M M M My Girona

If your town had been attacked 25 times over the centuries you would definitely want to surround it with solid stone walls (entrance photo here) which is exactly what the Romans did 2000 years ago. Charlemagne expanded them in the 800s, then they were enlarged in the 14th century, and now thanks to some recent restoration work, we were standing on the walls (photo across the top) that still encircle most of what was the medieval heart of Girona, Spain. That’s where we began our walking tour of this capital city that has attracted so much attention from so many potential conquerors including Napoleon Bonaparte. 

Cathedral steps

We’ve never seen the TV series “Game of Thrones”, however, fans of the show come to Girona to see the locations where some scenes were filmed. There’s a link at the bottom of this page that describes those spots and our next stop was one of them. There are 86 steps in front of St. Mary’s Cathedral that lead up to the second largest nave in the world, only smaller than St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. The adjacent museum houses the 1000-year-old Tapestry of Creation that the tourist leaflet describes as historically significant as the Bayeux Tapestry that we had visited in Normandy.

Arab baths entrance

Two steps from there we were at the Arab Baths that actually have medieval roots, first mentioned in 1194, and follow the Greek and Roman traditions for buildings like this. Even the names of the various rooms comply: the Tepidarium to start with a warm bath; continuing with the Caldarium for steam and dry heat; ending with the chill of the Frigidarium. Senior tickets were 2€.

Jewish quarter courtyard

At the end of the 15th century, the Catholic monarchs of Spain expelled the Jews from the country, including Girona’s neighborhood known as El Call. This part of town developed in the 1100s and over the next 300 years grew into Spain’s largest Jewish community, supporting one of Europe’s most important Kabbalistic schools. It’s here that we saw the Museum of Jewish History that contains artifacts from excavations in the area.

Church St Feliu

Before the current cathedral started serving in that capacity in the 11th century, the Church of St. Feliu had that duty on the site where a religious building has stood since at least the 6th century. Inside there are tombs going back to 200 AD and outside the bell tower is unusually flat at the top as a result of being struck by lightning and never restored to its original pointed shape.

Onyar river view

Since we had to cross back over the Onyra River to return to the train station we went via the Eiffel bridge Pont de les Peixateries Velles to capture a classic view of the colorful apartment buildings that line the river. We continued on to Plaça de la Independència, a square surrounded by restaurants and bars. These arcaded buildings are all dedicated to the citizens who helped defend the city against the French for 2 years in 1808. A short walk to the station put us on a train that returned us to Figueres in less than 15 minutes. 

Point of information: Today’s title was inspired by the 1979 hit single by The Knack called “My Sharona”.

Game of Thrones filming spots in Girona:

https://www.renfe-sncf.com/fr-fr/blog/destinations/gerone/game-of-thrones

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