Taking time out in Girona – what to do when you’re not riding a bike

By October 16, 2015Lifestyle

This week Lee’s family expanded twice with the arrival of his little nephew Jamie and his little niece (who is yet to be named!) They’re both so beautiful and we’re a very proud Uncle and Auntie. I spoke to my sister this morning and her gorgeous little boy Ryan has started to walk! I watched him toddle around Nobbies garden centre clinging onto his Panda on Facetime before Amy’s 3G threatened to run out. He’s such a cutie. These are the times when living more than a thousand miles away from your nephews and nieces sucks!

These lovely little beings are keeping me smiling in the face of a minor dental emergency. So far I have been to the dentist 4 times in the last week – two days ago I had a root canal (or at least I think that’s what it was – it was all in Spanish!) and yesterday I had the remains of my old brace scraped off the back of my teeth by a lovely lady who keep forgetting things and laughing. One more trip next week and I’ll hopefully be dentist-free for the next few years! There are several brilliant differences between dentists here and in the UK:

  1. The staff are chilled and smile lots
  2. They play soothing jazz in the treatment room to make the drilling less traumatic
  3. When you arrive for your appointment you go straight in (even when you’re early)
  4. It’s actually cheaper

Anyway, moving on from my dental trauma to something more appealing: I’ve been playing hostess to my old uni friend Joseph. Now Joseph (he wont mind me saying) is not a cyclist. This has prompted me to scribe Joseph’s Girona Bucket List, a compilation of fab things to do in Girona when you don’t ride a bike…

Joseph’s Girona Bucket List

  1. Go for a bike ride!

Yes, even when you don’t  ride a bike, riding a bike has to be at the top of the list. You can take a picnic, go find a coffee shop and get a little taster of how brilliant bikes are. I accidently took Joe on the hilliest route out of Girona on what is possibly the crappest bike in Girona (Lee’s 100 euro decathlon commuter steed with the back brake stuck on). This photo, taken only half an hour after Joe was sitting on the side of the road with the bonk (a strange affliction which happens to cyclists when you run out of energy) shows how enjoyable cycling can be! Do it. Get on a bike:

Joseph rides a bike

2. Eat ham (Catalan style) on the roof terrace with beer and watch the sunset:

To eat ham Catalan style you need tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. Spread all of the ingredients on the bread and eat with the ham. It’s gorgeous and goes very well with San Miguel.

Eating ham (Catalan style) on the roof, with beer

The sunset

3.  Eat ice-cream.

Our favourite ice-cream place is currently closed for some unbeknown reason. In the absence of this particular one, Joseph had to try out as many others as possible.

Ice-cream at Placa del Independencia

Ice-cream from Roacambolesque

4. Go for a stroll crossing Girona’s beautiful bridges and take pictures in the sunshine to make your friends jealous.

This activity is best combined with sampling Girona’s ice-cream parlours. You’ll end up with evidence something like this:

Classic view from the iron bridge.

Classic view from the stone bridge

5. Walk the wall (with a picnic to celebrate your achievements when you get to the other end)

Girona’s old town is enclosed on one side by the river and sealed on the other by a very old wall. This wall is not to be attempted by cyclists who’ve just been on a very long bike ride as its hundreds of steps are very tough on sensitive quads. Luckily, Joseph and I were on good form and made the walk just in time to munch our picnic in the gardens at the end of the wall. The views are spectacular:

6. Go tree-spotting in Park Devesa (and buy yummy fruit and veg from the market)

Taking a stroll to see the park is a must (note I say ‘stroll’, not ‘walk’. Walking is a functional, purposeful activity that gets you from A to B, strolling is a much more appealing way to get about which gives you more energy to natter and absorb your surroundings). Devesa has the most beautiful trees and on Tuesday and Saturday mornings there’s a market where you can buy cheap fruit, veg and women’s underwear.

Taking a stroll in the park

7. Recover from the morning’s activity in a café by the river.

When your legs need a rest from all that strolling there are numerous cafés to sit in and enjoy gazing out the window at the river. My current favourite is the blue café which sells ridiculously cheap and ridiculously good hamburguesas. (I’ve written it in spanish as ‘burger’ really does not do these creations justice). Here’s Joe waiting for his to arrive:

Hamburguesa time in a café by the river

8. Go to whichever festival is on at the time

There always seems to be something happening in Girona. Joseph’s trip coincided with the Fire Festival. Someone has the fun job every year of planning a fire walk around city and this year they did an amazing job of it.

Joseph and Lee on the Fire Walk

The Fire Walk even had floating vests!

9. Drink coffee at La Fabrica

La Fabrica is the trendy go-to café for cyclists looking for posh coffee and good cake. It’s non-cyclist friendly too, and Joseph and I felt at home despite not wearing lycra.

10. Kiss the Lion’s Bum

Yep, that’s not a typo. The lions bum is a bum that must kissed should the visitor wish to return to Girona. Legend says so so it must be true (luckily it’s not a live lion, just a statue of one).

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