Trade wine for water by driving about a half-hour east to the coast for the day. Roll into Sitges, a former fishing village turned bohemian, gay-friendly beach resort that’s famous for its annual carnival (Feb. 16–22, 2012), but which quietly settles into a small-town routine for the remainder of winter. Start off with a simple meal of café con leche ($2) and pa amb tomàquet (tomato-rubbed bread) with Serrano ham ($4) at Café-Bar Roy (Carrer de les Parellades 9, 938-110-269), a handsome hangout with marble tables and vested waiters. Then stride up the hill in the town center to the baroque parish church, known as “La Punta,” to survey the land, with the Mediterranean in the distance and the Passeig Maritim boardwalk tracing the gentle curve of the long beach. Next, get a dose of culture nearby at the town’s two newest museums, both on Plaça de l’Ajuntament. Find contemporary art by international artists, from large-scale Jackson Pollock–style splatters to precarious sculptures made of recycled materials, at the Fundació Stämpfli–Art Contemporani ($5), which opened in April of this year in the former fish market. Then discover the roots of rum at the well-curated Casa Bacardi ($9.50): The company’s founder was born and raised in Sitges until his mid-teens, when he emigrated to Cuba. The tour ends with a tutorial from professional bartenders on how to make a proper mojito or cuba libre, which you can then sip on the terrace. Ease into the night at the cozy seafood restaurant La Nansa, where a fishnet hangs from the ceiling. Sample local flavors by ordering xató ($17), a traditional sauce (ground almonds, hazelnuts, breadcrumbs, and garlic) served with cod and tuna, and squid tossed with sweet Malvasia de Sitges wine ($20).
5. Oddball Day
Published on Dec 8, 2011 as a web exclusive.