Leaving Barcelona was not preferable. We could have stayed there until we ran out of money or died (I'm guessing the money would go first). What a wonderful city. But the next part of our trip was directly ahead of us, and calling. We checked out of the hotel, grabbed a cab, loaded up our bags, and went off to the Hertz office to pick up a rental car.
Our destination was France. Collioure, to be precise. We drove up the coast of Spain for as long as it made sense (a very leisurely drive this is), and then got on the highway, which led us to Figueres for lunch. Figueres is probably best known for the Salvador Dalí Museum. It's a tiny little town, just south of the French/Spanish border. Some research lead us to Meson Asador Castell 4, which seemed like a fine place for a meal.
They had a good crowd going, many of whom appeared to be locals, eating tapas and sipping wine at the bar. We grabbed a table and tried to decipher the menu. It certainly wasn't in English. But we were getting pretty good at the menu thing by this point.
I figured it might be one of our last chances to get a proper paella. But before the paella, there was chorizo and croquettes to be had. The croquettes included cheese, crab, and some sort of fish, if memory serves. We ordered an inexpensive rosé sparkler, vinos aguja, which I'm pretty sure is local to Catalunya. Bright, acidic, young, and just a bottle of fun. My kind of wine. It cut through the fatty chorizo and paired well with the fried croquettes. We could have made a meal out of just that.
The paella turned out to be much larger than we had thought. It, of course, looked nothing like the crap you too often get in the states. The seafood and meat alone were enough for two. Quite frankly, the rice itself was so good and so flavorful that it alone could have been a meal for two. Little bits of meat and seafood throughout the entire dish. Fuck me that's good stuff. We rolled out of Meson Asador Castell 4.
It would have been nice to have spent some time in Figueres, but I had to figure out how to get the car out of the garage, and the things in the picture below were only three very-hard-to-navigate tolls away. The tolls. My God, those effing tolls. Someone should warn Americans about those tolls. I thought I'd never get through them.
Meson Asador Castell 4 : Pujada del Castell, 4, 17600 : Figueres, Spain