Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Adventures of Julie & Michelle - Take 4, St. Pol de Mar

The day after Josh's parents left, Michelle and I decided to take the kids on an adventure outside the city.  We hopped on a train and at the advice of my friend/sitter, Alefiya, we took them to a beach town about one hour north of the city - St. Pol de Mar.

The train ride for the most part was typical of any other train ride I've taken here.  The commuter rail line runs both north and south right along the water - it's beautiful!  However, running north there is more beach along the railway than there is when you are heading south.  One of the things we quickly noticed was that once you got outside the city, the clothing on people got less and less!!  Hmmm... is it possible that only the city beaches have a rule about complete nudity?  There is only one nude beach to my knowledge in the city and we stumbled upon it accidentally a few days before we went to St. Pol.  But along the train ride, it seemed that every beach had some nakedness - a bit more than I really wanted the kids to see, but thankfully they didn't seem to notice.  And more thankfully, the beach we ended up on, while topless, no one was completely naked!

Aside from the nakedness, the trip up to St. Pol was beautiful!  We commented about how it couldn't possible get more beautiful with each stop the train made but it did.  We finally arrived in St. Pol around lunchtime.  We walked around for a few minutes taking in the sights before settling on a place to go for lunch.  It was a cute pizzaria overlooking the beach.  The beach had hardly anyone on it which was so much more our style than the ones within the city. 

Views of St. Pol de Mar

The beach we went to - it's practically empty!

Aidan enjoyed "beaching" himself like a whale!

Aidan has come a long way with his swimming in the last few weeks!

Aidan getting thrown in the Mediterranean!

Liam was a little iffy about the waves...

My rock collector

Liam going in the water...this didn't last long

The boys with Auntie Michelle

Burying Michelle in the sand!

The kids had an absolutely amazing time as did Michelle and I.  It was nice to be on a beach in Spain where we didn't have to constantly watch our things for fear of them being stolen.  A peaceful beach where the kids could play.  And the waves were perfect for Aidan!  Even Liam went in the water!

The day was fantastic and on track to be one of our best beach days since we've been in Spain...that is, til the trip home.  Apparently something happened to the train track and they stopped running the train at our stop.  So there were tons of people gathered outside the station just waiting.  The guy in charge of the St. Pol station arranged for everyone to be bussed to the next stop (we didn't know it was the next stop at the time - we thought it was all the way back to BCN).  Up the HUGE hill we climbed to the bus stop - about 100 of us. 

We gathered on the side of the road which was more like a semi-highway.  Things were good for a while.  We just waited.  About an hour goes by and we've seen busses stop at the other side of the street but none have come in our direction.  The people start to get antsy.  And so they started to act out.  How so you wonder?  Well, they started standing in the middle of the street, forcing cars to slow down, if not come to a stop.  People were practically hijacking cars for rides to the next station.  There was definitely panic in the air which was reminicient of the big snowstorm we had in March.  This time I found it more humorous - you would think these people were never ever going to get home!!

It was HOT out - Michelle was smart to use our beach umbrella for some shade!  The little boy in white to her right kept taking his penis out and playing with it - the mom didn't seem to think this was abnormal to do in public.... ahhhh Spain!

While waiting for the bus these guys saw me taking pics of the crowd and had to pose.  Too bad I couldn't communicate with them!

The most interesting thing I found about the blocking of the street was the fact that the people were blocking our side of the street which caused traffic to back up which in the end, only delayed the busses from getting ot us. Not so smart.
The crowd starts to block the street from traffic... they were super smart...

Stopping traffic - notice people getting into the minivan.  Total chaos!

Finally a bus arrived and you could let the stampede begin!  A police officer actually showed up because the bus was now blocking traffic.  She had people removed from the bus (let's keep in mind this is all because the train wasn't running for one stop) because they were standing.  There were some even hiding so they wouldn't have to get off (and were caught).  We didn't even bother attempting to get this bus.  We knew that others were coming and yes, about 5 mins later another bus showed up and there were all of 6 people on it - a good decision made by all!

The bus took us to the next stop where we waited amongst hundreds for the next train.  We surprisingly made it on to the nicely air-conditioned train.  It was a long hr standing but it got us home - by just before 8PM (we left around 4:30ish from St. Pol).  As a reward, we hit Hard Rock for a good American meal!!  All in all it was most definitely an adventure but what a great day nonetheless!!


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