holds true when it comes to sun loungers: there is a certain kind of person who gets up at the crack of dawn to ‘claim’ space and or chairs with their towel. Only reappearing many hours later.
We saw quite a bit of that in Sitges this weekend, something I’d never noticed before. I think it was the combination of high tourist season and high tide on Balmins beach. More people and less space on which to sit or lie.
So this meant we had to get up at stupid o’clock each morning – no matter how late we crawled into bed the previous evening – in order to secure a lounger. On which we could sleep to get over the night before.
I mean, just how many naturists can there be in one town for the best clothing-optional beach to be so busy?
The weather was stupendous, meaning I was loathe to do anything but lie in the sun and gently baste myself from time to time. In fact on Saturday, the most exercise I got was putting my trunks back on to make a trip to the bar to get in some beers for the guys. (Shorts are mandatory at the beach-side bar!). That required a little dexterity and about a one minute walk.
Then back to the basting.
Unfortunately, while dashing through a pharmacy in Barcelona’s Sants Station after work on Friday morning, I picked up the wrong sun cream and ended up with a vile oil from Piz Buin.
This crap stained clothes, towels…basically anything it came into contact with. And left me feeling like I’d just waded through an oil slick. Every time I put it on, I felt like one of those Turkish oil wrestlers, prepping to get down and dirty with an opponent.
That never happened, but I did spend an inordinate amount of time washing the oil off every evening and then putting it all back on the following morning. I may have permanently ruined two pairs of my favourite shorts in the process. When I really should have trotted off to Carrefour around the corner and bought something more suitable.
My innate laziness triumphed, I’m afraid.
That said, I got an excellent top-up to my tan (the boys and girls at Piz Buin know what they’re doing after all!) and enjoyed plenty of time in the sea. It was – and I say this without hyperbole – like getting into a warm bath. I’ve never known the sea to be so warm. It was a delight.
The only fly in the ointment during the whole visit was our night out in L’Avinyet, my favourite Sitges restaurant. I’d recommended it to the friends we were out with, so all six of trooped up there for dinner on the Sunday evening.
Unfortunately, it’s under new management, has a new chef and a new menu. This combined to leave us with lousy service, a menu where most things weren’t available (seriously, what kind of place priding itself on tapas doesn’t have tortilla?) and vastly, vastly inflated prices.
For example, 16 euro for six pieces of quite obviously tinned asparagus? Nope. Though someone at our table did order them and we were all justifiably disappointed.
We had to chase almost every element of the meal and while we laughed a lot and had a fun evening, this was most definitely in spite of the restaurant, not because of it.
So I’ll have to rescind my recommendation for L’Avinyet. And the fact that it was basically deserted indicated that we’re not the only people who aren’t impressed.
So that was probably my last trip to Sitges for the year. “Finally!” I hear you say. I don’t know why, but I’ve fallen in love with the place. It has the perfect combination of beaches, sunshine, bars and a fun atmosphere. I always leave with a big grin on my face.
My next trip is next week, to Dublin – which is going to be purely for work. The week after kicks off with our trip to Japan – which seems to have come around so quickly. Probably because I was only there last month. Anyway, there’s plenty more travel in the pipeline!