Friday, 9 December 2016

Friday 9 December – Girona

Where’s Colin? He’s where he expected to be last night – in the large, free car park that sits a five-minute walk from the centre of Girona.

We were back in Girona by 7 this morning, which wasn’t as painful a start as it might have been, as I’d been awake since 5.23, when the bin lorry came to empty the nearby bins. I think I preferred the 1-2am emptyings we experienced in southern Spain last year – at least at that time of night I’m almost guaranteed to be asleep again soon after the disturbance.

The oddness of this week with a public holiday every other day persisted, such that, even though today wasn’t a holiday, the car park in Girona (which had been almost full by 8am last time we stayed in it) still had spaces when we went out for a run at half past nine. It was full as we got back and has remained so ever since, such that every time we have returned to Colin (most recently at 5.30pm) lots of circling drivers have got excited that a space was about to open up, only to find themselves disappointed.

Late morning we finally went into town, to visit the one thing I was interested in that we hadn’t been able to see last time we were here: the Arab baths – reputed to be the best preserved in Spain. We’ve seen lots of remains of Roman baths, so I was interested to see these, built on the same model as used by the Romans, which are still largely intact (or, perhaps rebuilt on the original model – I’m always sceptical about how much of these places really are original). Mick wasn’t initially that keen on the visit, but in looking up its opening hours and price, I happened to find that bits of Season 6 of Game of Thrones were filmed in Girona, including a scene in the baths, and that was enough for Mick to be convinced that it was worth the €2 entrance fee.

This was in the bath’s changing rooms (or apodyterium, if you prefer) and Mick tells me it’s the bit that featured in Game of Thrones

Actually, having now been, I can report that it was barely worth even €2. It wasn’t a long visit.

Our opinion of Girona didn’t change on our wanderings that then ensued as we found bits of the town we had missed a couple of weeks ago. It’s an interesting town.

The sun doesn’t reach much of it at this time of year, though, due to the narrowness of the streets and the tallness of the buildings, making us wish we’d taken warmer jackets with us. Being another clear skied day, it’s a pleasant temperature when in the sun, but parky out of it.

I’m not sure if you can make out the snowy mountains in the distance on this snap. We’ve been seeing those snowy caps since Barcelona, and as we’ve got nearer I’m pretty sure that’s the ridge we walked along in July, when we ventured off the GR10 onto the HRP

A stop for coffee (inside a coffee shop; we gave up trying to find a pavement seat which was in the sun) was swiftly followed by a move over to the Jewish Quarter for lunch at a restaurant whose menu I had eyed up on our previous visit. It was a couple of Euros more than most Menu del Dia, and didn’t include drinks, but the choices looked far more interesting. These were our starters:

Yummy! Main course was paella; pudding was home-made flan.

By 2pm (a time at which most locals are only vaguely starting to think about lunch) people were already being turned away, telling of the popularity of the place, and we did feel we were being a little rushed as the next course arrived within moments of the previous dishes being taken away. The food was, however, excellent and thus even though, when the bill came, we found that the drinks were twice the price we’ve paid anywhere else, I’d still say it’s the best value meal we’ve had of the trip, when you take quality into account. It’s tempting to stick around another day just to go back tomorrow and sample more from their menu.

Book reading and a little more wandering has filled our afternoon, along with further contemplation of the maps. I’m not minded to head back into France until the middle of next week, as we’d like to retain as much heat for as long as possible before heading back to the UK, but I have only found one campsite and no Aires open in Spain to the north or east of here (bad planning – should have stayed south of here for longer!). Thus, at this moment, I know not where we’re going to head tomorrow.

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