Sunday, September 16, 2012


(does not include Barcelona)

La Alianca – 3 Calle Jacint Verdaguer; 011-34-972-420-156;

La Pleta Hotel & Spa – Centra Baqueira a Beret (3.5 hour drive from Barcelona, in Aran Valley); 011-34-973-645-550;; ski-lodge style near 5th Century Romanesque church hamlet; wraparound deck.

Sights & Sites
Marimurtra Botanical Garden – 9 Passeig de Carles Faust (Girona); 011-34-972-330-826;; 4 hectare at top of very steep hill, above port at north end of Blanes beach; views are breathtaking; among oldest botanical gardens in Europe, established in early 20th Century by German botanist; contains plants from all over world, divided into 3 main sections (tropical, temperate & Mediterranean).

Hotel Rocamar – Dr. Bartomeus; 011-34-978-258-150;; don’t be thrown off by 3 star rating; excellent choice.

Can Jubany – Carretera de Sant Hilari, km. 15; 011-34-938-891-023;; outside walled garden; raises own ingredients.

Sights & Sites
Xavier Corbero House – 57 Montserrat; 011-34-93-371-7137;; Gaudi-like structure; can try to get appointment but this is not open to public.

Sights & Sights
Cap de Creus Natural Park – 10 miles east of Roses;; 190 square kms extraordinary landscape value; wind-beaten dry, rocky region, with almost no trees, in contrast with seaside rich in minuscule creeks of deep blue sea; mountains are Pyrenees’ eastern foothills (natural border between France and Spain); region frequently swept by awful north wind tramontana (beyond mountains), which has caused many naval disasters; Sant Pere de Rodes stands out at 500 m altitude, with Cap and Pyrenees views; 11th Century monastery dating from about 750; great diving at Punta d’Els Farallons (grouper, octopus and spiny lobster).
Dali Theatre-Museum – 5 Gala Salvador-Dali; 011-34-97-267-7500;; make sure to look at Lincoln picture through camera – amazing.

GIRONA (Albons, Madremanya, Mont-ras, Palafrugell & Torrent)
Hotel Albons – Crta La Bisbal a Figueres Km. 18 (Albons); 011-34-972-788-658;; 29 rooms and 3 suites, as well as large garden and swimming pool.
Hotel Ciutat de Girona – 2 Calle Nord; 011-34-972-483-038;
La Placa – 17 Calle Sant Esteve (Madremanya); 011-34-972-490-487;; located in village, behind sunflower field; widely renowned for restaurant; building made of light brown stone dating back to Romans; integrates so well with village’s architecture that can’t tell where hotel starts or ends; apartments are well-decorated, each containing chimney, small lights, and candles; high quality furniture as well as very well equipped kitchen and terrace; rooms are just as attractive and comfortable; surrounding village is charming.
Mas de Torrent – Afores de Torrent (Torrent); 011-34-972-303-292;; converted 18th Century farmhouse; stunningly smart luxury hotel to rival any in Spain; expansive rooms in main farmhouse masterfully decorated in classic style, all different yet all furnished with well-chosen antiques and rugs; ceiling beams, hardwood floors, and arched doorways lend traditional flavor alongside modern luxuries like spacious black stone bathrooms with deep soaking tubs; outside farmhouse are bungalows, less rich with palpable history yet easily as luxurious, and amid gardens, are suites with private terraces and pools; restaurant is among best in Catalonia, serving seasonal seafood and produce in informal setting.

– 2 Calle Nord (in Hotel Ciutat de Girona); 011-34-972-483-038;
Restaurante Celler de Can Roca
– 40 Carretera Taiala (mile and half outside old town); 011-34-972-222-157;; Catalan; 2 Michelin stars.
Draps Petit Restaurant – 8 Calle Cort Reial; 011-34-972-080-430; lobster ravioli.

Sights & Sites
Banys Arabs (in Barri Vell) – 4-5 Del Sac; Arab baths.
Barri Vell – old town.
El Poblado – Mont-ras (village center); basically, garden tour; once through village art, garden walk begins; take Camino del Castillo.
Girona Cathedral – Plaza de la Catedral; medieval.
Museum of Jewish History – 8 Calle Forca; Girona has 1 of 3 medieval mikvah in Europe.
La Rambla – cobblestone street with cafes and shops.

