The Catalan: Knight in Shining Armour or (K)nightmare (IV)

The aroma of brewing coffee wafted through the air, tickling my nose and awakening my senses. Peeking above the sheets I remembered were I was. Not in a villa overlooking the Mediterranean sea, but in the stuffy geriatric apartment of the Catalan’s parents. Groan! Was today going to be better than last night? I slowly dragged myself out of bed, digging around for a shirt to throw over my barely appreciated sexy lingerie. Time to wake up and really “smell the coffee:” would the Catalan be able to restore my faith in our holiday aventure?

“Good morning ma petite princesse!” He cheerfully greeted. Well, based on his mood, he didn’t seem to think anything was wrong, maybe his nice breakfast spread might have helped me forget about the total lack of romance of our first sleepover. Over breakfast the Catalan suggested going to Stiges, the most famous of the beaches around Barcelona, that should surely earn him back some of the points he’d lost yesterday.

Our time in Stiges started off very well. From what I’d heard of the town, I’d expected more of a touristy party vibe, however, the Catalan took me to the less visited side of the beach to sunbathe first followed by a tour of the quaint old town. Ambling along the cobbled lanes the romantic glimmer was starting to reappear on my cheeks (or were they just a little pink from the sun?).

Our post beach late afternoon stroll led us to the main board walk lined with cute restaurants. One of those would be perfect for a cozy meal later, yet as we hadn’t had any lunch the Catalan’s stomach was rumbling so he proposed stopping for a snack.

“We can just grab a few tapas for now,” was how he packaged the stop. Flipping through the menu, this turned into a “why don’t we just get a pizza” = this will be our dinner. Ack! So there we were, virtually meters from the charming restaurants along the beach, sitting in a charmless pub style place with blaring TV screens having a nasty pizza (nothing against pizza… when from a real pizzeria!). I tried to hide my disappointment. This still wasn’t our little romantic getaway, maybe I just needed to be a little patient?

I was working during the week as was he, therefore we pledged to see each other Saturday, the date we were supposed to start our romantic getaway in the first place. The week was flying by. On Thursday I got an email from the Catalan. Seeing his message in my inbox I figured it was merely to check the details for Saturday. But no! He was asking me if I was free on Friday instead of Saturday. His reason? His ex-girl friend was in town and he’d previously made plans to see her (which he had already told me he was going to cancel? What?! Firstly, no, I wasn’t free on Friday, I’d actually made plans with a Spanish friend. And secondly, was he really prioritizing his ex-girlfriend over me?? I think I have proven that I am a patient and reasonable person, but my tipping point was nearing.

After informing him that I was not free and reminding him that he’d told me he didn’t even want to see her, he still didn’t bother changing his plans and offered to meet up on Sunday afternoon instead. I was fuming, to the point that I didn’t deign his message with a response. What was happening to my fairytale getaway?? It was vanishing into thin air about as fast as Cindarella’s carriage turning back into a pumpkin. I was very close to telling him the whole thing was off. Nevertheless, I kept my calm, accompanied by an icy edge to my greeting when we met up on Sunday afternoon.

This time we were really going up to his place and were supposed to stay there a few days, once I closed the car door… there was no turning back. Off we sped north on the highway, as the Catalan tried to fumble out a half apology regarding the previous night, realizing that it hadn’t been a good idea… mainly because he hadn’t had a very good time out with the ex and a friend of hers (who’d been flirting with him! Hmmpf! Did he really need to add that? I pretended I didn’t care). Eventually we veered off the highway and followed the seaside. The views of the jagged coast were spectacular, helping my bad feelings to slowly evaporate.

“I wanted to take you somewhere special for dinner,” announced the Catalan. It had better be special! Answered the voice in my head. We were driving through some tackier beach resorts so I was a tad skeptical.

Soon enough, we seemed to arrive at our destination: Tossa de Mar. We parked the car and walked towards the beach promenade. As we turned to the right I had a full view of the bay. Oh my! It was marvellous! The curved bay was flanked by two hills, the higher one crowned with a enchanting medieval castle. Now, this was more like it, muy romantico. My heart was once again swept up in the moment. We strolled along the narrow lane ways eventually finding the perfect place for dinner, a terrace overlooking the castle’s imposing stone walls.

The Catalan’s charm had returned and we had a lovely dinner accompanied by cava sangria, adding to my bubbly mood. Our magical evening continued as we climbed up to the perched castle. At the top we’d reach the nightly heavens with the twinkling town below and the sparkling sky above.

The Catalan lived about twenty minutes away, a little inland from a beach town, not quite the villa of my pre-arrival fantasy, but a nice large two story apartment with a balcony, its view extending towards the mountains in one direction and a little glimpse of the sea in the other. I didn’t know why he was making a big deal about having his place in good order for me to come and stay, it looked completely fine, well, it had possibly been a tornado zone the week before.

The next day the Catalan took me to the pretty city of Girona and to some pittoresque hilltop towns in the area. Despite him needed to take a nap in his car while I wandered the second town, the day had gone swimmingly. “Why don’t we just grab some things at the supermarket and eat at home tonight?” Was his suggestion for the evening. As an avid chef, I didn’t mind eating in, we could have a nice romantic candlelit dinner. Arriving at the supermarket, I reminded the Catalan that I was a vegetarian, I said I had lots of ideas on things we could make, however, he had it in his head to make a sort of zucchini gratin. Fine by me, but were we going to have anything with it, like a salad? I assumed he had something back at home in mind for that too.

Returning to his place, we started preparing the zucchini, I helped with some chopping. He opened the fridge to check for something. “Hmmm, we don’t really have anything as a first course. I do have this left over rice salad though,” he said, opening up some tupperware containers. Left over salad?? We had just gone to the supermarket, couldn’t we have bought some for a starter there?

“It would be a shame to waste it…” he added. “I think there is some fish it it, would you mind? Maybe you could pick around it? Otherwise there is not really much else. I could make you some bread and butter.”

Picking around fish salad or bread and butter??! What sort of options were those? It was really hard for me to control my frustrated unhappiness. I reached for my glass of wine (from the bottle which I had to remember to get at the supermarket, the Catalan having almost forgotten… another thing!). In the end he improved the second offer by subbing the butter for cream cheese.

What had happened to our romantic evening? What about the fairytale getaway?!! In all honesty, the only thing that was making the situation bearable was that the Catalan was pretty good in bed, as a 45 year old should be. I lasted the last day and a half of our time together. He insisted on taking me to the airport, as had picked me up, bookending the trip, yet this time instead of being overjoyed to be with him, I was dying to say adios!

So what happened in the end…? More horribly depressing and funny things, plus he found out I would be back in Barcelona about a month later and I was too chicken to get out of seeing him. I had to leave a party at a castle with lots of cute more potential boys! And the next day made a daring escape …!! But those might have to wait for their turn in a chapter in my book, otherwise now the Catalan will last more than his already greedy four blogs… And besides, we are near the end of 2012, should I turn over a new page? There had to be better options awaiting me in the new year … or maybe even already “brewing” …

Watch out for the next blog and my Top 12 Textos of 2012! There’s a great one from the Catalan post our trip!


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