The title says it all…almost. What the title does imply is that we have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Costa Brava Historic Rally. This is an annual multi-day rally race of only antique/classic cars that takes place in Lloret de Mar, a small coastal town approximately 60km north of Barcelona. Furthermore, it promises the rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Lancia that I built a model of as a child! What more could a guy ask for? Maybe the opportunity to actually see a race???
Our voyage began late as usual as we made our way to the train station. We weren’t worried though as the rally wasn’t due to begin until 5pm. The train wound its way along the coast, passing many dark, dank, graffitti-ridden industrial towns. I could sense the uncertainty in Lauren’s face as she gazed out to see the beautiful, torquoise Med on the right side, and the gray, hazy, run-down shops and villages on the left side; however, about an hour into our trip, the depressing grays gave way to bright, white-washed dwellings and neatly trimmed parks that dotted the beaches along the Med. I could feel my heartrate increasing as we drew nearer to the race! Nearly two hours after we boarded the train, we pulled into Blanes Estacio. It was a quaint little train station in the middle of nowhere. We disembarked the train, walked the twenty feet through the station, and caught the bus just as it was leaving. What timing! And for only 1.50Euro, it would be money well spent to see the race!
As we pulled into Lloret de Mar, the police were clearly visible in their neon green vests directing traffic around the roads that were closed for the race. My blood was racing and excitement mounting. I saw my first rally car…then the second! I stopped to ask the police officer what time the race would begin. The reply: “Ya ha acabado.” (“It’s already over.”) What?!? Turns out that the race finished at 2pm and it was already 4pm. But she assured me that if we wanted to make the 2.5 hr journey (each way) tomorrow, we would be able to see the final leg of the race. I don’t think so!
Sooo…being the optimists we are, we decided to make the best of the situation and proceeded to the Rally podium for some photo ops with some of the cars and then to the tourism office to see what else we could see in Lloret de Mar. We grabbed some maps (and the official Rally schedule (which wasn’t posted anywhere on the web)) and headed out to explore.
We saw a cathedral built in 1608 and then headed back to the coast to see the “dancing lady” statue that overlooked the Med from the cliffs above. We’re not really sure why she was dancing, but we just think she was happy to see us. From there, we hiked along the jagged rocks/cliffs to a castle even higher up the coast. The castle was built around 1000AD and was unfortunately partially destroyed in the 1800’s by the British Canoneers and later in the 1960’s when they built a road through part of it. Today, the only part left completely intact is the tower. Regardless, the tower still sits promininently on the cliff as a reminder of the power of royalty of years past. A true sight to behold far above the crystal-clear waters of the Med.