This week, I was lucky enough to have my parents fly over for a two-day visit in which we managed to pack in a trip to Sagrada Familia, the Botanic Gardens and Sitges! When I first arrived in Barcelona I was told by the person who helped me get from the airport to my accomodation to visit Sitges but for some reason or another I kept putting it off in favour of doing things inside the city or for visits to Monserrat, Montpellier and Munich (posts about all three can be found here). The idea to visit Sitges with my parents came about quite serendipidoulsy as my Mum was told by a friend that Sitges was a nice town and after she accidently posted about it on my Facebook thinking it was a private message I thought a little trip out whilst they were here was a no-brainer.
Getting to Sitges was a little hectic to begin with and I had some trouble figuring out where the station was in Passeig de Gracia as I’ve never taken a train from there before but once there it was relatively easy, especially because of the great staff who helped us figure out what tickets to buy. The train there is relatively fast taking about 40 minutes in total and there was plenty of room on it there and back (unlike Montserrat) but I guess it’s pretty hectic in summer. The town of Sitges definitely lived up to is reputation of being a beautiful, scenic spot and as soon as we stepped out of the train station you could see all the pretty little buildings. I found myself realising that I had forgotten what it’s like to be surrounded by buildings that are not at least six stories tall so it was nice to feel like I was in a calmer, less populated area.
Our first priority on arrival was finding somewhere to eat and Sitges is definitely not lacking when it comes to varied places to eat but somehow we managed to end up in a restaurant whose menú del día consisted of only meat dishes for the main courses and as I am now a vegetarian, I couldn’t eat there. I felt pretty bad about us having to then leave and find another place but we ended up in a nice little tapas place and my parents got to discover the beauty that is a Russian salad. Once we were sufficiently fuelled for more walking, we wandered about the town and through the little back streets that ran parallel to the sea. I can only imagine how alive Sitges was during the carnival last weekend and how buzzing it must be in the summer and that’s what I had to do as the weather that day was overcast and chilly. In addition to this, most of the shops were closed in the afternoon, which reminded me of when we first started going to central France over 10 years ago and discovered you couldn’t go shopping after 1pm. This certainly limited what we could do with the day, it was too cold to enjoy the landscape and there was nowhere for us to mosey around.
Somehow, we ended up at the cemetery at the top of a small hill and then the sun broke through for a little while so we wandered around there and admired the elaborate mausoleums as well as the unique burial niches. There is a very distinct, unusual kind of burial spaces in the Barcelona area that I had noticed when I saw the cemetery on Montjuic (refer to my photos to see what I mean) and my Mum and I like to walk around churches and cemeteries in other places to see things like this. If this style of burial is used elsewhere I am not sure but I was already aware that in France it is more common for people to be laid to rest in mausoleums and above ground spaces. We collected my Dad from a bench he was sunning himself on and headed out to find a man arguing with a parking warden about a ticket – people are the same the world over when it comes to tickets it seems!
This kind of wrapped up our trip to Sitges, I would like to go back when it is a bit hotter but I’m not sure I’ll make it before I return back home as I still want to pay a visit to Figueres where the Dalí museums are so that takes priority. I think if you are looking to experience Catalan culture without the madness of the city, staying in Sitges would be a great holiday destination in the summer but as far as any other time of year – I’d give it a miss. I still had a fun day but that was mostly to do with the company and not the place and I am glad that I got to see a lot of fabulous buildings and walk around a nice, petit town.