Christmas in the sun at Sitges
For a couple of years now my wife and I and two of our three adult offspring (hardly ‘children’), with a friend of one of them, have sought refuge from the forced jollification of the English Christmas (those paper hats and crackers, being pressured to hug strangers) and its ferocious costs (special ‘Christmas menus’ from mid-November onwards at £30 a head or more for luke-warm turkey swamped in glutinous gravy) by assembling somewhere pleasant and European-continental: recently Lille, and the much underrated Ouistreham. This time we went to Sitges, just down the coast from Barcelona in Spain, not because it happens to be one of the chief gay centres of Europe but because it’s a delightful place, especially perhaps in winter when its long luxurious beaches are empty, there are few Barcelona day-trippers thronging its shops and restaurants and museums, and yet most of its numerous restaurants and cafés are open – and serving mainly delicious Spanish food, especially of course sea-food, at remarkably modest prices. And no paper hats.
While the snow was delivering a white Christmas in many parts of Britain, thanks presumably to global ‘warming’, we were sitting outside pleasant sea-front restaurants in Sitges eating prawns and paella and wearing short-sleeved open-necked shirts (or the female equivalent) with hats to protect our heads from the hot sun. And it’s only half an hour’s train trip to the glories and eccentricities of Barcelona.
I haven’t yet got around to putting any of my Sitges photographs on my website, but that doesn’t matter because my daughter’s vastly superior pictures of Sitges from an earlier visit are already available on the Web at http://www.btinternet.com/~vbarder/sitges/ (and she has kindly agreed to my advertising it here). If you don’t yet know Sitges, try it – but not, please, at Christmas-time. We want to have it to ourselves again then, in case we decide to go back this year.
 Postscript: my Sitges pictures are now here: have a look!
6 January 2005