Sunday, 29 April 2007

Come on a weekend, Sant Jordi

In Catalonia you can be forgiven in case you forget to buy a rose for your loved one on Valentine’s Day, as long as you do not do so on April 23 – the day of Sant Jordi. We are a lot of foreigners who agree that this is the most beautiful of the Catalan festas.

The legend of Sant Jordi (Saint George in English, Sankt Göran in Swedish and Svatý Jiří in Czech) exists throughout the Christian world. In the Catalan version, the fight between the dragon and the brave rider took place at Mont Blanc, in the province of Tarragona. Together with la nostra Senyora de Montserrat, Sant Jordi is the patron saint of Catalonia and his name day is celebrated with an eclectic mix of roses, books and Catalan flags.

Before this year, my family and I has already had the opportunity to celebrate this day twice. People always recommend us to go into Barcelona to get the full flavour of it, but with two small children, we have preferred to make do with the Vilanova version. On this day, our local Rambla is packed with professional dealers as well as non-governmental organisations and school classes selling books as well as roses.

The tradition that men give the women they love roses apparently dates all the way back to the 15th century. The other part of the gift exchange, that women give the men they love a book is a much more recent concept. It started in commemoration of a number of great authors who have happened to have had their births or deaths coinciding on this day. The latter has subsequently been picked up by UNESCO, which has made this the World Book and Copyright Day.

To express the passion local people feel for their patron saint, the whole town is decorated with Catalan flags - four bright red stripes on a yellow background. You will find them swaying from balconies and the fair stalls or in stylish decorations in shop windows. Together with spring temperatures and the number of people the celebration attracts, this makes it sparkle with colours. The only part which tend to shine a bit too strongly for my taste, are the t-shirts and pins of the unnumbered small leftwing parties who allegedly come out in defence of the Catalan culture on this day. Nowadays, when public life and media in Catalonia is already dominated by Catalan, I can not help feeling that their true message is a quite unnecessary protest against the Spanish language.

This year April 23 was on a Monday, and since Sant Jordi is not a public holiday, both my wife and I had to go to work. While I was waking up, I wondered when I would be able to fit in a visit to a flower store. As soon as jumped into my car I realized that there was no need for such worries. There were people selling roses in almost every single roundabout I passed through in our town.

I can not say that our evening was overly romantic, but let us blame that on the fact that we are not Catalan, after all. However, we did at least honour the minimum level of the tradition so I received a book from my wife and in return I presented her with a rose. Luckily enough for me, the one I gave her was nicer than the one she had received from her company. Our oldest son brought home a rose of paper and plastics which he had made by himself in school and also a children’s book which a local book store had sponsored as a give-away. To sum up, we all scored well on gifts, but still this was nothing compared to celebrating a relaxed Sant Jordi during a weekend.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Restaurants in Vilanova: Cafetet 9 – outdoors on the Rambla

The first impression you get from the Rambla Principal of Vilanova is that it is full of bars and cafes with terraces along the shopping street. Interestingly enough, few of them serve proper meals. Cafetet 9 (Rambla Principal 83) is the most notable exception.

When I grew up in Halmstad, Sweden, in the 70-ties, the streets of our town centre were reserved for traffic. The authorities considered that eating was an activity to be carried out indoors, partly for hygiene reasons, partly not to encourage the consumption of alcohol in public. For Swedes back then, the concept of eating in an outdoor terrace was tightly linked to travelling abroad, not the least to the Mediterranean countries.

Nowadays, the centre of Halmstad has been turned into a nice pedestrian area crowded with outdoor restaurants, which tend to be very busy during our short summer. Still being Swedes, although we live here now, my family and I like to go for an outdoor lunch at places where we can sit and observe people passing by. Here in Catalonia we can do this in Barcelona, Sitges or any of the coastal towns of Costa Brava, but not easily so in Vilanova.

I guess that this stems from the fact that Vilanova is first and foremost a relatively industrial town and still has some way to go to fully cater to tourist needs. Demand here above all comes from local people and while they seem to love to have a coffee or a glass of wine in the terraces on the Rambla or in the Plaça de la Vila they prefer to sit indoors whenever they eat a full meal.

Luckily enough for us, in the middle of the Rambla there is a place called Cafetet 9, which does serve food in their terrace and for that very reason was the first restaurant we went to when coming here in 2005. We acted as true foreigners and chose a table outside to eat. I do not really remember, but would not be surprised to hear that the other tables were totally empty, since this was in late February and it must have been much too cold for the Vilanovins to accompany us outdoors.

