Today we drove to Barcelona and turned in our rental car. After breakfast, but before we left the Parador of Aiguablava, Duke and I recorded his car review video. Aiguablava was so nice that we all agreed we would be very happy to go there again.
Getting to Barcelona was relatively easy but finding the car return place was a bit of a challenge because it had been moved since we were last in Barcelona. We had to drive around Sants train station a couple of times but eventually we completed the challenge.
We took a taxi to our hotel and then went for a walk along Las Ramblas and through the Gothic Quarter.
For dinner we went to Loura restaurant. We had a fabulous meal at Loura last time we were in Barcelona and our meal tonight was equally as good.
The place we stayed at in Collioure is one of my favorite places we have stayed on the trip. Hotel La Casa Pairal is right across the street from the harbor so after breakfast we went for a lovely walk along the water out past the castle.
We drove the slower scenic route from Collioure, our last stop in France to Roses in Spain, where we are now.
When we arrived at our hotel in Roses we had a picnic lunch. We still had a bottle of wine that we bought about a week ago. Roger quoted the proverb “Wine before beer never fear, beer before wine is fine.” Duke said “That’s from the Bible!” I about died laughing. In any case we drank the wine with lunch.
About 6:30 we drove into Roses and walked along the waterfront. It was very windy. Although the temp was in the high fifties it felt cold.
The restaurant we wanted to go to, Rom, opened at 7:45. We had a fabulous dinner
Today we traveled north and a bit west from the Parador of Cardona to the Parador of Arties in the Pyrenees mountains. Since we arrived at Cardona late Thursday night and had very little to eat on Thursday we were at breakfast in our Parador when it opened.
After breakfast we explored the castle. It was a highly strategic site during the War of Spanish Succession. The nearby salt mines made the Dukes who owned this area incredibly wealthy.
Our reservation and the deal we had reserved included dinner last night. Since the restaurant was closed when we harried we had lunch today instead.
After lunch we got on the road and drove through the mountains to the ski resort of Arties. It was a drive of about 3 hours. Along the way we stopped for groceries.
Once we arrived at the Arties Parador we had our welcome drinks played cards and had a picnic dinner.
Driving into a city like Madrid to return a rental car is always a bit stressful. The rental car we have been driving for the last week or so is from a new company, OK Rental Cars. When we picked up the car they couldn’t really tell us where to return the car in Madrid. First we drove by their office near the Atocha train station. We saw nowhere to return the car there. Then we went to the place near the train station where we have returned every other car we have returned to Madrid, but OK Rental Car was nowhere to be seen. Then drove back to the office and Duke pulled into a handicapped space while I ran in to ask where to return the car. They gave me a paper with the address of a parking garage a few blocks away. We managed to find the garage, go down three levels in the garage and finally deliver the car. All of this was done through heavy Madrid traffic!! We survived!
We walked to our hotel and left our bags since the rooms wouldn’t be ready for a while. Then we found a lab that was doing Covid test and walked there. Roger and Gayle got there preflight Covid tests. We found a cafe to have beers and toast the fact that we had successfully completed all today’s must do tasks.
We decided to check out the Museum of Money but it wasn’t until we had walked another mile or so to get there and had been told that they were closed that we realized that today is Monday and most museums are closed on Mondays!
We stopped to rest and have coffee and then headed to the hotel because it was after two and the rooms should be ready.
On the way back to the hotel we walked through Retiro Park. Today was the first really nice day we have had for a long time and the park was peaceful and beautiful.
When we got back to the hotel, and got to our rooms, we had walked almost seven miles and we were ready for a rest. We played some cards and then about eight went out to find tapas for dinner. We started out with roasted peppers.
The next place we stopped was just perfect. It had a friendly Madrid tapas feel and our waitress was very friendly and helpful. We had the fried shark and it was fantastic.
Roger and Gail fly home to tomorrow. We have had a wonderful couple of weeks with them.