It takes an hour by bus to get to the hotel from the airport. As we pull into Costa Brava it’s dark, almost 11pm, but the beach is lit up for late night swims, and one thing becomes abundantly clear. Nothing. But. Hotels.
I’ve never been to an area with so many hotels before! It’s like Vegas, except instead of Casinos, it’s hotels. Or Beverly Hills, except instead of expensive shops, it’s hotels. Or Yellowstone Park, except instead of trees, it’s hotels, and instead of geysers it’s hotels, and instead of bears raiding picnic baskets, it’s hotels.
The point I’m trying to make is there are a lot of hotels here.
The Calella Palace is supposed to be 200m from the beach, but it’s hard to tell at night if that’s true. We check in get our key card and all-inclusive photo ID card, but it’s too late to really take advantage of anything so we go straight to our room. It’s about 11pm now.
The TV is small.
Hey, we’re talking first impressions here. You walk into a hotel room what do you scope out first? The view from the window? The bathroom? The bed? I check the TV. To me a decent sized TV is a sign of quality. This TV has maybe a 12 inch screen, and you have to pay a deposit to get a hold of the remote control.
Ah screw it, I don’t want to start things off being critical. Maybe things will look up tomorrow.
I wake up this morning with my eye threatening to squeeze itself until it popped out of my skull and dangled by the retina like a limp paddle ball. Aspirin first thing in the morning. Great. Fortunately it mostly goes uphill from there. We chill out for a while, not in a rush to do anything, enjoy the balcony for a bit, grab some breakfast. It’s buffet and quite frankly that’s the worst threat to this trip. I’m not exactly renowned for my willpower, but I’ve managed to take off over thirty pounds in the last six months. An all-inclusive-buffet might undo that in just six days.
But, oddly enough, I found that the habits formed in my “exercise and eat-right” regime have paid off, and I don’t find myself gorging at all. I leave the breakfast table without being stuffed to the gills. Go figure. Apparently we can also order a picnic lunch for the next day just by ordering it before 7pm, so that will be great for when we decide to go to Barcelona or just to spend the day by the beach. There is free internet access in the lobby, which is both a good and bad thing for someone like me. But I don’t think I’ll be a slave to the net during my stay here.
Gill and I went to have a look at the beach, but took a long route through the markets and churches, taking in the architecture and the usual tacky-tourist crap a place like this is bound to have. It seemed like every store had Calella sunglasses, hats, beach towels and fridge magnets for sale. The beach itself was something out of a postcard, pretty much perfect in all respects. There was one topless woman there, but unfortunately she was at least sixty-five and wrinkled like an old apple. The Mediterranean is very cool, but not too cold. I waded up to my waist, but didn’t dive in this time. Gillian waded in with my help, but unfortunately fell in. I say unfortunately because she wasn’t wearing swim clothes. But it was hilarious, so it’s all good.
Unfortunately this is where the bad news comes in. I forgot I had my phone in my side pocket at this time, and as of this moment it is still non-functional. It survived a trip in the washing machine before, mind you, but salt water might be more damaging. The other bit of bad news is we lost Gillian’s watch, given to her by her grandfather on her 21st birthday. She took it off when she went into the sea, in case she fell in, which she did, and put it in my side bag, but when we looked in there later it was gone. It’s possible it was stolen, but if so, why not my phone or laptop which were in the same pouch? We think it’s more likely it somehow fell out, wasn’t put in properly and got lost in the sand (I went back and scowered the sand for ages, but with no luck, though I did find a British pound coin). I feel really bad about no being able to find it.
Stuff to do at the hotel.
Aside from having breakfast, lunch and dinner taken care of, they also provide snacks inbetween if you want (no I don’t but thanks for asking). They will provide you a picnic lunch the day before if you ask for it. Heck, you can arrange to have lunch at any of their other hotels along the coast if you want, which could be convenient, but I don’t know what is in those areas worth visiting. The hotel has several pools, one indoor pool (heated), a sauna, a jacuzzi, a gym, and a bowling alley (yay!). Take a wild guess where I’ll spend most of my time in the evenings, assuming we’re not somewhere else (hint, it involves ball and pins and it’s not getting your testicles pierced).
Actually, the bowling alley is actually quite pathetic, it’s more miniature than the miniatured alleys back in London, and you have to pay 2€. So screw that. Ah, who am I kidding. I’m going to try it anyway at some point. The gym is equally disappointing, it’s funny to see the simple analog exercise bikes retrofitted to add a digital readout… none of which worked. I was going to work out a bit, but felt a tad self-conscious given the four other guys there, younger, fitter, better looking, clearly knowing each other, and not afraid to take their shirts off.
There is a bus to Barcelona from here, but the train is cheaper and it’s only a short scenic walk. We will definitely be taking a picnic lunch with us there. There are probably other day trips available to other places, but I’ll have to ask and find out what they are. For now Barcelona is the goal.