Except for a long list of tapes, el Cafetet 9 also offers the typical 3-course menu del día, where you have a number of starters, mains and desserts to chose between, here for € 10,50 (weekdays). The dishes served are Catalan, or in the most extreme cases Mediterranean, and although nobody should come here for a culinary experience, this is far from a tourist trap.

With Vilanova attracting more and more tourists, I trust that we will soon see more establishments of this kind, especially down at bottom of the relatively unexploited Rambla de la Pau. Then my family might be able to find a new outdoor restaurant where we do not have to have cars crossing the Rambla right next to our table. Neither will I miss the irritation it causes me that the Cafetet 9 management does not let me exchange the dessert included in the menu for a coffee. I know of few other places showing that lack of flexibility and service mindedness and will be happy to vote with my feet whenever that is possible.

In the meantime, this restaurant will remain the place to go for us whenever we want to have a meal but at the same time see and be seen in Vilanova. And that is not too bad.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Colonies overnight stay at the age of three

While I, as a teenager in Sweden, was looking forward to the day when I would finish secondary school and finally move out from my parents’ house, many Spanish children stay with their parents long into their thirties. A lack of cheap accommodation is only a small part of the explanation. While in Northern Europe we are being raised to be independent, in Spain the focus in on socialisation.

In his book ‘Ghosts of Spain’, Giles Tremlett, a journalist and immigrant from UK to Spain, writes that the teacher of his children “seem to care more about ’formando el grupo’, ‘forming the group’, than, for example, maths.” Children start school early here, usually at the age of three and it is therefore obvious that the focus can not yet be on teaching specific subjects, but is on letting the children play and interact in a structured way.

School is being reinforced as a first strong community outside the family and the teacher of our oldest son is proud to point out that her pupils clearly identify with the name of the class, bastoners, meaning pirates. For all the strength of the friendship in the class and all the loveliness of his teacher, it felt like a big step to send away our son on an overnight stay outside the family - colonies or camp school. Last week, he went for the first time and from now on we can expect this to come back in the school programme, at least once a year. Unfortunately, I missed the preparations since I was away on a work trip, but my wife claims that our son did not show any signs of nervousness. He took great interest in buying a junior size sleeping bag and helped in packing his backpack.

One day, we will have to catch his teacher to have an adult's version on what the children did after the bus had left Vilanova. We thought that they were going to a farm, but if we can trust our son, the only animal they saw was a black insect, possibly an ant. Apparently, they went to a very small village were there was a church and a car in which one of the teachers arrived. The children and the teachers slept in one of two houses, while in the other one there was a friendly witch who handed out hand puppets to all of them. Our three-and-a-half-year-old was almost disturbed by the fact that he had had to sleep with a diaper again, although he knew his way to the toilet. At the same time, he claims to have slept very well and that he got tasty sandwiches for breakfast.

Always having regarded our oldest son as quite sensitive, my wife and I had been prepared to come and pick him up in the middle of the night. On the contrary, when we talked to him upon his return, he seemed to have had a really good time with his friends and explained that he was now a big boy who did not need his parents cuddling when going to bed. That evening, we were almost happy to hear him crying, asking us to stay with him while he was falling asleep, as if we had been worried that our little boy would become an independent person too soon.

After all, as long as we stay in Spain, we do not need to fear that our oldest son will be taught independence in the sense of breaking away from his parents. The only target of the socialization in school is to add new social spheres to the children’s lives. Family is always expected to be the first one, and for most Spaniards it remains so throughout life.

A vote for a bike road

On May 27 this year, we will have municipal elections in Spain and for the first time here, my wife and I will have the right to vote. I might let a bike road be the decisive factor for my choice of party, but if I do, that will turn my Catalan friends against me.

Vilanova is a nice place to live but for night life Sitges has a lot more to offer. For local people, taking the car back after an evening out is perfectly fine even when they have had more than one glass of wine. I must confess to occasionally have fallen into the Spanish relaxedness about this, but I do not feel comfortable doing so. In my native Sweden, the solution in this situation is to go home by bike, in spite of the weather conditions.

