Day 46: France, Vias – Spain, L’Estartit

RouteVias France – L’Estartit, Spain (Costa Brava)
Route Details
Overnight stopCamping Les Medes
Overnight Costs€20 ACSI
(super pitch, 4G+ mobile signal, Wifi €2/day)
Diesel / litre €1.229 (Galp)
Exchange rate 1.16

It’s time to leave and besides, there’s a break in the weather for a few hours, so we can travel fairly safely on the roads. No repeating what we drove in passed Genoa last Tuesday. We want to weather out the storm (har har har) in a campsite and take advantage of WIFI and laundry services as we can’t use our own mini washer in Kaya – nowhere to dry the clothes. We’re starting to run low. Commando Nicholas is visiting, Gill!!!

The storm isn’t set to end until Wednesday and there are orange and red weather warnings for a 2nd Gota Fria to hit the Med coast. A Gota Fria is basically a massive storm system that dumps tonnes of water out of the sky – like a cloud burst…… but one on steroids. Our weather app, Ventusky, is showing this event as stretching from the northern coast of France and down passed Murcia in Spain so for us, there’s no amount of travel that will get us through or passed it. So weather it, we must.

Forecast for overnight Monday 21 October.
We’re the little orange dot above Barcelona.

We’ve decided that a 2 hour drive down to L’Estartit just east of Girona on the Costa Brava (northern Spain) will suit us just fine for a couple of reasons:

a) we’ve been before so we know the area and there’s little chance of being swept into the sea or engulfed by a river…..unless we get sent a tsunami in which case, our ticket’s stamped – we’re pretty philosophical about that

b) we know that the Supermercat is excellent, has great, fresh produce, cheap, fabulous wine and 5L bottles of Chivas Regal & Jameson at a snip…..yeah baby!

c) There’s a fantastic shop right next door to the supermercat that sells a plethora of fresh seafood & fish – both of these are within cycling distance when the weather clears a bit

d) There are some fantastic restaurants in the village – also once the weather clears

e) There is an indoor pool and sauna to keep us amused if we fancy a change

f) The campsite has very lekker showers – no push button here and loads of steaming hot water (I should really just stop here!!)

g) With the weather, it gives me time to get the blog up to date and do the finances which are at the moment in a sorry state

h) I don’t think any further reasons are required

We’ve also decided that it’s time to get off the toll roads for 2 reasosn

a) the cost

b) demonstrations by the Catalan people have spread from Barcelona to the border crossings on the toll road and we want to avoid these

We had heard on the Facebook jungle drums that the toll road border crossing (not used but still all the border buildings remain) has been the site of peaceful demonstrations that effectively blocked the border on Saturday and Sunday and nobody couldn’t get through. The police managed to clear them (the protesters) for a time to allow some traffic though.

Anyhoo, wanting to avoid these we dropped off the toll road at Perpignan. At the border crossing we saw one lady protestor on her own but she was targetting Spanish vehicles, so we passed by slowly without incident.

Our first stop is for Kaya who at this stage is gasping for some fuel. Our last fill was at €1.59 per litre (I nearly had a heart attack when we filled) but because of the weather system in Genoa on Tuesday we had to stay on the toll road and top up a little there knowing that we just had to have enough to get into Spain. A little different at a station just on the border at €1.229 per litre ….. and that’s expensive in Spain!!!

We continued to drive southward with the clouds beginning to gather and looking a bit more ominous each kilometre we drove. We made it into L’Estartit just as it started to spit giving us time to pop into the Supermercat for a quick shop.

Fruit, meat, cheap wine, cheap Jameson (not the 5L bottle!!) and a cheeky couple of pictures later (taken under the beady eye of the disapproving lady on the till!!! Pah, tourista!!!) and we were off.

1 hour later and we were finally settled into our pitch ready to hunker down with a warming bowl (or 2!!) of Gamopilafo for supper.

Very briefly, back to Pourriers (the lovely vineyard stop) and where we bought some fabulous lamb chops, we had also bought 4 lovely thick slices of lamb neck. One of our favourite suppers is Gamopilafo or Creten “Rice of the Wedding” that we had learnt about on our visit to Crete in 2017 at the Chestnut Festival. It was made with goat when we had it there but is interchangeaable with lamb or mutton and even chicken. We had eaten platefuls of it till we couldn’t eat any more …. then promptly ate some more!!! It is an amazingly simple dish but just so gorgeous. This goes back to our theory that the simplest food is, quite simply, the best flavoured food and the absolute best to eat. Something to do with tasting the actual ingredients instead of relying on all the other additions and ingredients to make it taste good.

Again , this is an ancient recipe that is reserved for special occasions (weddings, normally, hence the name) and for the want of a better description is like eating a savoury rice pudding with a luxurious, mellow, creamy and soothing, savoury mouth-feel – think paella or risotto with long grain rice.

If you try the recipe, I promise you won’t be disappointed. If you are, I’ll refund your supper costs!!!! Applications in triplicate to

I love that in Spanish, cockroaches are actually called cucurachas!!!

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