If you think for one minute I’m going to show you pictures of naked people on the beach — you’d be right.
But don’t call the porn police just yet — we’re talking European I-don’t-give-a-damn-what-you-think, not American prudence. 😉
I was invited with friends to “take a walk to the beach.” I didn’t know what to expect of Costa Brava in northern Spain. Turned out to be a forced march up and down the side of a mountain, with loose rocks and fallen trees. I was using my camera as an excuse to take frequent breaks (so I could breathe). I was snapping beautiful shots of crystal-clear water, and spectacular cliffs that could plunge you into the boulder-ridden, shallow surf below…. Oh wait, we were talking about nekid swimmers.
Anyway. Spain isn’t bothered with the fear of nudity that we have in the U.S. All the beaches that we’ve gone to here have had, at the very least, topless women. And sometimes bottom-less men. But my favorite nudies are the toddlers. It’s so much fun to watch them running around on the beach, not a care in the world, with their little bums shining in the sun. And the sun hats are the best part. Nothing to wear but a hat — when you’re 2.
I was really surprised that I hadn’t spotted any nude sun bathers or swimmers on the rugged Costa Brava. Especially because it has some really remote beaches. Then I reviewed my photos. And sure enough, there they were. I didn’t even see them when we were scrambling over the rocks. And I nearly overlooked them in the photo. Their old-fart pale skin was perfect camouflage on the tan-pebbled beach. If not for the blue towel, you wouldn’t see them at all (that’s your hint). So here’s your cheap thrill for the day — Nude Beach in Spain. 😉
And all good hikes need food, right?
Instead of planning, cooking, packing, and all that rigamarole, my friends said “We’ll make a quick stop by a little place we know and grab some bocadillos (sandwiches).” They weren’t kidding. It literally took them 5 minutes to pull up, park half-assed on the curb as Spaniards tend to do, run in, and buy pre-made sandwiches and a couple of snacks and drinks. A typical Spanish picnic.
But before you turn your nose up at store-bought pre-made sandwiches, you need to know the secret. Bocadillos — at leat the best kind — are made with fresh baguettes, and thin slices of the very best ingredients. Jamon Iberico (the highest quality cured Spanish ham) was our choice. Along with the freshest potato chips you’ll ever taste, some fruit, and a Coke (oh well, I guess I can give them that one) or fruit juice. Personally, I’d substitute a mini bottle of wine, but they promised me wine when we got home that evening. I think that was the carrot to get me to go along. Super simple and easy to schlep up the side of the cliff.
My rickety knees survived (how, I do NOT know), and it was a spectacular day. Even though I did miss the nudists.
Just in case you ever want to try an authentic Spanish picnic, here’s the “recipe” — if you can call it that — for Spanish Bocadillos. Enjoy!
- Fresh, crispy baguettes -- small individual ones or large ones cut into about 6" sections
- Fresh grated tomato
- Olive oil
- Spanish Jamon (if you can get it)
- Thin sliced cured Spanish Chorizo
- Spanish Tortilla de Patatas -- Spanish potato and onion omelette
- American cured ham
- Cheese - whatever you like
- Roasted Red Peppers
- Sauteed mushrooms
- Sandwiches in Spain are typically very light on ingredients -- they don't go for our type of see-if-you-can-fit-this-in-your-mouth giant things. Well, theirs can be quite giant as far as the length of the bread, but typically the inside of the sandwich is kept simple, to enjoy the special ingredients.
- One of the most typical Spanish sandwiches is made by splitting a baguette in half, spreading it with a thin layer of grated tomato, and a light drizzle of olive oil. Then top with a thin layer of super-thin sliced Jamon Serrano or Jamon Iberico -- cured Spanish ham. Wrap in aluminum foil or re-usable wraps, and put on your hiking boots.
- These are also fun to include in a tapas spread. If you can find very small crunchy baguettes, about 4 -5 inches long, you can make little "flautas" - flutes -- with any of the ingredients you choose. I've listed a few typical options above. But you can experiment and create your own Bocadillo Masterpiece. Just don't over-do the ingredients.
By the way, if you haven’t yet gotten your free copy of The 6 Hour Lunch — head on over here and download it now.