Unfortunately, going back from Sitges on a bicycle in the night is not an option today. The first part of the road is the worst. As soon as you have the town limits behind you, you will be on a country road with only a narrow curbside and at the end of it you have to pass through a number of curves before you reach the safety of the bike roads starting after the roundabout to Vilanova and Sant Pere. Spanish car drivers tend to be arrogant and careless, not the least after a night out. To meet them while you cycle on this road in daylight is unpleasant, but to do so in the dark is to challenge faith.

Therefore, in the Diari de Vilanova of April 20, I was happy to see that a top candidate of the new political party Ciutadans puts the idea of a bike road through the Garraf region on the political agenda. I am convinced that this could serve as a magnet for high quality tourists, notably those who are not into sailing but still want to spend their vacation in an active way.

Analysing Ciutadans’ programme further, I must admit that I like their stressing of the importance of education, security and health care. Still I doubt that I will vote for them. In their own eyes, Spanish politics is stuck on a left and right wing scale. What I personally find much more disturbing, is that regional versus national perspectives seems to be the main focus of politics on all levels in this country. With that in mind, Ciutadans is just yet another player since they are marked by their negative attitude to the estatut of Catalonia. The estatut is a charter which outlines the limits for regional autonomy within the framework of Spain. It cost a lot of time and energy to negotiate it but now the people of Catalonia have given their approval in a referendum and subsequently it has been ratified by the Spanish parliament.

Ciutadans as a party was born in defense of the Spanish speakers of the region, as opposed to the normalització or strengthening of Catalan. They are free from Partido Popular’s connection to a strong Spanish nation state, but still have to prove what they mean by working for 'language equality'. Among the Catalans I meet, the party only comes across as opposed to the strong official role of Catalan and not as a force with a constructive message.

We still have some weeks to go before the elections. In the meantime, I hope that one of the other main parties will manage to win my vote. A bike road to Sitges would be a nice thing, but I would prefer to make my final decision thinking about our town as a whole rather than only about pleasure.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Buying a house in Vilanova

There is a strong symbolic value in home ownership, the idea being that once you buy into a certain place of earth, you care more about society. The local people of Spain certainly seem to feel this way, since they are so happy to buy houses at price levels close to the maximum of what they can afford. Interestingly enough, it seems that many immigrants into this country are now prepared to do the same.

My family moved to Catalonia with the mindset to stay. After some years with typically time limited ExPat contracts in Thailand, above all I needed a feeling of settling down rather than an ever ongoing open perspective that next year we might live in a different place. Our desire to create a stable environment for our children of course contributed to that decision.

Buying a house would be a natural step in this development, but what poor timing we have. House prices in Spain have increased dramatically during the last few years and although the pace seems to have slowed down recently, there is surprisingly much optimism in the Spanish construction boom. Vilanova serves as a good example - so many apartments are currently being built or planned that the number of citizens will increase with up to 50% if they would all be filled with new permanent residents. This might in the end result in an over-supply but until now prices remain high.

We nurture our dreams by looking in real estate advertising every once in a while. During Easter, we found a place which looked so interesting from the photos that we asked the agency to arrange a visit for us. Someone might think that the reason for me going there only with my parents and not with my wife is because I have picked up so strong Asian values, that I do not think that she should take part in a decision as important as this. Let me calm you down by underlining that it was the other way around. My liberated Swedish wife rated an evening work meeting higher than the house check, so now you know.

The house we saw was in La Geltrú – the romantic and calm old part of our town. Since the architecture of this area is being protected, I knew in advance that we would come in to a house with small windows and narrow staircases. For this reason, I was in fact positively surprised about how spacey and light the house felt. Personally, I really liked the large garage area, where I found all the storage space which we would need to make our living more comfortable. Currently I feel that I always need to move two things in order to get to a third one. I admit that the bedrooms were very small with Swedish standards but we are in Spain and there were five of them. Finally we would be able to create the guest room we would want, so that friends from Barcelona could easily stay overnight with us. The living room was not large, but except for a big sofa we would have been able to fit in our dinner table, which we can not really make use of where we live today.

My parents were much less enthusiastic about what they saw. Initially, my father did acknowledge that there were many rooms in the house and he really appreciated the work space in the kitchen. He does not want to understand how fast the clutter which he complains about in our current kitchen would be transferred to the new one.

