Friday, November 2, 2012

All Saints in Girona

The Onyar River
As the Catalan movement towards independence gathers force, I am continually surprised at the Spanish conservatives and how busy they are trying to instill fear in the public and do anything they can to thwart such a move.  Lies, threats, and clumsy political manoeuvres by Madrid are daily news stories, but at some point you get tired of it all.  So, since Girona is an interesting city (said to be very Catalan) with a river flowing through it and an historic Jewish neighborhood, yesterday I boarded the train and headed there to see the sights.

Catalan independence
is in style in Girona
Following the signs towards the historic part of town, across the Onyar River, and following a stream of people who seemed headed in the same direction but who looked like they knew where they were going, I followed the stream.  Early on this took me onto a broad pedestrian-only street filled with smart shops (although it was a holiday so they were all closed).   I’ve been to Girona before but not since I lived in Barcelona, so it’s been some years.  I moved to this area last June.  Why did I wait so long to make this trip?  It’s only half an hour if you catch the express train and about 35 minutes if you take the local.

I chose yesterday to make the visit because it was All Saints, Girona was in the middle of their big festival, Sant Narcis, and yesterday in particular there was an antique/collectibles fair being held somewhere in the historic section of town.

Making lace
I hadn’t brought a map and didn’t need one.  Just following everyone else brought me to it.  It wasn’t just antiques.  It was a large fair of art, handcrafts, food, and antiques.  The fair started alongside the river and then was strewn along the narrow side streets of the old town.  It was quaint and scenic, but became more and more crowded as I went on until the point where you couldn’t say I was following the stream of people.  I no longer had a choice and was simply being carried along by what was no longer a stream but a very big, slow-moving river.

Having moved along for a while in this river, I had second thoughts.  But by that point, there was no clear way of touching shore and to go against the flow was impossible.  I was trapped in a kind of Ikea nightmare. 

When I finally got to the antiques, it was also the end of the river.  It was still packed, but now there were escape routes.  So I poked around a little, but there were so many people browsing that you could hardly see.  Anyway, by then I was so fed up with the whole thing, besides the fact that Spanish antiques are either very expensive or they aren’t antiques at all but junk, that I took the escape route now open to me.  It just so happened that I had time to make my way back to the station (by another route) and catch a train home where, instead of having lunch out as I had planned, I could heat up a frozen pizza and watch the mid-day news.  At this point, the annoying news seemed a better bet than the moving human river in Girona.
Some of the words were missing from this
old Catalan saying:
Eat well, shit strong, and don't
fear death!


  1. Amazing I was just thinking about you and your last post about Girona.

    See my post there.

    1. Hi Avi, I posted there too, but I don't think you will get an automatic notice. With such an important tie, you should come explore Girona. You're welcome to come stay with me.