August 8, 2015
We’re still on our way to Barcelona, planning to get there in a few days. We were able to get a great deal on one month of moorage right in the center of the old harbor – which is the focal point of the city. During the time we’re there we’ll make a short side-trip to Germany to begin the process of getting European residency for me – without which I’d only be able to stay in the EU for three months out of every six.
We were finally able to find a wonderful, protected anchorage – Bahia des Alfacs – and spent four days swimming in warm water, sleeping a lot, reading, and centering the day around our row over to the nearby seafood restaurant on pilings – accessible only by boat. Dramatic rocky mountains on one side, with low sandbars on the other, between us and the sea. What a treat, and welcome after all the travelling, and the busy marinas.
I’m continuing to read Hugh Thomas’s comprehensive book on the Spanish Civil War, which is a good thing in that it refreshes and expands my knowledge of that exhilarating and terrible time, but the downside is that it tends to make me look at current sights through that lens. We’re in Tarragona now, which was a stalwart Republican city, but was also torn by vicious Stalinist murders directed against the city’s large anarchist/syndicalist movement. Nice place, though, and we had the most wonderful mussels last night in a small restaurant in the old fishermen’s quarter.
One surprising thing to us is how much Catalan is a living language throughout this part of Spain. It seems like a sort of combination of Spanish and French, but is a long-lived language with its own rules – and very much in use today. A less interesting surprise is that prices in Catalonia are markedly higher than elsewhere in Spain – perhaps because of the very long history of prosperity in the region.
Oh, and the terrors of Med-mooring have turned out to be much worse in the anticipation than in practice. We were thinking that we’d have to drop anchor while approaching the dock, then back in while adjusting tension on the anchor chain… But in fact, there are laid mooring lines at every slip. So we drive in towards the dock, bow-first, tie off to the dock on either side of the bow, pick up the lines (led to the dock) that go back anchors behind the boat, walk them back to the stern and tie them off with sufficient tension to keep the boat from rubbing against the dock. And, as has been said before, Bob’s your uncle!
And we were also worried about what kind of gangplank we’d have to rig to get from the boat to the dock. But, lucky us, we have a bowsprit! It hangs over the dock, so we just walk out on the bowsprit and step down onto the dock. And Nellie’s your aunt!