Most of my summers have been spent in L’Estartit (Girona), where I learnt how to swim, how to make friends in a foreign language, how to survive on a diet of coco pops and alcopops and that Malibu mixed with milk is not actually a nice drink. Before the tourism boom of the 1960s, L’Estartit was a tiny fishing town. The L’Estartit that I knew, however, was the one of British pub quizzes, Dutch teenagers, foam parties, and thong vending machines. I used to be mesmerised by the latter and even purchased one at the age of 9 only to “ewww” and “ahhhh” at it for about five seconds before someone threw it away. Another souvenir I purchased at the time was a squeaky monkey which let out a massive penis when squeezed. Now that I think about it, maybe it was a priest and not a monkey, or maybe both. Nice Catholic education there, mum and dad.
Anyway, I have always loved trying to imagine what this little coastal town looked like before the buzzing neon signs, decaying nightclubs and drunk Brits. The other day, quite by coincidence, I came across this gem of a film which was filmed there in 1958, before tourism swallowed up the coast. In it you can see what the town looked like before it even had streets, back when people spent their time making fishing nets on the beach, before anybody tried to sell you dodgy coke. Sea Fury (Cy Endfield, 1958) is available on youtube. It’s not even a good film, and Luciana Paluzzi’s Spanish accent is hilarious, but the views of L’Estartit are magnificent.