Problems with Ice Blocks

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September 13th 2017
Published: September 14th 2017
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Issy's cold‘s still not at all good. She decides to have a day off from being a tourist so I head out on my own.

I head up the steep hill behind the apartment in our trusty hire car. Most of the roads seem to end in dead ends; they’re ridiculously narrow which makes U-turns a tad challenging. I pass some workmen digging holes in the road. They’ve barricaded off one whole lane, so it’s a slow narrow squeeze to get past. One of the workmen starts yelling at me. I hope I didn’t run over his foot. I also hope this isn't a dead end. If I’ve got to drive back past him … well I’m not sure I’d come off too well in a fight with an angry workman armed with a jackhammer. The road deteriorates into a dirt track, but the views down over Canyelles, and Almadraba, the next cove to the north, are spectacular. The downside is the road is in fact a dead end. I s’pose I could wait up here until it gets dark, but it’s not even lunchtime yet and I think I’ve already seen everything there is to see…..

I find my way up to the summit, which is known as Puig Rom. The views out over the Gulf of Roses and across into the foothills of the Pyrenees are stunning. Next stop are the remains of the seventh century Puig Rom Visigoth Fortress, which is a series of dry stone walls around the a small rise below the summit. I read that the Visigoths were tribes of nomadic Germanic people who warred with the Romans and sacked Rome in 410. They eventually settled in southern France, Spain and Portugal. They were defeated by a force of invading African Moors in the early eighth century, and their kingdom then collapsed.

I head back down into town and into the Roses Citadel and its adjoining museum. The site is massive; it’s entirely surrounded by a large stone wall and its associated towers, but unfortunately only relatively few of the original buildings seem to have survived. I read that its origins date back to the Greek occupation in the fourth century BC. Then came the Romans who sacked the city in the late third century. The most recent citadel on the site was built in 1552 on the orders of Spanish Emperor Charles V. It was abandoned in 1792, and destroyed by Napoleon's troops the following year.

I've now read about sackings a couple of times this morning, and it seems to have been quite a popular pastime in these parts in days gone by. It seems that a sacking was generally ordered by military commander and involved creating as much mayhem as possible, followed by carting off as much gold, silver and other goodies as you could lay your hands on in “sacks”.

Issy‘s asked me to get her some drugs from a chemist. I saw a one on the way to the citadel but decided to leave going there until later. This has proven to be a poor decision. It seems the chemist’s now gone home to have his siesta, and the sign on the door says he won't be back again for several hours. I wander aimlessly around the streets looking for alternative, preferably one that’s open, but it seems that siestas wait for no one. The only establishments that are open are restaurants, and I'm pretty sure that none of those sell drugs, or at the least the sort of drugs that I'm after.

I give up and focus on getting some lunch. I go into a bakery and try to explain "ham roll" to the teenage shop assistant in broken Spenglish. She stares at me with a completely blank and expressionless face, and then says "que". I feel like I'm in an episode of Fawlty Towers.

Issy’s not feeling at all well, and has decided that the best course of action in the absence of drugs is to drink whiskey. She asks me to make her a scotch and Coke with ice. Our Dutch host's freezer contains a tray that makes ice blocks in the shape of arrows, and another that makes them round with holes in the middle. Both are made out of thick rubber. I try to get some of the round ones out by turning all the compartments inside out, but the bits of rubber that make the holes are stuck fast to the ice. I worry that if I pull on the ice too hard I'll snap the bits of rubber off. I wait for the ice to partly melt, which would rather seem to defeat the purpose of having an ice tray in the first place. When I finally all the ice blocks out I refill the tray and try to lower it gently into the freezer. The rubber‘s very flexible so most of the water spills out into either the bottom of the freezer or onto the kitchen floor. Whoever invented these ice trays needs to have a serious look at themselves.

We get a table in the front row of a restaurant right next to the sand on Canyelles Beach. It feels like we’re in Fiji.

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Ice trays in our apartmentIce trays in our apartment
Ice trays in our apartment

Right up there on the list of worst ever inventions

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