Neither did it take long before his opinion changed and I guess it was the long, tiled staircase up to the roof terrace which caused this. He firmly concluded that this was not a good house for small children and as if to prove how right he was, our oldest son started to climb on the balcony wall. This unnerved even the real estate agent so much that she gave me detailed instructions on how to mount an additional fence on top of the wall. While I thought that I had a view of well tended gardens from the terrace, my father only saw a mess, but which garden would not look like that compared to the calm Swedish middleclass neighbourhood where I used to grow up. There gardening was a big thing at least two decades before it became trendy.

My mother was critical from the beginning to the end. She reminded me that one of the most important things we want with a house is a small garden with easy access. Quite correctly, she pointed out that we would never make daily use of the roof top terrace since it was located two full floors above the kitchen. In fact, she never saw the terrace as anything but a danger to young exploratory children.

This house had a very beautiful façade, but one of the deciding factors for me not wanting to buy it was that the street outside was so busy. Unfortunately, Spanish people tend to drive carelessly fast and the pavements here were not exactly broad. The real estate agent underlined to me that once the construction work in the Sant Jordi area have been completed, the street will be turned into a pedestrian zone. I can not help wondering how many years it will take before that happens.

Still I must say that this was a house where I could picture myself living with my family but, realistically, it was not a bargain. With interest rates going up, we would have risked being slaves under the instalments, something we want to avoid since, after all, we are foreigners in this country and none of us a native speaker of Spanish, let alone Catalan.

My parents advise us to be content with what we have and rather try to improve our space situation by rearranging apartment we rent. With the Swedish rationality we pride ourselves for, that is an economically sound decision in a time when house prices are judged to be too high compared with the costs of renting. However, we will continue to keep our eyes open for new houses. For the feeling to have settled down.

Restaurants in VNG: La Cucanya

Any premium restaurant must serve good food in a nice environment. La Cucanya (address: Racó de Santa Llucia s/n; phone: 93 815 19 34) does more than that. It is a family friendly establishment located on the rocks and directly over the sea. If you add a walk along the beach you have a half-day experience which I am happy to recommend to visitors of this town.

Sundays are family days for the local people of Catalonia and the natural time and place to meet is over a long lunch. Very often it is the grandparents who invite the family to come and eat at their house, but at least for special occasions, a good restaurant is the choice of preference. Among all places I have visited in Vilanova so far, none beats La Cucanya for this purpose.

I took my parents and family here on Easter Monday and, for the first time, we received a table directly at the windows and thus had the company of rolling waves throughout our visit. We all did our best to enjoy it while at the same time keeping an eye on our two active boys. The baby spent most of the time banging on chinaware plates with cutlery or happily looking for food left-overs on the floor, while the older one was kept busy with La Cucanya’s colouring sheets and crayons. In so far the lunch was a true success that we managed to leave the impeccably white linen table almost without any colour stains and with all glasses intact. When we left, our oldest son asked the staff if he could keep the crayons. What really warmed his parents’ hearts was not that he was allowed to do so, but that he asked the question in perfect Catalan.

La Cucanya presents you with high quality Mediterranean cuisine of seafood as well as meat. This time, we also had the opportunity to select from a special seasonal menu, but decided to go for some old favourites; Xató, the local salad of Garraf, for starters and skewers of monkfish and prawns for mains. I must admit that so far I have not managed to make my wife as excited about this restaurant as I am, but there is one thing that she can not resist – the tempting offers on the dessert trolley. The piece of cake that she ordered was so big that she had to leave a bit of it on the plate, but partly we can blame that on our sons doing a surprisingly weak job in helping here to finish it.

Like last time we were here, my parents were a bit concerned about the prices, around € 13 for starters and € 20 for main courses. That perspective is quite common for people from Germanic countries. I am sure that Spanish people are much less sensitive to restaurant prices than we are, and this although disposable incomes here are lower than in Northern Europe. There were quite many grandparents at the tables in La Cucanya on Easter Monday. To be critical about my native culture, I doubt that we are as generous in inviting our parents to nice restaurants as the Spanish are. And to be honest about my own strong feelings for this place, I can not deny that it gives me a feeling of belonging, by doing as the locals.

To find La Cucanya is not so easy. You can of course go there by car, but I recommend you to walk. Follow the platja de Ribes Roges to its end, then take either the stairs up on the hill or the walk path along the ruins of Adarrò. After having admired the view, cross over the small platja de Sant Gervasi and then pass through the railway tunnel. Following to the small paved road up to the right, you will soon see signs guiding you the last meters. A bit of an effort, but that only makes the place more exotic.

