Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?
*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?
Some 30+ people have gathered around me. They are chanting-cheering, hitting a large piece of wood in our middle with thin long sticks. It is covered in a grey blanket and slightly lifted from the ground at one end, creating a small space underneath. El Tió. The Tió brings Christmas presents to the Catalan children, who have renounced Father Christmas, Baby Jesus or Reindeer Rudolph in favour of … tree trunks.
“But … Even the small children already sing, ‘shit’ and ‘hit’ all the time?!” My mum, slightly incredulous at the ubiquitous use of “cagar” & “caganers” “shitting” in a Catalan Christmas. “Ah, yes”, Marc and his Catalan family proudly respond with a wink. “It’s not so strong here and after all, everybody uses it without even thinking. Just natural, don’t you think?!”
Completely natural. You must love Catalonia and all the weird and wonderful things Catalan people do, setting them apart from the rest of Spain. Have a look at this.
“Oh, what’s this?”, I exclaim, browsing through a book called The Colours of Sitges. A town located some thirty minutes drive south of Barcelona, it is famous for its “Xató” dish, a one-of-a-kind salad salsa made from almond crumbs, pepper essence, lots and lots of excellent olive oil, bread with red wine vinegar, and roasted garlic. This Xató salsa is then served on top of a bed of lettuce and mixed with black and green olives, tuna, codfish and anchovies from l’Escala, the sweet little seaside-town I’ve already told you about here. Heavenly delicious! Bon profit!
Places like Sitges beach or the Costa Brava’s many little coves tucked away along the coastline are perfect (and tempting) to go for a swim, even now in winter’s time. At the heat of midday, the sun may well warm up to over 20°C, and the Mediterranean Sea is not as cold as I had imagined. Hm! Would you dare?