CB 500 Casanova de Ferrando - 10 bedrooms

Keep in mind that the Costa Brava is tiny, 60x90 kilometers, and you can explore the entire region easily from Casanova de Ferrando. I recommend you try to take a lot of back roads while you are here. The landscape and the old farmhouses you will pass on route to the beaches or the mountains are just gorgeous, similar (but different) to the much more famous Tuscany in Italy or the Côte d’Azur in France. Oh, and France is half an hour to the north. Towns worth visiting in France are Ceret inland and Cotlliure on the coast. The drive from Cotlliure to Girona along the coast is incredibly spectacular, the extremely winding high-coastal road affording fantastic views, but the road is treacherously winding, and the kids in the back are bound to throw up if you do this drive with them in the car. Best to take the AP-7 and make your way from there avoiding the road through Portbou.

Fornells area restaurants:

In the village there are two restaurants worth mentioning, La Placeta and the Altamira, neither of them are anything to write home about but both are correct and with prix fix midday menus of about 12 Euros, all included, which means first course, second course, dessert, wine or beer or softdrink, & bread – so really it is a very good deal. Menus are usually on offer only at midday. At night most restaurants go à la carte only, but still not expensive! At the Civic Center they do decent combination platters and it is a good place to watch a football game – especially Barça - as they have PayPerView TV. The rest of the restaurants in the village are not really recommendable right now, but that might change soon as one of them is about to change hands…

In Fornells, Can Tonet offers take away prepared foods, like paellas and stews, quite good and not expensive. They close on Sundays and for the entire month of August. Order your takeaway paellas a day in advance. In nearby Quart there is another takeaway, Quart al Plat, on the main road through town. I’m told Quart al Plat is even better than Can Tonet and a lot cheaper, with a midday menu of just 8 Euros. Not bad!

In nearby Llambilles you’ll find three restaurants, El Nou, L’Escon, and for fresh fish Las Rias Gallegas. All three of which are good and inexpensive. In Campllong Cal Xiquet is outstanding, but more expensive. A bit further away in Girona city, you have hundreds of restaurants of every description, and the best areas of Girona for restaurants are the Plaça del Cul Lleona , the Rambles, and above all the Plaza de Independencia, where there are lots of attractive terraced restaurants all competing for your patronage. The atmosphere is festive and there is an international crowd of locals, tourists, and ex-pats.

Over towards Playa de Aro you have fancy Els Tinars, a beautiful old masia turned quality restaurant, and in town of Playa d’Aro you have Ca la Maria, for paellas and seafood. Also on the coast San Feliu de Guixols also has a huge selection of restaurants huddled around the old town, which makes for a nice walk.

Shopping:

In Fornells village there are two supermarkets, the SPAR, which is new, quite large, and with a good selection of fresh fish and really good freshly baked bread. The DIA supermarket is a discount chain with good and cheap basics, like water (you have to buy your drinking water, the tap water is not recommended), milk, juices,beer, pasta, rice, etc… In Fornells there is also a Pharmacy, a tobacconist, and a couple of terraced cafés. On Sundays there is take away roast chicken on a spit sold in the main Plaza de Fornells, and in Aiguaviva, on the other side of the AP-7 beyond the airport, there is a supermarket that opens until 2pm that is locally renowned for the quality of its meats, including a wide variety of homemade sausages. Highly recommended to buy here for your barbecues and the place is really easy to find.

Most of the large supermarket chains are located along the rotundas and main N-II road heading in towards Girona. In the first roundabout is the Mercadona supermarket, where you’ll find everything, good quality, good prices. Try the nutbread or pan de nueces they make there. Delicious. Fresh seafood is good too. If you are very choosy and looking for the best quality and largest selection, make your way further into Girona on the N-II to the large Hipercor, with everything from imported foodstuffs (peanut butter, maple syrup, pancake mix – etc) to fancy foods, like lobsters and higher end wines and spirits. For a larger selection of wine and spirits you have the Wine Palace, which you will pass on the way to the Hipercor.

Nearby local market days are:

Sils: Fridays

Santa Coloma: Mondays

Caldes de Malavella: Tuesdays

Girona: Tuesdays and Saturdays in the Devesa park

…and perhaps best of all

Sant Feliu de Guixols, Sunday mornings, right on the beach

Miscellaneous:

In Fornells the CAP is the Center for Primary Medical Attention for cuts and bruises, but if you have an emergency call Montserrat or me (Charlie) and we will help direct you to the Parc Hospitaliri Marti Julia en Salt, the nearest big hospital over by Girona. Europeans will want to be sure to have their blue and grey EU card ensuring free medical care.

For those of you who want to visit a bodega or vineyard, Montserrat has info for you at the house. The best vineyard to visit is Perelada, just on the other side of Figueres.

The nearest horseback riding club is at Cavall de Mar in Llagostera.

You have spas in Caldes de Malavella and 2 day spas in Sta Coloma de Farners, especially recommended is the Magma. Check this online http://www.magma-cat.com/en

The Fornells Pitch and Putt is right next door to Casanova de Ferrando: http://www.pitchandputtfornells.cat/

The nearest golf course is the PGA at Caldes de Malavella, a quick 12 km down the A-2 freeway from Fornells. My website and my guidebook have info on all 14 golf courses in the area, all within half an hour from Fornells!

