Tim likes to travel. Follow his adventures as he explores the world.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Girona, Spain: Costa Brava and a Bit of Basketball

Synopsis: Since Emilito has a basketball tournament in Girona during semana santa, the holy week of Easter, the entire family sets out to go support him in his games and take advantage of seeing the beautiful coastline of Costa Brava. This is the first multi-day trip I'm taking with the family, so I'm not going to make any plans and just go with the flow. Plus Emilio is an enthusiastic tour guide and will take us to see some great sights.

Trip Overview:
Day 1: Set out at 2am on a six hour drive. Emilio and I take turns driving while the ladies sleep in the back. Emilito is on the bus with his teammates. We stop at Porta De Barcelona for breakfast, and what do you know - all carbs! Glad I brought my coconut oil.

We arrive in Girona and check into the apartment, in a nice and good location, close to the historic center. We go to Emilito's first game and they are clearly tired and play poorly, but win by one.

Along with the parents of the other players, we head into center of Girona and grab lunch. In the second basketball game, they play way better and win easily. We say goodbye to Emilito for the night and head to apartment for a siesta. Around dinnertime (remember it's late here in Spain), we go to a Japanese restaurant and it's quite delicious. 

Thoughts: Catalan is like Castilian and French had a baby, yet I still don't understand. Thankfully, everyone still speaks Castilian here. I notice many flags and posters for independence, just like I saw in Basque Country. 


basketball tip-off
Go Emilito!

The family watching intensely
The family watching intensely



The beautiful cathedral in Girona
The beautiful cathedral in Girona


Rocky-style


Flag of Catalunya
Flag of Catalunya

Emilio and I atop the cathedral with St. Felix Church behind
Emilio and I atop the cathedral with St. Felix Church behind

Mariasun and I in the Plaza de la Independencia
Mariasun and I in the Plaza de la Independencia

Not sure what it is but it looks cool
Not sure what it is but it looks cool

Japanese dinner in Spain
Japanese dinner in Spain


Day 2: Wake up early to do some TRX. Then cook breakfast for the family. They seem grateful, as I hear no complaints. Head back to the gym to watch the first game of the day. Not sure what's going on but they get destroyed. 

Again with the other parents, we go into town for lunch. The second game is a nail bitter and they win in the last minute. Unfortunately, because they lost by so much in the last game, despite their 3-1 record, they will play for 9th place tomorrow. Say goodbye to Emilito again and hit the road.

First stop is at Banyoles and it's a quaint town with a large lake. We decide to walk to the historic center and grab merienda. I eat pan tumaca (bread with olive oil and tomato) with an assortment of jamons

Next we drive to Besalú, as night is setting. There is a large bridge in the middle of the town and it is really spectacular.  We spend a significant amount of time taking pictures on the bridge, before actually seeing the town. Then, we eat dinner with live entertainment.

Thoughts: I am trying as much Catalan food as I can, at the enthusiastic behest of Emilio and Mariasun. There is free wifi in Girona but I never connected to it. The excursion today was really cool. We are really flying by the seam of our pants here, making up plans as we go. Emilio knows the area best, so we just go with whatever he suggests. 


Where I make the magic happen
Where I make the magic happen


The beautiful buildings along the river in Girona
The beautiful buildings along the river in Girona


Overlooking L'Estany de Banyoles, the largest lake in Catalunya
Overlooking L'Estany de Banyoles, the largest lake in Catalunya


Enjoying a snack in the historic center of Banyoles
Enjoying a snack in the historic center of Banyoles


The amazing bridge in Besalú
The amazing bridge in Besalú


Dinner and a show


Day 3: Cook breakfast for the family again, because I'm such a nice guy. Emilito has early game that they win easily. He and teammates stay to watch the final games while we walk over to El Celler de la Roca, a Michelin three-star restaurant, and voted best restaurant in the wold in 2013, but it is closed.

Next, we head to Empúries, but stop along the way, suddenly, in Púbol, to see the Castle of Púbol, aka Casa Museu Castell Gala-Dali, part of the Dali Triangle, featuring history and art of surrealist painter Salvador Dali. I didn't recognize the name, but upon seeing one of his most famous works, The Persistence of Memory, I realized who he was.

We continue to Empúries, but this time, stop in Peratallada, an ancient medieval city, and it's not much to scoff at. I've seen much better ones like Carcassonne and Les Baux en Provence.

Still heading in the direction of Empúries, but this time stop at the beach in L'Estartit, admiring the Illes Medes (Medes Islands), and hang out on the beach.

Finally, we reach Empúries, but the ruins there are closed, so we walk along the beach, and check out the coastline. As we walk toward the restaurant for dinner, we see a beautiful full moon lighting up the sea and coast. We enjoy dinner with the same scenery, before heading back to Girona.

Thoughts: Catalunya has quite a bit of things to see and do. I'll definitely have to come back here to see the rest of the Costa Brava. 


The guys after their win
The guys after their win


2013 Best Restaurant in the World, according to Restaurant magazine
2013 Best Restaurant in the World, according to Restaurant magazine

Nice little restaurant in Pubol
Nice little restaurant in Púbol


Dali and I
Dali and I


In the Gala-Dali house gardens admiring some sculptures
In the Gala-Dali house gardens admiring some sculptures


Medieval city of Pertalla
Medieval city of Peratallada


You can't tell me he doesn't look like Papa Smurf
You can't tell me he doesn't look like Papa Smurf


Helping Emilio see the world from my point of view
Helping Emilio see the world from my point of view in L'Estartit



The scenic beach at Empúries


Mariasun seizing the night moon
Mariasun putting a beautiful moon in the sky for us to enjoy


Day 4: Another amazing breakfast, made by yours truly. Today we only have a few hours to see some more of Girona before we drive back home. We walk around three types of ancient walls: medieval, Carolingian, and Roman. The medieval has the best city view, though from the Carolingian walls you can see the most. Our wall tour is followed by lunch in the square in front of the university, and then we hit the road.

Thoughts: A nice quick tour around the city again before hitting the road home. I ate a dessert with a lot sugar and I felt it. 



Kissing the lioness' butt for luck
Kissing the lioness' butt for luck 

Let's explore some ancient walls
Let's explore some ancient walls

From atop the medieval walls with a great view of the city
From atop the medieval walls with a great view of the city

Lunch at Campus on campus of Girona University
Lunch at Campus on campus of Girona University

Final Thoughts: The slogan for this trip was cambia de planes (change of plans) as we planned one thing and did something else. This was a different type of trip than I'm used to, as we relaxed more, but it was still nice, more like a vacation. The weather we had was just amazing. Spring is finally here! I didn't get to see the hooded men of semana santa, who apparently the KKK stole the idea from, so maybe next year. The "Spanish" language is not just Castilian, but Catalan, Valenciano, Euskara, Mallorquin, and surely others.  So I really I'm not learning "Spanish", but Castilian. 


Share:
Location: Girona, Province of Girona, Spain

Subscribe & Travel with the TMax

* indicates required

Popular Posts

Countries Visited

Instagram

YouTube

Badges