Hotel El Far – Platja de Llafranc s/n; 011-34-972-301-639 or 011-34-972-302-000;; on former lighthouse site; beautiful, 360° views; excellent restaurant.

OLOT (Banyoles, Canya, Sanlucar La Mayor & Torrico)
El Bulli Hotel Hacienda Benazuza – Calle Virgen de las Nieves (Sanlucar La Mayor, outside Seville); 011-34-955-703-344;; sprawling, white-washed country estate dating back to 11th Century; 44 rooms.
Ca l’Arpa – 5 Passeig Industria (Banyoles); 011-34-972-572-353;; owned by former Michelin-starred chef and wife; 8 rooms.
Les Cols Pavellones – Mas les Cols, Cebtra de la Canya (Canya); 011-34-972-269-209;; 5 rooms in 13th Century farmhouse (mas); otherworldly experience; after checking in, escorted to “transparent glass-and-black-steel pavilion”; rooms are pure crystal cubes: aside from minibar and closet with sheepskin slippers, no beds, no furniture, no phone, no television, just lounging mat; glass floors offer view of illuminated bare earth below; only sound is trickling of soaking tub, heated to constant 89.2°; 1 Michelin star restaurant next door (Les Cols); when you go to dinner, lounging mat made into bed for night.
Valdepalacios Hotel Gourmand – Carretera de Oropesa a Puente del Arzobispo (Torrico); 011-34-925-457-534;; on 1.5K acre private estate; 27 rooms in 19th Century house surrounded by forests full of deer and other game.

La Alqueria – Calle Virgen de las Nieves (Sanlucar La Mayor, outside Seville, at El Bulli Hotel Hacienda Benazuza); 011-34-955-703-344;; 2 Michelin stars.
Ca l’Arpa – 5 Passeig Industria (Banyoles); 011-34-972-572-353;; owned by former Michelin-starred chef and wife.
Les Cols – Mas les Cols, Centra de la Canya (Canya); 011-34-972-269-209; adjacent to Les Cols Pavellones; 1 Michelin star.

Sights & Sites
Garrotxa National Park – 2 hours north of Barcelona.

Si Us Plau – 58 Rhode; 011-34-972-254-264;; beachfront café.

Can Fabes – 6 Sant Joan; 011-34-938-672-851;; at least until recently, 3 Michelin stars.

Sant Pau – 10 Carrer Nou; 011-34-937-600-662;; 3 Michelin stars; owns Moments (in Barcelona), which has 1 star.

Bars & Nightclubs
Sentits – 25 Placa de la Font (Old City); 011-34-977-222-626; great tapas; indoor and outdoor tables.

AC Tarragona – 8 Avinguda de Roma; 011-34-977-247-105;; in city’s new part and 15-minute walk from old city.
Hotel Lauria – 20 Rambla Nova; 011-34-977-236-712;; venerable; couple blocks from old city; ask for renovated “executive” room; swimming pool.

L’Ancora – 25 Carrer de Trafalgar Serrallo); 011-34-977-242-806; great seafood served on tables that spill out into shaded portion street closest to docks.
L’Ancora – 2 Passeig Maritim Sant Joan de Deu; 011-34-977-694-777;
Barquet – 16 Gasometre; 011-34-977-240-023;; famous for its romesco sauce; near Mercat Central, and Roman Forum-Theater.
Degusta – 6 Cavallers; 011-34-977-252-428;; somewhat formal restaurant with most inventive food in Tarragona.
Sentits – 25 Placa de la Font (Old City); 011-34-977-222-626; great tapas; indoor and outdoor tables.

Sights & Sites
Aqueducte de les Ferrers (Pont del Diable) – CN-240 de Valls a Lleida (4 kms north of Tarragona);; large aqueduct that once supplied (still supplies?) Tarragona with water from Francoli River; water goes from Rourell area, about 92 ms above sea level, and travels 10 km through aqueduct; 217 ms l, 2 ms w, and 27 ms h; upper tier has 25 arches; lower tier has 11; built in 1st Century CE, using stone without mortar.

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