CB 1100 Mas Grau - 8 bedrooms

The nearest little supermarket to Mas Grau is in Aiguaviva which opens 10am to 8 pm, Monday to Saturday, and on Sundays until 2 pm - year-round. For big American-style supermarkets, continue on that road through Aiguaviva and keep going straight towards Girona and after about 2 or 3 traffic circles and 4 kilometers, you come to about 4 major supermarkets, as well as a multiplex cinema, and other shopping malls, etc. The largest and best of the hypermarkets is just south of Girona city center on the way to the N-II, about 14 kms from the house, called Hipercor. Here you will find everything, including imported foodstuffs from US and UK, and fresh fish and seafood flown in daily.

In Vilobi d'Onyar, a little market town about 6 kms due south of Estanyol, you´ll find an excellent bakery, fruit and veggie shop, a fishmonger, and four or five excellent butchershops, the best of which is probably Boada´s, a few blocks out from the center of town. There is also a gas station in Vilobi on the road to Santa Coloma de Farners to the west, which has a large farmer´s market on Sunday. Santa Coloma de Farners is also known for its magnificent new day spa, MAGMA, which you can read all about at www.magma-cat.com. Unlike other spas in the area, there is no hotel at this spa - the idea here is that you pay to get in and then pay additional for any of the many different treatments and massages they offer separately. However, you can just have a swim in the thermal waters and a meal at one of the two restaurants there.



You have two restaurants within walking distance from the house. The best of these by far is the Hostal Estanyol, down by the church, also known as Cal Quim for the name of the owner, bearded Joaquim, or Quim for short. Tel: 972 440 607. In a simple but elegant dining room, with nice covered terrace for cocktails, Quim offers an inexpensive daily menu, usually including grilled meats, and at night, offers delicious a la carte dishes and a decent wine list. Dishes include varied carpaccio of duck, cod, salmon, and beef, grilled vegetables, and one of my favorites, codfish with garlic mousse on top, bacallà a la mousselina d' all. Everything is good here.



The other restaurant is L’Estanc Nou, Tel.: 972 44 05 24, which has a mid-day menu for 10 Euros for a three-course meal including wine, mostly grilled meats and some fish for entrées, but what is really nice about this place is the terraced café/bar there, and the two clay tennis courts you can use for free because the owner's son Josep just happens to be the caretaker for Mas Grau! We love hanging out at L’Estanc Nou and it you cut and paste this stupidly long link here below you’ll clearly see why we go there – often. Oh, and for all you smokers out there, the little bar doubles as a tobacco shop.



L’Estanc Nou restaurant: https://www.google.es/maps/preview/uv?hl=en&pb=!1s0x12badef87956ebdf:0xf1645d0a3b85f14e!2m5!2m2!1i80!2i80!3m1!2i100!3m1!7e1!4shttp://www.panoramio.com/photo/91604366!5sl%27estanc+nou+-+Google+Search&sa=X&ei=d0f_UrGTHrTQ7AbQ_oHACg&ved=0CJ4BEKIqMAo



If you were to continue on the paved road past Estanyol and Mas Grau towards Bescanó, after about 5 winding kms you come to Mas Casilda, another good-quality restaurant as well as horseback riding club. I have had some very satisfying menus here at midday for about 12 Euros. Tel: 972 440 207.



The area around Estanyol is criss-crossed with walking and dirt bike lanes. These are signposted as BTT and, for example, the red-marked BTT lane passing the road into Estanyol takes you to Aiguaviva in minutes, about 1600 meters! If you stay on that path it links up to the Carrilet, one of the longest bike paths in the area, built on top of a disused narrow gauge railroad track that links Olot and the coast at Sant Feliu de Guixols passing through Girona – see routes 1 and 2 in: http://www.viesverdes.cat/EN/53/RUTA-DEL-CARRILET-I.html



There are other bike and walking paths around the nearby volcanic crater at Can Crosta, and the walk was fine, but I was disappointed by the views of the craters. There are much better craters to observe in the Garrotxa region - see route 6 of my Guidebook.



The main road through Aiguaviva to Vilobi d´Onyar, turning right as you leave Estanyol, is quite narrow and winding. I prefer crossing this road going straight when coming out of Estanyol and making my way to Vilobi going through Salitja, which, aside from one very dangerous curve over a narrow bridge, is a much more relaxing drive.



If you hear loud honking from the hamlet below, chances are it is the fishmonger´s truck bringing the catch of the day to Estanyol's residents (and two 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.



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



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.



Don't forget that there is loan copy of a new edition of my 90-page Insider's Guide to the Province of Girona, which included the Costa Brava and the Low Pyrenees waiting for guests at all the houses and B&B's I work with. Please remember to leave it there when you go, and feel free to add comments to it (there are extra blank pages at the back) and I will incorporate them into the text for the benefit of future visitors...



I can also email you a copy of my guidebook if you want to have it well ahead of your stay.



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 also use mosquito repellent lotions.



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. These programs are 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.



Nearby local market days are:



Sils: Fridays



Santa Coloma: Mondays



Caldes de Malavella: Tuesdays



Banyoles: Wednesdays



Girona: Tuesdays and Saturdays in the Devesa park and small market daily in the Plaça del Lleó.



…and perhaps best of all



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






You can explore most of the beaches on the Costa Brava. Getting to and from the coast on the back roads is part of the fun. The landscape and especially the old farmhouses are magnificent!



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




It is a very long link but it works! Click on the location of your choice or select - see all.



My 94 page Guidebook, of course, has a lot on beaches!



Hi Madeline! You asked me about restaurants. Well, my favorite place in that neck of the woods is Hostal Les Mallorquines, which is on a large traffic circle on the C-63 just above the town of Sils. Above the town means towards the mountains, not towards the coast. This place offers huge daily menus for 9 Euros, huge helpings of traditional Catalan food, no frills, 100% genuine, packs 'em in every day, with lines of overweight folks out to the parking lot at peak eating hours (i.e. 2pm)... so better to go at 1pm or after 3pm.



Getting there from Estanyol is easy and involves about 15 minutes drive. The scenic route: get back on the main road you took in from Aiguaviva and turn towards Santa Coloma de Farners. Go to Santa Coloma and at the traffic circle at the end of the road turn south towards Sils and the restaurant is just after Riudarenes just off the traffic circle.



or you can get on the N-II going south towards Barcelona and turn off for Sils and the C-63 and make your way through town to the traffic circle, resto on your right.



I know people who discover this eating house and hardly eat anywhere else for their entire stay! Shame that... but I understand it! I mean 9 Euros a for that meal ???






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.



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