The Catalan terminology for the meals part of our Costa Brava tour was referred to as gastronomy. This is the science of food eating. I like the sound of gastronomy more than cuisine.
Typically I only occasionally eat in restaurants. Food is expensive and when traveling I try and eat heavily at breakfast and lunch, supplement the day with supermarket food, then once every few days go out for a restaurant meal.
Typically I get by on less than $50 per day aside from hotels. In Europe restaurant meals can easily run $50 per day per person.
My three days with six complimentary restaurant meals would have likely made me the 600 EUR gastronomist without my sponsor. Costa Brava Tourist Board made sure we were well fed.
Our blogger group left Tossa de Mar driving north about 5km along the coast. The ocean views were amazing along this southern section of the Costa Brava, 85 kilometers north of Barcelona.
The driver said the road has 365 bends. I do not know how long a stretch of road he meant. We probably made 50 bends in the 5km from Tossa de Mar to Cala Giverola.
Tossa de Mar, Costa Brava, Spain.
Our destination was not really known to me. The road winding along the coastal hillsides revealed little coves and hotels and beaches in narrow valleys.
Outside Club-Hotel Giverola, Tossa de Mar, Costa Brava, Spain.
Club-Hotel Giverola Reception seemed commonplace. The hallways were empty of guests. The hotel is 25 years old and part of Swiss-based Ferienverein group hotels. This resort is only open March to October.
The funicular car to travel down the hillside was a bit of a surprise.
There is a funicular car to travel down to the beach level of the Club-Hotel Giverola.
Suddenly the place looked like a resort as we walked by the mini-golf and tennis courts.
Club-Hotel Giverola Tennis Courts, Tossa de Mar, Costa Brava.
Pools and ping pong tables at Club-Hotel Giverola.
We sat down on the outdoor patio of the hotel restaurant for a meal with an ocean view of paradise cove. The place is Giverola Beach, but I kept recalling Marc Chagall’s Tossa de Mar moniker “Blue Paradise”.
Club-Hotel Giverola Menu for our September 24, 2012 meal.
Welcome cocktail: sangria de cava.
The drink was followed with a selection of appetizers including sausages, cheese, mussels, clams and calamari squid.
Chef’s canapé selection.
Finally the seafood started coming out.
Mussels and shrimp.
Seafood creation on scallop shell. This tasted amazing. I ate three. I enjoyed traveling with a couple of people who did not eat shellfish.
Banana boat tow around Cala Giverola. Our guide Anna Marie said the tow driver would make them flip over in the bay. And after several minutes he tossed over the group on the boat into the sea.
The location made the food taste even better. This was also our first group meal where we had time to talk with each other over a long two to three hour meal.
Main course: sea bass with potatoes and vegetables. The travelers who were not seafood eaters had grilled duck breast with peaches, nuts and raisins.
Dining in Europe is not like most American restaurant experiences
I have had plenty of experiences in European restaurants with long meals. One of the reasons I avoid restaurants in Europe is the expectation that a meal is going to be two to three hours. After my wife and I have traveled around a town all day talking to each other, there is often a lack of interesting conversation to carry on for hours through dinner.
Being a hit-and-run American in a European restaurant is embarrassing when you are ready to leave within an hour and the wait staff won’t let you leave. Far more than once I have insulted restaurant staff by insisting I want to leave within an hour of arriving and eating a meal.
That is why you can walk into an empty restaurant at 6pm in many European countries and be told they are full. The expectation is you will be around for hours eating and when you arrive at 6pm to an empty restaurant and you wonder why they won’t seat you, the reason is there are reservations to fill the tables from 7 to 9pm and they anticipate you might still be dining at 9pm when you sit down at 6pm. Restaurant protocol in Europe is quite different from the USA.
Club-Hotel Giverola chef receiving applause after the feast.
How could this not be one of the best seafood meals I ever have eaten? The food was spectacular and the view even more so.
Pool area has a water slide and the large lawn has dozens of lounge chairs with umbrellas.
Pool at Club-Hotel Giverola.
Lawn chair great lawn at Club-Hotel Giverola.
After a leisurely two to three hour meal, our group took the funicular back up topside.
Club-Hotel Giverola property map.
The resort closes down for the 2012 season October 20 and reopens for the 2013 season March 9, 2013 through October 19, 2013.
Giverola Beach, photo courtesy of Tossa de Mar Tourist Office www.infotossa.com
Loyalty Traveler Disclosure: My visit to Tossa de Mar was the first day of a 3-day post-TBEX Europe 2012 trip for nine travel bloggers sponsored by the Costa Brava Tourism Board. Transportation, museum admission, meals and hotels were provided free of charge.
All photos are my own, except last photo labeled “Courtesy of Tossa de Mar Tourism Office.”
TBEX12 Girona, Spain and Costa Brava Tourism Board sponsored tour
- Catalunya Castells Human Towers–TBEX12 @CostaBrava(Sep 20, 2012)
- TBEX Girona, the Pyrenees and Beaches of Costa Brava(Sep 24, 2012)
- Walking Costa Brava at Lloret de Mar (Sep 25, 2012)
- Traveler Impressionism in Costa Brava, Spain(Sep 29, 2012)
- Tossa de Mar, Costa Brava–Blue Paradise(Oct 11, 2012)
- Hotel Diana, modernist boutique in Tossa de Mar, Spain (Oct 12, 2012)
Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.