Sunday, March 19, 2017

We're game for Girona

Braavos and Arya Stark are not familiar to me, but for fans of "Game of Thrones," the names may ring a bell. The Catalan city of Girona, which we visit today, was the setting for Braavos in Season Six of the popular TV series, and it was here that the blind princess Arya Stark was attacked by the Waif., my source for the dish on Game of Thrones, says that the filming in Girona's Barri Vell (Medieval Quarter) was top-secret.

View of Girona's cathedral from the ancient murallas (walls) of the city

It's easy to see why Girona, about an hour north of Barcelona, was chosen as a locale. This is a beautifully preserved city, and on the winter day of our visit we are lucky enough to have splendid weather befitting the locale.

La Punxa in Girona, Spain, was designed by Rafael Masó,
one of the most notable Catalan architects of the
early 20th century.

After parking in an underground garage on the more modern side of the city, we take note of a nearby landmark so we can find our car at the end of the day. A striking pink Moderinsta-style structure is just down the block. We later find out out that this is La Punxa, a building designed by Rafael Masó, Girona's most famous architect, which now contains the offices of city's architectural society.

Colorful houses line the Onyar River in Girona.

With help from a local, we find our way to the River Onyar and cross into Girona's old city. The Oficina de Turismo is just on the other side of the bridge, and now that we have our map, we strategize over coffee on the Rambla de Libertat.

Pont de les Pescateries in Girona was designed by Gustave Eiffel

Girona's complex history includes periods of being inhabited by Iberians, Romans, Visigoths, and Moors. The city has undergone more than two dozen sieges and been conquered seven times. A thriving Jewish population lived here in the 12th through 15th centuries, and Girona's Jewish ghetto is one of Europe's best preserved.

Stairways in Girona's Barri Vell neighborhood

Eighty-six steps lead to La Catedral, which features a Baroque facade, a Catalan-Gothic Nave and Romanesque tower and cloister. Like many churches in Spain, this was once a mosque. Also of Moorish origin are the Arab Baths, built in the 11th century and restored in the 20th century. The baths were a public bathing space for several centuries, then they were privately owned, and from the 17th century through 1929, the baths were used exclusively by convent nuns.

A section of Girona's Passeig de la Muralla (ancient walls)

It's understandable from Girona's numerous invasions, that city walls would be vital. The first walls were built in the 1st century during Roman times. In the 14th century, the walls were rebuilt under the reign of Peter III the Ceremonious. Since then, the walls have been demolished at times to allow for urban expansion, rebuilt and repaired, providing tourists the opportunity to walk along the Passeig de la Muralla.

View of Girona from the city's ancient murallas (walls)

Steps are a big part of the experience of walking along
Girona's walls.

View from Girona's ancient murallas

Our stroll along the murallas has tuckered us out, but we still have enough energy and daylight left to check out a few more sites on the way back to our car.

A site along Ruta 171, one of the monuments dedicated to Catalan's role
in the Spanish War of Succession

Girona storefront

Coffee breaks are regular parts of our day — for rest, refreshments and restrooms.

As the first week of our winter 2017 trip to Spain winds down, we turn our attention to the seaside area south of Barcelona.


  1. Looks beautiful. Will have to make it to Barcelona one of these days and looks like there are some beautiful side trips from there. Love the storefront photo :-0

  2. very cool! Girona definitely looks like GoT. great pics!