I’m not normally so organised as to be planning in April what I will be doing six months on, but having arrived home from 3 days in Barcelona I was straight on the internet to book another short break. Okay we were going to America in May/June but the thought of nothing else planned for the rest of the year left me down. As it turned out, I came up with a bargain. Return flights, a week’s car hire and a week’s accommodation for two people only €450 almost as cheap as staying at home!
Now some scoff when I say I don´t mind travelling on the cheap, I just love visiting places, and personally, can´t see any sense in paying a fortune for a hotel when all I am going to use it for is to sleep. Providing it is in a good location, the bed is clean and comfortable and there is lashings of hot water after a long days travel it suits. I mostly choose chains like Ibis and they really take some beating on price and quality.
For this visit, we wanted to retrace our steps to a few places. I particularly wanted to go back to Girona. We both wanted to spend more than one day in Colliour and I know it sounds pathetic but when we were last in Carcassonne, we bought a wall plaque for the garden and I wanted more! That was the basic route set, however, if we did a bit of a dogs-leg, on the return journey we could include Tarragona, where we spent our honeymoon, over 45 years ago.
The majority of our trip was going to be in Catalonia as we Brits say, but being in Spain perhaps we should say Cataluña, or even Catalunya in Catalán. To the untrained ear, they all sound the same so if you have to say it just mumble. Catalán is also the language spoken but they also speak the Spanish we learnt in school (if really pushed). Not that any of it is of use to us being rubbish at languages but someone reading this might find that snipped of information useful.
Although technically this area is part of Spain, the people believe it is a different country and who am I to disagree. In fact the weekend we arrived home from our trip the Catalan people went to the polls to vote for their independence.
I particularly like the region as it’s close to the French border so you can easily take the best from each depending whether you are looking for pretty pueblos, meandering rivers, mountains or beaches.
I won’t cover old ground in Girona other than to say we meandered up the twisting streets, down by the river, through arches and alleyways, around the colourful buildings and almost crawled up the never-ending steps to the gothic cathedral, I adore this city. We did though manage to see areas we had missed on our previous visit such as the Jewish quarter, the fascinating Museu d’Història dels Jueus, in a 15th-century synagogue and the Museu del Cinema, with its collection of props including Johnny Depp’s scissor hands and Dustin Hoffman’s sequinned dress from Tootsie.
For such a small city, there is an abundance of decent accommodation, we stayed at the Ibis a short walk on the outskirts of town but exceptionally cheap and with the most comfortable beds imaginable at the end of a long days sightseeing.