29: Lloret de Mar

It’s 06:23 on a cool Thursday morning and the sun remains deep in its slumber on the coast of Spain as the crescent moon and North Star shine bright behind the cloudy haze. The sunrise time, along with the language, are just a handful of things that remain an enticing mystery about this country. A mystery I’d love to further explore. Since capturing a special part of my heart, I am more than certain that Lloret de Mar and Barcelona will sit high, if not the highest on my list of favorite places.

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My roommate, Maya, went to Poland to visit her family for a month, leaving me to fend one partner in crime down in Chicago. So after learning she’d be traveling through Europe for two weeks of her stay, inviting myself was nearly expected. Once discovering I was off work while they were staying in Lloret de Mar, which is 75km north of Barcelona, whether or not I was coming wasn’t an option.

The night before, I packed a back pack, wrote out (shitty) instructions on how I would make it from the airport to their beach town, an hour and ten minutes north without data, I hopped on a plane and woke up in Spain. I sat next to a local who was gracious enough to reassure me that my scribbled instructions were not terrible at all but completely accurate and once I chased down the correct bus, I was en route to Lloret via the highway that runs through the farmlands along the sea. Strikingly stunning were just a handful of syllables that I could use to describe the drive when in all actuality, it was just really fucking gorgeous.

I got off the bus, hailed a taxi, and next thing I knew I was approaching our hotel just as Maya was walking out to wait for me. Timing, was impeccable. I took (snuck) my bags up to the room, met Karolina, Maya’s cousin/travel buddy, and learned that underneath the two twin sized beds was yet another twin sized pop up bed.

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Thus the infinity bed was born; perfection. Though I was jet lagged, lounging in the hotel on a warm and sunny day seemed almost impossible. Within the hour we were beach bound with drinks in hand as we roamed down the steep sidewalks passed all the pastel, color blocked apartments that I wish I’d lived in. I heard stories of their trip thus far as we saw several restaurants, beach front hotels, and crappy drivers.

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What I liked about the beach was that it didn’t consist of sand but instead tiny bead like rocks that may have hurt a little more than sand, however proved to be much easier to wipe off. The entire first half day we napped, read, people watched as topless mothers chased their toddlers, and swallowed an entire pizza.

Lesson 67: Cover ups and bathing suits are optional on the beaches in Lloret de Mar.

After a few hours that could’ve easily lasted weeks, we decided to walk part of the trail leading up to the castle like house that sat on the ledge of the sea. We passed several groups whose languages ranged from Russian, to Italian, to English, and it was no surprise that this was a vacation town.

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Once seeing over the ledge that brave souls walked down the side of the cliff and climbed over the several smaller rocks to lay on the larger rock and sunbathe off the coast, we decided that the day after tomorrow, we would follow suite. We too would venture across the rocks for the stellar experience of sunbathing in the middle (by middle I mean 100 feet off the coast) of the sea.

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Once roaming what we thought would be a short adventure that turned into a mini hike, we went back to the hotel where we were forced to separate for dinner. My name was not on the room to get a free meals which served as a benefit as it gave me time to check out some of the local restaurants. I managed to get a panini from a beach front sandwich bar that not only served pizza but also beer. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a fan of beer.

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An hour passed and I’d wasted enough time being busy by trolling around the town, so I went back to the hotel to get ready to go to a nightclub called Hollywood Disco. Leave it to the Americans to go to a bar named after a U.S. city. The bar had stairs that lead a floor below street level, there were three separate small bars, a burlesque show and about thirty percent of the crowd were freshly 18, if even. Three hours, a surprising amount of American music, and a free tank top later we were beat, particularly me, as I prepared to venture into Barcelona alone the next morning for a day extravaganza.

As I could tell you about Barcelona and how amazing it is, considering it is a different city, I will save it for my next post. So let’s fast forward shall we?

It was finally the day after tomorrow as we put on our cover ups, packed books, inner tubes, towels, and things to do because today was the day. It was the day we were adventuring into the middle (by middle I mean 100 feet off the coast) of the sea to lay on the rocks that looked oh so secludedly peaceful. This proved to be rather difficult.

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For starters the rocks, considering waves crash into them constantly, were slippery and I’m not particularly gracious. Therefore, one by one we climbed over the rocks and got to a safe enough place for the two following to throw the back packs, books, and inner tubes to the person ahead. After about twenty minutes, swimming to capture our stray inner tubes, and each of us scraped and bleeding, we made it. We’d reached our way to a safe, sun-kissed rock just off the coast of the sea where the only people that could see us wouldn’t be able to make out our faces.

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Laying just off the coast was incredibly quiet and peaceful. The sea sparkled like diamonds, the waves splashed to cool us off and for those few hours, the world could’ve stood still and I wouldn’t have noticed.

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After several hours in bliss, another mini hike, and accidentally seeing a naked man due to the optional clothes rule, it was time to leave paradise. We strolled to stores, roamed the city and prepared for a relaxing evening as I packed for my return back to the states.

So as I drive into Barcelona for the last day, chasing the night as the sunset creeps on the horizon of the sea like a split canvas I rest easy knowing I will be back in the very near future. From the big cities to the the small towns, the intimate alleyways, the lovely souls, the green open land and the cool, clear blue sea are just a fraction of what makes this country so inviting. A city this perfect won’t keep me away for long.

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