In a spirit of adventure, G and Grimble drove not very far South to Alcossebre. Why? They’d heard that there was a small English enclave and wanted to see what that entailed.
There was a short road journey. They saw olive tress, a ruined castle, more olive trees and roadside ladies dressed in their bikinis sat under parasols on dirt tracks off the highway. What a sad and dangerous, horrible lifestyle thought Grimble and G as they tried to avert their eyes but couldn’t help but be drawn to the mish mash of a smoking peroxide blonde, heavily made-up, in limited attire and and clearly sweaty in heat and by that she meant the heat of the sun. Often these ladies were languishing and reading a book. Grimble mused on the incompatibility of waiting for some seedy client with the passivity of a book: escapism perhaps?
They arrived at Alcossebre which had free parking: a bonus! However, their immediate reaction was not one of love. It was all rather dusty and looked a little forlorn. The promenade was attractive but the beach was small and completely rammed. As they looked down at the mass of sun sweaty humanity and a myriad of parasols, they couldn’t see a small two bum space for them and knew that this would not be a beach day. However, Alcossebre didn’t seem to have a great deal to see, other than the nearby Sierra de Irta national park.
G and Grimble discussed a trip to the wilderness. However, it became evident from the signs everywhere, loads of police and lots of bikes, that they were not the only ones with this idea. In fact, and inadvertently, they had arrived on the same day as the Tour d’Espana. It was due to hurtle into town and up some giant hill in the Sierra de Irta within a few hours: taking seconds but causing a town blockage for hours. This gave G and Grimble an even bigger excuse to quit Alcossobre as soon as another coffee would allow. Grimble was not a fan of men in tight lycra, even sporty ones. In fact, she was still trying to unsee the two men on Calella beach a week earlier who had sported lycra neon thongs. She had yet to totally purge her mind of the nasty neon and another Lycra sighting might cause a relapse which she was loathe to allow.
This supposed English enclave was definitely well secreted. Then, on their way out, G and Grimble spotted evidence as to their possible existence. Tucked on a narrow street was a charity shop. Only the English love transforming any high street into a charity shop haven. The name of the charity was as elusive as the English who used it but it was there, along with an English notice board offering the usual: odd jobs, computer repair, man with a van and translation. G and Grimble would not be joining them.
They left Alcossebre with a feeling of great indifference. They’d never fully understand why it didn’t attract them. They passed by empty roadside parasols and decided not to look too closely, convincing themselves that the roadside ladies had opted for an early siesta and were not occupied in some olive bush or perhaps in the library to select another novel.
As they were earlier than anticipated, G uttered the fatal words: Mercadona and Grimble was reinvigorated at the prospect of a supermarket sweep. She claimed her list of items needed was in her head. She scoured the aisles for wine, fuet and olive oil shower gel. Clearly, a real list would have saved time and ensured a more methodical approach to these purchases, but Grimble was happy. G liked to see Grimble content. However, he was warding off starvation and a menu del dia seemed to be not in the immediate schedule, so he placed crab sticks from the chiller into Grimble’s haphazard cart. Like a bird of prey, she spotted the luminous pink things and inquired as to why they were there. The starving G explained his enforced fast. Grimble retorted that she hated being rushed but the arrival of an alien in the basket did seem to motivate a swift conclusion.
However, time had mysteriously vanished and, by the time they returned to the hotel, the owner simply laughed when they requested food. G had to survive on crab sticks and coffee until supper.
Their next adventure was to the neighbouring resort of Beniclaro because they liked the name. As they set off, Grimble suddenly threw a curve ball detour by stating weekly market, Vinaros was on and overrode Sat Nav lady in her desperation to view, and possibly, purchase tat. From the outskirts, Vinaros did not appear that encouraging, although Grimble did observe and note the direction of Carrefour, just in case.
However, once free parked and munching on scrummy churros dipped in divine chocolate at the perfectly named Bar Moustache as Grimble had just given herself a chocolate one in this sunny square, the place began to attract them. Whist it was supposed to be a short stop before Benny Carlos, as they had renamed it, G booked in for a tattoo six hours later, forcing them to explore Vinaros. Vinaros was just their sort of place: lively, awesome beach front and very local. They never found the street market but it did not matter. They did find the town, Mercado and Grimble was delighted just looking at produce including the live razor clams poking their slimy worm like shapes out of long shells and live lobsters clicking their claws like castanets. She bought several garlic bulbs and G tentatively suggested that these could be bought in U.K. Grimble furrowed her brow and patiently explained that Asda garlic was not the same and whilst Waitrose might be close, they could fly to Spain cheaper than buying it there. She understood and emphasised with Spanish people living in U.K. who wanted to carry a three foot serrano leg on a Ryan Air flight but was mystified as to why the English abroad yearned for roasts and a full English.
Happily, they explored, the streets, the port and the cafes. Vinaros felt right. Even after the tattoo, they stayed a little longer drinking more coffee at yet another cafe and people watching. It was funny how somewhere they’d never considered visiting suddenly became the most interesting and engaging
Their trip to Benny Carlos wasn’t to be and they even postponed Carrefour. Vinaros had so enticed them, that G and Grimble had missed their siesta in favour of wandering. That’s when the love is real. No siesta, no Carrefour. They’d discuss the significance of this later.