12 September 2009

Driving Miss Crazy: through France and Spain

Our annual holiday is taking our little blue car, stuffed to the rafters, over the channel & down through France touring via logis hotels or UNESCO sites, and then into the Costa Brava to Tossa de Mar.

Now Tossa de Mar is stunning, romantic & still very much a holiday destination, all at once.

If the weather isn't good enough, we drive further, but this year had temperatures over 30, so we walk into the local estate agency, Finques Navarro that only speaks Spanish, and as usual, rent an apartment for a couple of weeks or more, this occasion was rental property 377.

get down on your bad self!

the only cd I'd packed in the car was Bill Withers, the best of ..............................
Luckily, I knew 3 songs to sing along to, but Tony finally cracked and refused to let me play it any more after my 20th rendition of "lovely daaaaaaay, lovely day lovely day lovely day"

& seemingly I was murdering "ain't no sunshine" at the "I know I know I know I know know know" bit.

So in Aigues Mortes

at the Cistercian festival within the city walls, I bought a refresher cd to break the music impasse.
Choral chants by a tattooed leather-clad chap, who sings like a girl called Luc Arbogast - here he is on youtube:

He was at the bar in the beer tent when I approached him to buy some sounds...............

Alas nay!
I wasn't allowed to play that one in the car either, for some reason.
So on we drive without music, from Aigues Mortes, to Tossa de Mar

painting in Spain

So, the deal is, I set up my easel wherever I lay my hat, with medium and canvas & paint

This was on the beach looking out to a rock formation, protected by a spirited tree growth which sort of reminded me of the beach umbrellas around me as I worked

Day One, is just getting the canvas covered, but with no detail or strength of colour.
Leave it to dry in the sun

Day Two, where it is almost finished now. I'll have to work on the sea in the studio, but nothing more....

click on the image to see detailed brush strokes if you wish

I cut it off the stretchers with a stanley knife in order to get it onto that back parcel shelf of the car, but it's got home intact thank goodness, just needs a couple of touch-ups

Spanish food

not that great this year, in spite of it being my preferred cuisine.
Since I make quite a meal of cooking at home, we choose to keep it popular and simple on holiday. No elaborate restaurants or fancy frills eating.

But this year has floppy calamares a la romana, flabby overstuffed pizzas. Nothing special fish.
Here's a selection but it did lack something

The good dishes:

almejas al vapor, my favourite:

sobrasada pizza

buñuelos de bacalao

ensalada rusa

the logis de france food in Orleans:

duck leg confit

offal terrine - in there somewhere

veal paté

drinks in Spain

we managed to find a no-alcohol beer that didn't smell of vomit.

You can't even tell you're not getting tanked up on it, marvellous stuff when you need to pull in the reins a little

Estrella Damm, Free.

Tony keeps asking how to pronounce Estrella - just stay Australia - but it doesn't sink in.

Not like when he asked me what the Spanish for smelly finger was - show him/her the smelly finger. Unfortunately, dedo apestoso - that sunk in first time.
We did get looks each time he said it and laughed, how he laughed .... ha ha ha!

& cuarenta y tres = 43 with a coffee

memory lane for me. I love the stuff.
If you ask for a tia maria, the likelihood in Spain is you may be served 43: the local equivalent that is sherry, brandy & coffee flavoured liqueur rolled into one.

Holiday pictures

Tony getting vaporised in "the garden of atmosphere", it was supposed to cool you down, but was rather uncomfortable really

Me - haven't I got wobbly fingers! I really should delete this picture

Tony is supposed to be doing the V sign on his head, but he's not very good at it

and back home on the le Havre to Portsmouth ferry


Luca said...

Love the picture Gill and great photographs too - Tony needs to work on the V sign but glad to see his knife and fork at the ready! A man with an appetite is so essential!

The good food looks lovely - sorry you had some bad experiences though. Tut tut Spain!!!

Good alcohol free beer is a delight and you can have two with no guilt!!! Have to be ice cold though.

Gill the Painter said...

A man with an appetite is a thing of beauty isn't it, Luca.

& luckily we weren't really on a foodie mission this time. Our expectations weren't too high - a bit like walking through the door of a Cafe Rouge.

Odette said...

Hi Mz Crazy, just had a good read of this post and you had me in stitches (smelly finger indeed!)over your hols tales. As for the CD - Tom's usually the repeat-play single CD person chez nous and at one point he repeatedly played a Best Of Phil Collins until I could stand it no longer and hid it where it could not be found where it's stayed to this day. Swap you your Bill Withers for our Phil Collins! On the other hand .... Food may have not been best of the best but certainly looks tasty in your pics. Love the painting and hope you've re-mounted it to show it off to the world!

Gloria said...

Hi there GillthePainter, I came across your blog quite by chance and happily, you've given me my second smile of the day. I have onlu just recently started blogging and so it was nice to find someone from my home country who had recently been in Spain. Some two years ago we upended our lives in London to live in a small town in Andalucia and so you can imagine my delight upon reading your post. Delightful! I'm going to follow you now and take some time later to catch up on some of your earlier posts.

We also done the driving ferry thing from London, ferry to France and onwards, overland thru France to Spain . . I feel a post coming on!!!!!

Please pop over to see my blog when you have some time. . . hopefully you'll find something there you'll like!!

Gloria said...

. . and by the by . . love your pix of Golden Syrup, so very English . . and got so carried away with finding you that I'm ashamed to say I quite forgot to say, 'Great artwork!' Sorry!

Gill the Painter said...

Hello Odette.
I was in love with Phil Collins when I was in my hormonal (or is that harmonal?) teens.

& I promise to get my painting into proper order this week.
It deserves more attention from me now I'm back.

Gill the Painter said...

Welcome Gloria.
Andalucia. My favourite part of Spain.

I see you are in a lovely remote part of the countryside.
Wonder if el Corte Ingles does internet delivery where you live, eh?

I'll be reading your blog later today ......... thank you for commenting here, it makes it all worth the effort really when people like you stop by and share.

Lush said...

Hey Grilly - nice to have you back!

Looks like you had a good time judging by that tan of yours!

Foodwise - we were very disappointed when we were in Le Franc last - think they're soley catering for the ol' tourist now.

Why no pots from Pals in that stash of yours...? It is a MUST with a car - you could have got one big enough to throw all your goodies in, including the chair :-))!

Gill the Painter said...

Hi there Lushpot-pot-pot

Great to see you.
But no can do on big things in the car.
It's a dinky toy: http://www.carsforsaleireland.ie/cl-imgs/b366c232150eca33d9aa53602dbac851.jpg

& funny you say that about Le Franc. It really didn't inspire at all.
Which is a shame considering the prices they're begging.

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