I got up at 9am. It should have been 8:30, but my phone was in the lounge and Izzy didn’t think to come and tell me that the alarm was going off, despite sitting next to it for the duration. Kids, huh ?

Kas was already out running and was expecting we’d be somewhere near ready for going out when she got back. We weren’t, but we were fairly close.

The plan for the day was to drive to Girona for a look around. We weren’t really sure what that would involve other than some buildings and some ice cream. When we set off I’d got it in my mind that Girona was the setting for a William Shakespeare play, but that turned out to be Verona – completely different place. In a different country. Well, two thirds of the letters in the name are the same. It’s an easy mistake, especially if you’re not well versed in the bard.

Anyway, first of all we had to get there, which gave Kas a bit of a challenge because it was her first attempt at driving the Volvo. Because we didn’t know whereabouts in Girona we were trying to get to, we were unable to use Cynthia the SatNav to help. A recipe for potential disaster, but which thankfully didn’t come to pass until we were trying to get home again.

We parked up by some medieval walls on the east side of the city centre (it’s not a very big place) and decided to take a walk around in a clockwise direction. You can walk most of the way around the walls. Calling them “medieval” is a bit of a con, on the basis that they have had to be significantly upgraded and repaired to make them walkable, but it’s been done fairly tastefully and the overall effect is quite dramatic. In several places the walls are really rather high.

It was kind of a warm day, and we quickly found that the heat was getting the better of us all. The walls were quite exposed to the sunshine and the ambient air temperature was quite fierce.

Girona_076.JPG Girona_077.JPG Girona_005.JPG Girona_078.JPG Girona_079.JPG Girona_006.JPG Girona_007.JPG Girona_080.JPG Girona_081.JPG Girona_008.JPG Girona_009.JPG Girona_010.JPG Girona_011.JPG Girona_012.JPG Girona_082.JPG Girona_083.JPG Girona_084.JPG Girona_014.JPG Girona_015.JPG Girona_017.JPG Girona_016.JPG Girona_085.JPG Girona_019.JPG Girona_021.JPG Girona_086.JPG Girona_022.JPG Girona_023.JPG Girona_024.JPG Girona_025.JPG Girona_087.JPG Girona_088.JPG Girona_089.JPG Girona_090.JPG Girona_091.JPG Girona_092.JPG Girona_093.JPG Girona_094.JPG Girona_095.JPG Girona_027.JPG Girona_001.JPG Girona_002.JPG Girona_003.JPG Girona_004.JPG Girona_013.JPG Girona_018.JPG Girona_020.JPG Girona_026.JPG Girona_028.JPG

After most of an hour we arrived at the heart of Girona’s medieval centre, the cathedral. The outside of it seems a little stark and plain when you’re used to the Gothic excesses of Northern Europe and the UK, and the fact that it isn’t symmetrical adds to a sense that it isn’t very cathedral-like (in my mind, anyway).

Before going inside we decided to grab a sandwich and a drink at a cafe in the square at the foot of the main steps. This is a location that you would normally describe as “Tommy Tourist Central”, but to be honest the prices weren’t too bad, and whilst there were plenty of passers by in the square they were generally, well, passing by rather than trying to get into this cafe. So it wasn’t an entirely unpleasant experience.

The cathedral itself offers a self-guided talkie-tour. Izzy insisted on getting one of the handsets to listen in, but then promptly handed it to someone else and didn’t pay any attention to it. The interior of the cathedral is large and church-ish. The experience was “improved” by the presence of someone playing a continuous scale of notes on the organ starting very high and gradually descending to a tone and volume that made you wish that the toilets were a little closer.

The cathedral also offers some cloisters, which are worth a walk around. No, not a Belgian tennis player. That’s Clijsters, you numpty. It’s an enclosed walkway forming a quadrangle and often attached to the warmer south side of a cathedral, and indicating a former use as a monastery. The cloisters allowed the monks to walk about outside without being disturbed by the riff-raff outside of the monastic life. Medieval monks took their monking pretty seriously.

Girona_096.JPG Girona_097.JPG Girona_098.JPG Girona_099.JPG Girona_100.JPG Girona_031.JPG Girona_101.JPG Girona_032.JPG Girona_034.JPG Girona_102.JPG Girona_103.JPG Girona_104.JPG Girona_105.JPG Girona_035.JPG Girona_029.JPG Girona_030.JPG Girona_033.JPG Girona_106.JPG Girona_107.JPG Girona_108.JPG Girona_109.JPG Girona_110.JPG Girona_111.JPG Girona_112.JPG Girona_114.JPG Girona_115.JPG Girona_052.JPG Girona_116.JPG Girona_117.JPG Girona_036.JPG Girona_054.JPG Girona_039.JPG Girona_040.JPG Girona_041.JPG Girona_042.JPG Girona_043.JPG Girona_044.JPG Girona_047.JPG Girona_045.JPG Girona_046.JPG Girona_048.JPG Girona_050.JPG

Within a hundred metres or so of the cathedral stands the Collegiate Church of Sant Feliu, which is another large and entirely unsymmetrical church. It is also quite nice inside, although that might just have been because of the lack of bladder-bursting organ music.

Just down from here is a bridge over the River Onyar, from where one can take artistic photos of the pretty coloured buildings along the east bank.

Girona_118.JPG Girona_056.JPG Girona_119.JPG Girona_057.JPG Girona_058.JPG Girona_059.JPG Girona_062.JPG Girona_060.JPG Girona_061.JPG Girona_120.JPG Girona_121.JPG Girona_063.JPG Girona_122.JPG Girona_127.JPG Girona_055.JPG Girona_064.JPG Girona_067.JPG Girona_123.JPG Girona_065.JPG Girona_066.JPG Girona_068.JPG Girona_124.JPG Girona_125.JPG Girona_069.JPG Girona_126.JPG Girona_070.JPG Girona_128.JPG Girona_129.JPG Girona_130.JPG

From here we grabbed an ice cream and walked through the old town to find the far end of the medieval walls.

The route back to the car from there was all uphill, and therefore quite unwelcome. What was also unwelcome was my total inability to locate any of the caches I attempted on the walk. I eventually threw a hissy fit and gave up.

Girona_037.JPG Girona_038.JPG Girona_131.JPG Girona_132.JPG Girona_072.JPG Girona_133.JPG Girona_134.JPG Girona_135.JPG Girona_073.JPG Girona_075.JPG Girona_136.JPG Girona_071.JPG Girona_074.JPG Girona_053.JPG

We left Girona at about 3:30pm and drove home, via the supermarket. When we arrived home the kids were in the pool before anyone could say Jack Robinson. Kas and I politely declined.

We made it “sausage and salad” night for tea and then sat down with Izzy to make a day-by-day plan for the rest of the holiday. We nearly stuck to it.

On that same evening I also started to make notes on the laptop for these blog posts, and I began reading one of the two Iain M. Banks books I’d taken with me – The Hydrogen Sonata.