We’ve had Villa Begur for 12 years now and there are some things we do and some places we visit every year, I guess we know what we like and we like what we know.
Pizzetta - It took me several years before I ventured inside this place. Why would I go to a pizza restaurant in Spain? I want cochinillo, cordero or paella! This place kept getting mentioned by our guests in the guest book so one year we gave it a go. We have been several times a year since. The setting is fantastic, with a lovely garden, well designed so every table feels like you’re under an olive tree. The indoor area feels seamless with the outdoor area and the lighting is fantastic. We tend to go relatively early evening with the kids and in the Summer as the sun sets the whole place is filled with beautiful warm light.
The food is great, the pizzas are cooked to perfection in a wood fired oven. Try the gambas al ajillo pizza for a great twist on Spain meets Italy. I almost always have the same, the salmon and tuna sashimi followed by fillet steak with foie gras washed down with a bottle of Pesquera, a fantastic red from Ribera del Duero. Where else in the world can you enjoy a meal like that in a beautiful setting while the kids enjoy their pizzas?
Hotel Aigua Clara - This hotel is on the way into town from the Villas. It has been owned by the same people since we bought Villa Begur, a delightful couple called Joan and Clara. They used to rent out the restaurant but for the last few years they have been running it themselves and doing a really good job of it. Out favourite night is the vinyl DJ night, tourists and locals of every age group go and enjoy the great 60s-80s music in the beautiful garden of the Cuban style colonial house and garden The food is great and reasonably priced, the gin and tonics are HUGE and delicious.
It never takes long for everybody to leave their seat and strut their stuff on the dance floor. It is always a memorable evening.
As our lunches are late and somewhat long we tend to get to the (not so) secret side beach as others are leaving, just in time for the best time of day there when the sun is not so hot, the shadows are long and the water is still refreshing. The restaurant is also a lovely place to visit in the evening, go for the jazz night when you can enjoy delicious whole monkfish with the sound of waves and jazz tingling in your ears.
Tamariu beach - Es Dofi -This is the last restaurant along the promenade in Tamariu and in our view the best. The food is similar to Sa Riera and, if anything, a little bit better with a bigger selection of dishes. Their almejas (clams) and pulpo (octopus) are particularly good. They do not take bookings so we tend to arrive before lunch, tell them we would like a table and play on the beach for a bit until it’s ready.
Other restaurants that we regularly enjoy include Can Nasi, on the way out of town towards Sa Tuna and Tapas Begur, a delicious but tiny tapas bar on the edge of the square where you help yourself to a variety of imaginative small tapas and at the end of the meal the owner counts up the surprisingly large number of cocktail sticks to calculate the bill. We also love having a drink and a nibble at sun down in Can Marc which has incredible views, a huge G&T menu and lovely tapas
For meat we tend to go to one of the excellent butchers in town or to the one at the back of the Jodofi Supermarket in the outskirts of town (by Camping Begur on the way to Tamariu). Spanish lamb and pork are both excellent whereas I prefer British beef so I tend to not buy it in Spain. For the barbecue try costillas the cordero (tiny lamb chops) or secreto iberico (the iberico secret, a cut I have not been able to find in the UK, it looks horrible and fatty but when barbecued it all melts away to leave a tender and delicious pork steak).
Last Summer (August 15) we decided to go to Villa Begur in an all electric Tesla Model S. Six people were travelling in total and, spacious though the car is, it would not have been possible with all of us in it. We decided that Claudia would fly with our 4 year old, Jessica, and that left all the boys with the luggage in the Tesla, Pete, his mate Neil and the two lads Henry and Christian.
We loaded up the Tesla Model S, and set off. We left Kent late afternoon on Friday and had a crossing booked at around 7.00pm.
The idea was to use only Superchargers and charge at the following places, the number of miles shows the distance from the previous stop.
Thanks to Matt Boyes for this chart which gives the optimum level to charge to and speed to drive at under ideal scenarios:
|Distance To Destination||Level to Charge To||Speed to Drive At|
One of the things to bear in mind for long journeys in a Tesla is that going faster does not necessarily get you to your destination quicker. The car charges much quicker when empty than when nearly full, so it is best to arrive empty and charge just enough to get to the next Supercharger. Charging from 0% to 50% from empty takes just 27 minutes, which is as long as it takes to go from 85% to 100%.
Each time we stopped we added enough electrons to take us to the next Supercharger with a small amount of buffer. The smart routing in the car is not as smart as I would have liked so I switched it off. The trip section of the energy chart, however, was very useful for telling us how much energy we would have when we got to our destination but it gave us a few false signals particularly at the start of a section.
In fact, I found the easiest way of estimating how much charge I needed was to half the miles needed to get the percentage charge and add a bit! For example, leaving Auxerre and going to Macon I charged the car to about 80% because I needed to go 152 miles. (152/2 + a bit =80)
This allowed me to blast along at 80mph on the French motorways and adjust my speed up and down as I approached my destination. It is pretty scary at first arriving with 1 or 2 % left in the battery but we soon go used to it. I was VERY careful not to miss an exit when leaving the motorways to the charging station though!
We did the whole journey without stopping and were very unlucky to get a violent rain storm in during the night when we should have been putting the miles in with less traffic. We arrived late Saturday afternoon. I think the journey was about 4 hours longer than it would have been in a petrol or diesel car but much more relaxing, enjoyable and considerably cheaper.
The journey home seemed much easier. We left Begur at around 10.00am on the Saturday and followed the same route. We had an excellent meal in Macon at a restaurant just by the Supercharger and recharged ourselves as well as the car. We then drove up through Paris and all the way to Senlis which we reached at around 1.00am. We stayed the night at the very reasonable and comfortable Ibis hotel by the Senlis Supercharger and were only a couple of hours from Calais when we woke up.
We're doing the same journey this year, and the only thing we will change is to leave earlier on the Friday for the journey down. I imagine we will not stop the night on the way down again, the pool awaiting at the end is too tempting to waste time sleeping! I am looking forward to using the self steering as well as the traffic aware cruise control on the French motorways, I just hope it doesn't send me to sleep!
We are very happy to announce that we have a new villa available to rent, which is next door to Villa Begur! It is called Villa Sa Riera and sleeps up to 9 guests in 4 bedrooms. There are 3 bathrooms (2 en suite) and it has similar beautiful views of the Islas Medes. We are working on the website, but here are some photos to give you an idea. The two villas combined will sleep 21 people! If anybody hasn't booked their Summer holiday yet, we have some August availability. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.