Monday, 9 April 2007

Restaurants in Vilanova: L’Oganqüit - a good old friend

Nobody is perfect. One of the nice with good friends is that once you have reached a certain level of confidence, small mistakes are easily forgiven. This is very much true for restaurants as well.

L’Oganqüit (address: c/ Llibertat 128; phone: 93 815 63 62) does not accept reservations. Last Friday, when I was planning to bring my parents and family there for the evening, we happened to pass by in the afternoon and I decided to knock on the door, just to make sure that the usual opening hours were valid also for the Easter holiday. Although at least three people inside noticed me and although none of them was overly busy since the restaurant was still not open, nobody came to open the door to check what I wanted. In a social context this is considered rude. From a business point of view, it is a sadly easy way to lose potential new customers.

Since my family is a big l’Oganqüit fan, we have already forgotten them for this inhospitable behaviour. Maybe the restaurant is already so popular that the management feels that they do not need to attract new people. Although I would not agree with that conclusion, I have to admit that this place is always very busy and it is hard to imagine that less than two years ago, they were located in much smaller premises in Rambla de la Pau.

We had the opportunity to visit l’Oganqüit at the old address and thanks to small children and Swedish dinner habits we always came early enough to get a table. What struck us from the first visit was the personal attention given by the French owner of the place. We were presented with a Mediterranean menu with international details and immediately understood that we had reached the famous place which more than one person had recommended to us but of which nobody remembered the name. After 9 p.m. in the evening you usually had to queue for a long time to get a table so we were not surprised to learn that the establishment would soon move.

From our point of view, the move was clearly for the better, although the owner does not feel as present as before. Since we always come with a push chair, we appreciate the extra space and the fact that the personnel are as welcoming to children as they have always been. Butcher’s paper on textile tablecovers is not the most stylish thing you can put on your tables but fantastic if you come with children, especially since l’Oganqüit usually provides them with crayons as well. In our case, it keeps our oldest son busy drawing while we enjoy our meal. Except for some strange log-cabin decorations in the area where we usually sit, the place is has a clean and trendy touch, with atmospheric dimmed-down lighting. We are happy to be able to sit in the non-smoking area, but the corridor to the part where smoking is allowed, is probably Vilanova’s best example of modern interior architecture in a restaurant.

Since our youngest son was born, we do not come here as often as we did while we only had one child. With my parents visiting, we wanted to go back to some of our favourite restaurants. As always, our three-year-old needed to go to the toilets – this time only once. His personal l’Oganqüit record is three toilet visits during one dinner but to excuse him I have to admit that going to the toilet here is a bit exciting. Our one-year-old contributed with a little performance of “before-sleep-tantrums”, but all of this is much easier to cope with when you have two extra pairs of hands supporting you.

For my wife and me, the dishes were as good as always. The place prides itself with “artisan cuisine” and we above all appreciate the interesting salads as starters (approx. € 9) and elaborate pastas and pizzas for main course (around € 13). My parents went for steaks and just like the experience I have personally had with tuna fish at an earlier occasion, these dishes did not reach quite the same standard. My mother is certainly not a picky person and therefore accepted her entrecôte as it came. I am not a big meat eater, but I know that well-done should not mean still red in the middle while charred on the outside.

Having said all this, we will not have a problem to accept this small flaw with our good friend l’Oganqüit. Instead, we all look forward to the day when our youngest son is old enough so that we again can start to come regularly with the whole family.

Friday, 6 April 2007

Neàpolis – the future can wait

The ajuntament of Vilanova worries about the sensitivity of the local labour market in a globalized world. Like in many places in Europe, they have identified the knowledge based society to be the solution. Different to other places, we are not exactly rushing to get there.

Every time I go to my gym, in Rambla de l'Exposició I pass by the construction site of a modern building with a name that fires my imagination: Neàpolis – "l’Espai de la tecnologia i les idees". Information boards explain that this will be a reference for the whole of Catalonia in terms of research and development of new communication technologies. What an interesting initiative for a small town like this. How strange that for almost two years there never seemed to be any workers to finish the project.

Reading between the lines in the materials we receive from the ajuntament, Neàpolis is one of those projects which simply got too expensive for a fast completion. The plan, as originally presented in 2000 was grandiose, aiming to make Vilanova “a city of the new millennium”. The centre should attract state-of-the-art communication bodies and thus create a nursery for information based enterprise. At the same time, it should have the democratic goal to spread the benefits of new technology to all parts of society. Elderly people and primary school children, people with handicaps – nobody should be left behind.

