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Last weekend was a whirl of blogging madness attending the TBEX travel bloggers conference in Costa Brava, Spain. I’ll have a full rundown of what I learnt and why I went very shortly, but for now the most important thing I had to share was the beautiful scenes from Lloret de Mar along the Costa Brava in Spain.
It was my first visit to the beach in 6 months. SIX MONTHS. That is a really long time for an Aussie beach loving water-baby. So I may have gotten a bit excited and taken a lot of photos.
The beach wasn’t super soft sand – more like man-made and grainy, so bring your thongs (flip-flops!) to save your toes. For this little Aussie it was perfect. I was living up to all the Australian cliché’s – my first night in town I sat on the beach eating greasy fish and chips, breathing the salty, slightly cold sea air and relaxing to the sound of waves against the shoreline. There’s no better feeling in the world than that – it’s my absolute happiest place to be, beside the ocean. So I knew I was in for a fantastic weekend from the start.
Lloret de Mar is full of secret coves and private beaches, and I was lucky enough to visit a few. This really is a beach town where you could happily while away a summer.
Beachfront reception – we were spoilt as TBEX attendees
While the beaches satisfied my heart and soul, there were plenty of delicious food and wine options to satisfy my hunger! I learnt how to make the traditional Catalan bread using only garlic, tomato, oil and salt. It sounds so simple but is truly delicious. My mornings began with a small Cafe con leche and the local wines were always on hand at the end of the day. We were truly spoilt by the hospitality of the Lloret de Mar and I was very excited to discover this region of Catalonia, because before this trip, Barcelona was the only city I’d been to.
So simple – bread, tomato, oil and salt – but so delicious!
Bloggers en-masse making their own Catalan bread – with Cava (sparkling wine) close by!
Of course, even in Spain my habit of attracting Austrians and Austrian-style experiences kicked in – I managed to find the Cafe Tyrol right in the city centre!
Apparently Lloret is renown as a ‘party town’ or ‘second Mallorca’ amongst German-speaking tourists. Every Austrian I spoke to prior to the trip raised their eyebrows and said ‘Ooooohhh, you’re going to Lloret, party town huh?’. While I appreciated their enthusiasm for Spanish getaways, the attitude had me concerned that Lloret would be a disappointment. Once I arrived in Lloret de Mar, I could see from the clubs, bars and McDonald’s outlets on the main drag how the city got the ‘party town’ reputation.
Honestly speaking though? If you dismiss Lloret as a party town you’re missing out. Yes, there are loads of apartments and high-rise hotels, and yes, if you want a package-holiday-party-experience you can probably find it here for very cheap. But the fascinating part of the Costa Brava can be found beneath this stock tourist experience. In the local food tours, in the accommodation hidden in coves, in the cultural history of the place. We got to experience a taste throughout the weekend, but the region really deserves at least a two-week holiday to enjoy an in-depth experience.
My weekend wasn’t about partying, or cheap getaways. I was there to appreciate the simple things I’d missed so much – sunshine, the feeling of sand between my toes and the fresh breeze off the ocean.
What more do you need than this?
I didn’t spend enough time in Costa Brava to get to all the different regions I would have liked – but we’re going back to Spain in June so hopefully we can sneak down the lovely coastline, just outside of Barcelona.
Have you travelled to Lloret de Mar? Let me know in the comments if you managed to find more to it than touristy bars and partying. I know most of the TBEX attendees certainly did! But more on that next post….