Saturday, January 10, 2015

Girona: A Beautiful Catalonian Roman City (and a surprise lunch in Banyuls sur Mer, France!)

Sean and I took two day trips to Girona a couple of days before he went back to Paris - one in the evening, and one the next morning. Girona is a beautiful, Roman/medieval town in Catalonia with a rich history.  We visited the tower, the cathedral, one of the many museums, and had a wonderful three course lunch for 16 euros in a classy restaurant. The evening before, on our mini trip, we had some of the best gelato I have every tasted (in an Italian shop). Oh, and I swear I didn't stage the photo where we found half empty shotglasses of scotch on the top of the tower Sunday morning!

 Here are a few historical facts about Girona, Catalonia, Spain (taken from the town's history museum):

  • In the years 100 - 200 AD, Palestine was part of the Roman Empire. The Jews revolted against the Romans and their religion, and had to flee the country. Many Jews settled  in small towns along the Mediterranean coast
  • Between the years 900 and 1300 AD, Jews lived peacefully in their settlements in Girona and Christians and Jews coexisted peacefully
  • Montjuic (the Jewish mountain) was an area of Barcelona where many Jews settled
  • In 1320, Christian crusaders attacked Barcelona and surrounding towns
  • in 1348, the Black Plague occured, and the Jews were accused of "poisoning waters"
  • The Jews were heavily discriminated against for their religion and their practice of saving money and lending it out to others with interest charges
  • In 1391, there was a massive attack on the Jewish Quarter
  • By the mid 1400s, Jews were confined to the Call (the ghetto) and were not allowed to be in any other part of the town
  • In 1492, all Jews were expelled from Girona
  • Jewish practices were carried out in secret, but anyone found out was killed
  • In 1809, the French captured Girona under Napoleon's rule after a 7 month siege

The cathedral

Girona Tower

Girona - Tower

View from the top of the tower -someone must have been drinking last night!

Roman Baths, Girona

Cobblestone houses in town

Cathedral in the mountains

An Artistic Bench

Gelatiamo Italian Ice cream - I LOVE IT!

So, the reason we took TWO trips to Girona is that on the Saturday, when we were supposed to visit the sites, we looked on our Google Maps app and realised that FRANCE would only be a one-hour detour. France!!!  Our conversation went something like this:

 - Sean: Want to go to France?
- Me: Sean, don't I need my passport to go to France?" (his was in the glove compartment)
 - Sean: Well, technically. But you could show your Spanish residence card. The worst thing they'd do would be turn us around at the border..."

So, we said, "What the hell, we'll have lunch in France!"  

Just across the Spanish border, on the Costa Brava is a little town called Banyuls-sur-Mer. Almost everything was closed of course, as it was the holiday season, but we managed to find a little wraps stand and had lunch on a bench by the sea.  I had the chance to practice a tiny bit of French (I really miss it!!!). I love road tripping (especially when I don't have to drive ;)
Banyuls sur Mer, France


Pam said...

wow, Sapna soooo jealous

Sapna said...

Aww...haha remember that I am living life on a tiny student budget ;) You are welcome to visit me anytime!