By Brian Canty
Next month I’ll be celebrating three years in Girona and I’m just amazed at how quickly the time has gone.
I still have the most vivid memories of those early days and weeks of arriving on 94/96 Carrer de la Rutlla, a street that meant absolutely nothing to me back in late August 2014 when I touched down.
Nowadays I call the street by a different name: my street. Though ‘my’ street is actually Carrer de la Creu, it’s Carrer de la Rutlla I like to call my own because it was where I first lived in Girona – and I simply love it.
Why? Well, where to start…
I love the old guy about halfway up between C/Ultonia and C/Creu who works in a dimply lit dungeon sharpening knives and scissors and other bits and pieces.
He’s always busy, never (ever) lifts his head to see what’s going on outside and is just consumed in his trade. I often wonder is it actually just a robot in there.
There’s another guy, rather robust looking, who stands outside the 24h shop and never seems to do anything aside from be there, scanning left and right like someone in the crowd during Wimbledon.
My favourite people are the four (three men and a lady) who work in the American-themed joint Kruskat Burger, just opposite where I used to live on Rutlla.
I love them because they were the first to welcome me to Girona and that meant allowing me type stories using their Wi-Fi as I sipped green tea or an agua amb gas for two hours.
Their burgers were – and still are, sensational and the American rock anthems blasting out no less so. The tracks repeated themselves but that was okay and on my Spotify playlist ‘Canty Favourites’ I have at least 10 songs they used play here. For fear of being chastised, I will keep the songs private.
I get my haircut on Rutlla as there are five barbers within 300 metres of each other.
I have spent thousands on bread, eggs, ham, cheese, chorizo, milk, bananas and wine in Novavenda. The girls in the shop always greet me and tell me take my bag off my back and leave it at the door like everyone else.
I enquire about house prices every so often in the two letting agents on Rutlla. I get my NIE laminated in the photocopying shop when it gets tatty.
I buy outrageously expensive healthy food in BioNefre though I swore I wouldn’t come back when the lady didn’t allow me take a trolley home once.
I always say I don’t want a customer loyalty card as a kind of mini-revenge.
There is a dog groomers where I stop and stare at the dogs getting their hair done inside the window. They look back at me and I’m sure they smile and think, ‘fuck yeah!’
I cycle down this one-way street the wrong way every day and smile at everyone because I know I’m at fault. I see the same people at the same time every day and I think they’ve just accepted this is how it’s going to be. I kill them with over-the-top waves and smiles.
There’s a pizza place (Tele Pizza) I’ve only eaten in once. It mainly attracts kids who play keepy-uppy and skateboard in the small square outside.
I just love the street and everyone on it! Cars take forever to get into the underground spaces and I am often held up…but that’s okay because I piss them off as well.
The place just warms me and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Lee and Louise don’t like it and we’ve had some discussion about me moving closer to town.
You see, they are ‘townies’ who do not know anything but the Old Town. When I invite them over for dinner Lee moans it’s too far – and for a man who enjoys food, that is quite something.
But I make no apologies. Carrer de la Rutlla is Girona in a nutshell!