Some weeks ago, action suddenly started again and recently the protective fence was removed. According to the latest issue of ‘08800 – la revista de VNG’, our local authorities’ official information magazine, the centre will open up already by the end of April. I expressed my surprise about this change of pace to a colleague at work, who explained that it was perfectly normal. Since we will have municipal elections later this spring, the incumbent majorities of all towns need to move all half-finished projects forward to prove their efficiency.

ITCat, the Infrastructure and Telecommunication authority of Catalonia will move its headquarters here which guarantees a certain importance and the generalitat is promising to promote the centre further on the regional level. Our local TV-station Canal Blau and some radio stations will be among the other tenants early to move in. The initial success is granted so local politicians will have a lot to celebrate with the opening.

What remains to see is what comes next. To fill a fancy building with more or less publicly financed institutions is easy. To create a technology centre open to all citizens, as of the original plan, is a much bigger challenge. Until now, all news items on Neàpolis seem to leave out that part of the project and I have a feeling that the people of our town have lowered their expectations. Having waited since the year 2000, and with domestic broadband connections being cheap nowadays, I guess that anyone being a bit interested in new technology has stopped hoping for the authorities to open the way to the future.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Restaurants in Vilanova: Fresh air at Club Nàutic

All too often, good locations do not have the restaurants they deserve. Last time I took my family to Club Nàutic in Vilanova (address: Escullera de Ponent s/n, phone: 93 815 93 27), we were so unimpressed that we left already after the aperitifs. Last Sunday, we took a gamble and brought some friends to this place without having tested it in between.

Being the official restaurant of the marina, Club Nàutic has one of this town’s best sceneries directly overlooking all anchored sailing boats. It is also a uniquely spacious restaurant – indoors as well as on the terrace. This is what attracted my family to come here last time, but we were scared away by the slow service. Even worse, chairs had been left unarranged after other guests had left and on some tables dirty dishes and full ashtrays were piling high. Service is enough of a challenge in the restaurant industry. If you manage make new guests change their mind already before they have had the first contact with your staff, you really need to re-think what your establishment is all about.

Encouraged by a rumour that Club Nàutic had a new management and some window shopping proving that things had improved, we decided to take the risk and try the place again. We had invited some friends from the Swedish community of Barcelona to come here, and although many of them already knew our town, we wanted to give them a pleasant and lasting flavour of Vilanova. What better place than the marina is there to do so?

Vilanova is a place for outdoor life and some rounds of the Scandinavian social game kubb was meant to be the main attraction of the program. In the late afternoon the sun managed to break through the clouds, so we could play for a while, but except for that we had rain and overcast throughout the day. Since the weather conditions were not on our side, we were lucky to be more than satisfied with out choice of restaurant.

With two babies and two small children in the group, we had reserved a table indoors. From the very first moment, I could relax from my worries about the restaurant. Our long table had been laid with linen-coloured placemats and proper textile napkins and a fast glance at the other guests plates revealed fresh ingredients presented in a nice way.

Half of the group decided for the set 3-course lunch (€ 18 for anyone not yet a member of the local sailing club) and the other half ordered some starters followed by paellas. Only one girl in the group had such a problem selecting from the typically Mediterranean offer, that together with our oldest son, she ended up with the children’s menu. I assume that she would have had similar difficulties in most other Catalan restaurants. As far as my wife and I could judge, our friends were as satisfied with the meal as we were. Personally, I especially liked the fresh sea bream which I had for a main course, although I had a tough time removing the bones while at the same time stopping my youngest son from playing with the ketchup on his older brother’s plate.

Club Nàutic is a good place for children, especially when they reach the age when they can look after themselves. The marina leaves them with many things too look at. In the lounge there is a huge old steering wheel on the wall, which I let my oldest son play with until he got so excited that he almost knocked down the pictures from the wall.

I am still concerned that the staff of the restaurant is slow to clean away empty dishes when guests leave their tables. This is especially the case in the strangely planned and under-utilized lounge, but it can be that that part of the premises does not fall under the restaurant concession.

My family and I will certainly come back, but we will wait until we reach the temperatures which we should usually have by this time of the year. I want our next lunch at Club Nàutic to be on the terrace.