There are about a dozen Water Parks with slides along the coast, including aquadiver.com, waterworld.es, aquabrava.com and marineland.es.

Port Aventura is less than 2 hours drive south on the AP-7. With diabolical rides like the Dragon Kahn, Shambalah, Furio Bacco, etc… this place is bound to give your heart a jump start. Take it from me. It takes a lot of guts to get on one of those things! Try to go early and during the week and avoid local holidays. It is important you try to go on off-days for locals as lines for the rides can be very long .

Go Karting is very popular and quite sophisticated – nothing like when I was growing up. These cars are fast and scary. Nearest to Fornells you have Multipistes, on the N-II at Km 699.5 is the Sils go-karting circuit, with a range of activities from adult to kiddy go-karts, a very challenging motocross circuit, pocket bikes, crazy golf, paintball, children´s area and cafeteria. It is quite a spread! see: http://www.multipistes.com and click on English at the bottom of the page.

Check with www.renfe.com for train schedules. Not all trains stop at Fornells (only the slow ones on the milk route) so you might find you have to drive to Girona and pay for parking to pick up and drop off guests there. However (and this is a good tip) all trains stop at Caldes de Malavella, and there is free parking there, and it is faster to drive the 14 km to Caldes, south of Fornells, than the 8 km into Girona.

Montserrat insists that I explain that one of the great advantages of the location of Casanova de Ferrando is it’s proximity to Girona, where you will find all sorts of services situated within the metropolitan area instead of dispersed throughout the countryside. While being surrounded by attractive countryside and beautiful farmhouses, Casanova de Ferrando is near the airport, the city, the beaches, the mountains, and all sorts of conveniences. We are sure you will enjoy the house and the area in equal measure…

Montserrat and Charlie


Other assorted info:

If you hear loud honking from the village, chances are it is the fishmonger´s truck bringing the morning’s fresh catch to Fornells’ residents (and its restaurants).

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As far as music and entertainment, the best listings are probably in the local "el Punt", or the "Avui" newspapers, and you´ll want to check the listings of the back pages under Agenda, with listings of what festa majors (town festivals), concerts, and balls (dances) are on offer. I usually use the excuse of checking the local paper to justify going into a bar and have a coffee or a drink while looking over the bar´s copy of the papers.

It is a bit early in the season for me to know what the programming is for summer, but aside from the usual daily assortment of Festa Major's throughout July and August, there is the jazz festivals at Calella de Palafrugell, and of course the big classical music festivals at Perelada casino grounds, Torroella de Montgris festival, and the Schubertiada in Vilabertran. All three of these festivals are easy to find online.

I don't think there will be any football in July and August, but you might want to check the Barca listing on their website.

To buy tickets on-line for shows and sporting events:

www.telentrada.com

or

www.barcelonatickets.com

The later is the best of the two and is in English.

Here is a full list of 195 beaches on the Costa Brava provided by the Tourism Board:

http://en.costabrava.org/categories/subcategory.aspx?t=beaches-and-coves&com=QwBhAHQAZQBnAG8AcgB5AEkARABcAEQAQQBUAEEAfAAxADMANgB8AFAAQQBSAEEATQBfAEYASQBMAFQARQBSAHwALAAsAFwA&Page=1


Quickies:

- If it is hot, do as the locals. Keep house shutters and doors closed during the day, and open up at night and early morning to air out when the temps are low. The thick stone walls keep cool air in and hot air out.

- If there are flies, buy the green slow-burning coils for outdoor use that help keep the flies and bees away. especially during your outdoor meals. The best known brand is Cruz Verde.

- If there are mosquitoes at night, use bug-plugs , either liquid or tablets. There are usually some around the house and more can be purchased for about 5 Euros and they work quite well - see Raid, Bloom, Fogo, Cruz Verde products in Drug Stores or Supermarkets everywhere. You can use mosquito repellent lotions when you are in the garden. I tend to get bitten a lot, my wife and kids not at all!

Spanish TV is now 100% digital. You have to turn the digital receiver on and then hit the AV or Video button on the TV zapper to active this outside source, then you switch over to the digital zapper. There are about 35 channels, most of them garbage, but there are 3 24-hour children´s channels (Disney, Clan, and Canal 3/300) a Sports Channel and 4 or 5 news channels, and the great thing about digital is that foreign shows (mostly US series and movies) can be seen in original version. The movies usually start around 10pm. Your Digital zapper will have a button labeled AUDIO or LANG or something like that, and once you click on that, you can opt between dubbed and original version. There are also buttons to see information on the present and future programming, text TV (weather, flights, etc) and lot´s of other extras.

This is not cable TV. It is 100% free, but in many ways more technologically interactive and sophisticated than either cable or normal TV.


Bicycle rental: example of prices based on 4 bicycles delivered to your hours: €17 per day, 2 days = €27, 3 days=€32, as of 4th day, €10 per day. Includes hemlet.

See photos

www.Bicicarril.com

Address: Carrer Pujada de l'Estació, s/n, 17170 Amer, Girona, Girona, Spain

Amer is a town on the C-63 just up from Sils after Santa Coloma de Farners.

They deliver bicycles. Have the caretaker or owner of your house explain to them where to have the bikes delivered.

Phone:+34 646 02 73 72

I look forward to hearing from you.