Our experiences with Spain have been different than with any other European country we've visited. In every other country - except France, for obvious reasons - we hit only the major cities: London, Dublin, Athens, Rome, Munich, etc. In Spain, we've really only been to smaller coastal towns.
Last year, we hit up San Sebastian, a tiny seaside resort town on the Bay of Biscay in the Basque Country, literally just over the French border. We hopped back across just in time to catch the Tour de France coming through.
This year, although we did take a long weekend in Barcelona, we spent the bulk of our time in the Costa Dorada region - namely, Reus, with some quick field trips to other areas. However, Reus is much smaller and less interesting than, say, Tours, so it was a hard week for me. Because here's a newsflash for you: Spain isn't France.
They don't speak French, or even much English (and I speak no Spanish). They don't have the ubiquitous boulangeries on every corner with the to-die-for baguettes and pastries. Shopping was a disappointment; Reus didn't have nearly the variety or types of stores Tours did. Wine? Okay, but not fantastic. And me? Well, I was frustrated and a little (okay, a lot) homesick for my little corner of France.
But I'm glad we went. We did have fun. And we had a couple of stellar meals. Cocktail hour in the squares was always pleasant. And I can say I've been to one more place, at least.
While I'm not sure I'd recommend you rush out to make a special trip to Reus, if you find yourself in the area here's what you can't miss.
E & B
where we stayed
where we visited
where we ate
Little Bangkok // Little Bangkok is the #1 restaurant in Reus on TripAdvisor, so even though it's not Spanish we knew we needed to try it out. I'm super glad we did. We split an appetizer of chicken satay; for a main course, I got Pad Kee Mao and B got green curry. Both were amazing, and very spicy. The Spanish apparently don't share the French's disdain of heat. We tried to walk in one night, but they were already booked. So they made us a reservation for the following night. They speak English, though, which is wildly helpful.
Museu del Vermut Restaurant // We never actually made it to the Vermouth Museum itself, but we did have dinner there, a hint from Brian's coworkers. We split bread with tomatoes on it (a common dish), mussels, and patatas bravas, which are potatoes with a spicy sauce. Even though we only split tapas, we still left totally stuffed. And the ambiance is A+. We ate in a little outdoor courtyard, with exposed brick/stone walls and old vermouth signs hung on them. Highly recommended.
Esquitx Creperia // Good, but not Le Lys d'Or good. That's the best way to describe it. After living in France for six months we have hiiiiigh standards for crepes. Some things are sacred. In my opinion, even Tandem Creperie in Travelers Rest, of all places, is way better than this, but under the circumstances, this worked. However, if you aren't spoiled by living 100 yards from a divine creperie for six months, you'd probably like Esquitx just fine. Don't mind me and my #FrancoSpoiled ways.
what we did
Gaudi Centre Reus // A museum devoted to the life and work of Gaudi, who was born in Reus, Gaudi Centre Reus was actually pretty nice. We got free admission with our hotel stay, so even though we're not big museum or art people we decided to take a shot. We actually really enjoyed it. I liked learning about his art, while B enjoyed the physics behind his architecture (once a nerd, always a nerd). Again, I wouldn't make a special trip for this, but if you find yourself in Reus, you should at least do this.