Just a step away from the comfort of the apartment on Carrer Gran de Gràcia…………….is the Fontana metro and hopping onto that can take you just about anywhere, but in this instance, the destination was Estacio Sants where the new high-speed AVE train from Barcelona departs for Girona and will get you from city to city in just 37 minutes.A last minute decision to escape the madness of Barcelona for a few days that has been awash with tourists and has been blisteringly hot, saw Brunyfire in the air con cool of the AVE. All the locals wisely take most of August off and flee for the hills themselves.Situated in Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region, beside the river Onyar……..……..Girona is renowned for its medieval architecture, walled Old Quarter (Barri Vell) and the Roman remains of the Força Vella fortress.
And it’s flies……..
…….which were a constant – everywhere – all the time – and only the Gironese could have turned this into a positive selling point (the gift shops were loaded with great T-shirts and jewellery carrying the fly motif).
Whilst other towns have dragons, eagles and lions appearing in their legends, the people of Girona glorify the fly – thanks to Saint Narcís, who wreaked his posthumous revenge on the plundering hoards of the King of France during the siege of 1286. Legend has it that despite the city surrendering peacefully, the French army behaved very badly – looting, pillaging and carrying out various acts of profanity including on the body of Saint Narcís himself. However, saintliness prevailed as huge flies emerged from Narcís’s body……..……..fatally biting the enemy and thus saving the city – so the story goes – but it’s a neat way to explain away an annoying pest.
But then Girona can be forgiven a lot especially when it’s such a beautiful city.The city’s history is not only embedded in its city walls, but in some of its more modest vessels, such as this fabulous medieval ‘olla’, or cooking pot………………in the Girona Art Museum which is located within the old Episcopal Palace. The works in the Museum range from iconic religious art, loaded with bling to more contemporary paintings, figurative sculptures, ceramic tiles and these humble pots.
Eating is an extremely important social activity in Catalonia and the locals of Girona take their shopping equally seriously as was illustrated during the busy Saturday outdoor market in beautiful Devesa Park.Traditional Catalan cuisine is rather like the inhabitants: solid and gutsy. Meaty dishes such as veal and blood sausage are accompanied by hearty garbanzos (chickpeas), lentejas (lentils), mongetes (white beans), or judias blancas y negras (white and black-eyed beans). And the traditional fishy paella of southerly neighbor Valencia is often transformed into noodle-based fideuà containing rabbit, chicken, and rich regional botifarra sausage. Often there is the combination of fruit with a savoury dish – soups that are chilled – like the meal served at Casa Meriata’s in Plaça Independència that started off with……. ………cold melon soup with crispy Iberica ham, followed by Pato Con Peras Catalan – Catalan Duck with Pear.
Another good day – another good meal.
The great fly image was filched from http://terriermandotcom.blogspot.com