Check in was smooth and efficient. The Medpalya Esmereldas certainly deserves more than its allocated 2 stars. Our room was in fact a studio apartment with its own mini kitchen and dining area. At last somewhere to chill our beers and water. Early impressions of the staff were good, they all seemed friendly and welcoming... Quite different to our experience of the neighbouring hotel some two years previous.
As welcoming as the pool looked we were hungry after our long journey so we wasted little time getting washed and changed from our travel clothes into something more suited to the climate and ambiance of the Costa braved in late June. The helpful receptionist had offered us a map and informed us about the following days walking tour of the town, we rejected both insisting to him that we were quite familiar with the area. We knew exactly where we were heading for our late lunch... Into the old town for a much dreamed about fish platter or 'pica pica' as it is listed on the menus.
Little time was taken choosing our venue, we are creatures of habit and like to revisit places that we have enjoyed in the past. This tiny little restaurant had seating outside with sea views and also good people watching opportunities. On our previous two visits to Tossa we had had drinks and a tapa here either on our way out in the evening or on our way back from the beach.
Just like children, with a months worth of pocket money in a sweet shop, we ordered 'pica pica' a selection of shell fish, calamari, prawns, mussels, chipirones (or baby squib... Yes squib ... That's another long story from a holiday many years ago), clams and any bits and bobs from the bottom of the fishermans nets, a mixed salad and of course patatas bravas, bread and two large beers. Although we had clearly ordered too much we made sure that we devoured every morsel of fish... Well it would be disrespectful not to!
The Eastern European couple that came and sat nearby had seen our fish selection and chose the same, they also ordered the 'catch of the day'... Today's catch; locally caught seabass simply grilled. As we tucked in to our bounty from the sea it was as much as we could do to just grin at each other, both enjoying the simplicity of the flavours of the fish ... Completely uncluttered by sauces and accompaniments ... Just well cooked local bounty. I feel so lucky to have the health, wealth and the ability to experience a holiday at all let alone a holiday abroad. Although the cost of our meal was much less than a snack in the UK it was still almost as much as som families have to spend on food for the week. I realise that it does no good to get hung up on these kind of issues but I always remain thankful and mindful. I am Equally as mindful that in the UK we really do not know what it is like to experience absolute poverty, we don't know what it is like to eat mud cakes or have to queue every day for bread, so it is hard for me to understand the motivations of people who would have experienced such things.
The waitress brought the catch of the day to our near neighbours and as she passed us with the huge wooden board containing a whole fish, a little salad and whole lemons, I will confess to being a little disappointed that we hadn't chose this instead of our famous potato dish. Yet, when our waitress stopped by and asked if we needed anything else we both resisted saying 'yes, catch of the day please'. Before she could go back to her station the fella beckoned her over with a click of his fingers and waved the fish away. Completely stunned, we both watched as she took the fish away and took it back to the kitchen. Now one thing we can say with absolute certainty.... The fish is fresh and very well cooked, so why on earth would anyone send it back. Some 10 minutes later the fish came back ... Clearly over cooked now. Not satisfied with that he insisted that she take it away (after he had inspected it) to remove the head, bones and tails. This is not the first Time that we have experienced people from Eastern Europe making the very most of their wealth, health and position. Rather than criticising them for it I wonder how I would behave if my mother had to queue for bread every day to feed her family.