Puerto Olympica

No chance of losing any weight on the short trip between Sitges and Barcelona. We set off around nine thirty and arrived well before Spanish lunchtime. This time the wind waited until we arrived and were trying to dock before it rose from a negligible force two to an aggravating force four. When we set off the wind was too slight to make putting the sails up worthwhile, though John was frustrated to spot that a yacht making a passage close to shore had enough wind to sail. When we came to go round the busy shipping lanes into the port I felt glad we had stayed well out. The first part of our course had taken us closer in and we had to keep a sharp look out for lobster pots.

At one point a rather romantic looking tower appeared in the early mist, then we rounded a headland and a chemical plant hove into view. The tower was revealed as one of a pair of silos housed on a headland away from the main plant, so probably holding nasty stuff. As we passed the structure merged into one industrial whole. As we progressed we watched a constant stream of aircraft lifted off from the Barcelona and eventually passed under the flight path at which point there were enough boats plying in and out to keep us on our toes. John had booked into Puerto Olympica, a marina built for the fabulous Olympic Games of 1992, the era when John was travelling here. Emma and Katie both had T-shirts he brought back sporting the little Olympic logo. In those days there was no Lara to buy one for, though she inevitably ended up wearing them both of them as she progressed up in size. The instructions on entering the marina were to tie up to the fuel pontoon, so this time there was a marinera on hand to help us. He was one of the very laid back ones, which always leave me wondering whether they are superbly competent or just not too concerned about crunching your boat. This one coped very well with my rope throwing, which seemed to have gone all to pot. He helped us get onto the quay. Pushed us off when we came to head to our berth and was round at it waiting for us by the time we had reversed over there, which was an impressive bit shifting on his part. The berth itself was rather a tight one, but John managed it well, albeit with a bit of muttering to himself and we are very snug in between a tall motor launch and a lower orange sailing boat.

After adjusting our fenders and lines we headed to the string of bars and restaurants along the marina side. An attractive young woman with a menu tempted the Captain outside the first place asking if he would like to try something different, (it was a French restaurant). But the force for beer was strong in him and he passed on. We did lunch out at a Galician restaurant further along that was doing a roaring trade, reasoning that this would be our main meal. We could eat tea on board at a reasonable time and be up early enough to see the sights. For lunch we shared bread and a platter of mixed fried things, squid, sardines and padron peppers, which was down as a starter. It must be designed for sharing by at least four people, after we had finished neither of us could manage desert, so ordered our usual café solos. After them our waiter brought out complimentary squares of almond cake with shots of dark liqueur he called Galician Coca-Cola. And it was the rose liqueur we had sampled all those months ago in San Vicente. It brought back happy memories of the lady there with her tame seagull, Growler.

That evening we decided to explore along the seafront promenade. We climbed up the sea wall and John took a photo of the statue of a diving youth, put there for the 1992 Games, then made our way out of the marina. The main road into town was thronged with people and taxis. We headed out along the prom amongst a swarm of joggers, cyclists and pedestrians, weaving in and out of each other at speed. To the landward side was the Hospital del Mar, which John suggested had been built there to cope with the impact injuries. There were no dog walkers out willing to risk their pets in the melee. John suggested we could wreak havoc with our red shopping trolley. On our way back to the boat we stopped off at an Italian restaurant where the waiter said we could just have drinks. The bars were packed with drinkers settling down to watch the Champions League semi final. Inside the restaurant was an impressive wood fired pizza oven and we watched the chef slice up a small pizza and sprinkle it with rocket. Then our waiter came out and it was for us. “Complimentary, to accompany the drinks.” Very yummy it was too, oozing cheese and with touches of ash on the crust. No need to cook on board after all.


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