Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sitges and Vilanova i la Geltrú (Spain)

Sitges is a charming seaside town not far out of Barcelona. In fact, if you ask Barcelonins what beach you should frequent, the mere mention of Barceloneta, the city beach, will reap you shaking heads and snorts in disgust. Go to Sitges, they'll say. And so we did.

A scant 45 minutes on the train takes you to this little gem of a town. Meandering streets with the occasional touch of Catalan modernisme architecture take you downhill from the station to the beach. A wide and immaculate promenade takes you past gorgeous sea-facing villas and sailing clubs along the smooth, golden sand beach. Restaurants serve up paella and fideua (a very Catalan dish similar to paella but made with short noodles) to the hungry hordes, but there are plenty of low-key spots along the boardwalk, catering to sandy bodies and selling bocadillos (like a sub sandwich) and grilled combination plates.

The stretch between Sitges and the neighboring town of Vilanova i la Geltrú has a lovely trail offering stunning views of the turquoise Mediterranean and rocky outcroppings. On a sunny day, you can see from the top of a cliff to the sea bed. While you'll get the occasional topless beach-goers in Sitges, as you go further away, the tiny coves along the trail become populated with more nudes. Sitges is very popular with the gay community so don't be surprised if you come upon well-muscled and oiled bodies trysting. Pepper interrupted some sunbathers in a tranquil inlet by bounding up and down through the waves and stopping for a poo 20 feet from their blankets! Mortified, we cleaned up after her and got out of there as quickly as possible.