Our final cycling destination of Figueres was only 6km by highway, but we made it quite a bit longer by detouring through the pretty medieval town of Peralada - and made it even longer by getting totally lost - again. Signage today was awful. It seems to be reasonable until you get near a town and then the signs disappear! But we WERE on cycle paths and the scenery was pretty. It was a really hot day and the short uphill ride up cobbled streets to the central square was pretty gruelling. We arrived in in time for lunch so grabbed some buns (and a beer) from the bakery and wolfed down last nights chicken before heading on the last stretch into Figueres. And that was our cycle trip done - schlepping our own stuff and doing the planning and booking was no real hardship. I can seeing doing the same thing again somewhere new.
Our hotel was probably the cheapest (except for the camping ground) of the whole trip but we had to pay 3.5 euro each to store our bikes in their locked garage.. The big draw of Figueres is that it is the home town of Spanish
artist Salvatore Dali (1904 to 1989) and has a museum of many of his works from all the various phases of his career - and he went through some rather weird phases (surrealistic)!!!!! An excellent way to spend a couple of hours. Right next door was an exhibit of many of his jewellery artwork which was quite stunning.
Returning with our bikes to Girona the next morning, we caught the regional train (stops at every station, but it was a only a short distance) as it is the only train type that has space for bicycles. In a way it is nice to revisit a town because everything is familiar and after returning the bikes to Girona Bike Breaks we went back to the old town to explore properly now that the flower festival was over and the touristic hordes were gone. Girona’s current claim to fame is that it was used as a filming location for Game of Thrones in seasons 6 and 7, so of course we had to venture to some of them - the Benedictine monastery Sant Pere de Gallants was used as the Maesters Citadel in Oldtown, the Girona Cathedral became the Sept of
Baelor, Kings Landing for Queen Margery’s atonement, while the narrow, very atmospheric alley ways of the Jewish Quarter became Braavos.
Girona was founded in 79 BC - and sections of the city walls that were built variously by the Romans, Visigoths and Carolingians are still in good enough repair (with modern day renovations including stairs and guard rails) to be a great excursion. It was while emerging from a tunnel on these walls that we both got majorly pigeon pooped on. Fortunately a couple who were walking just behind us, provided lots of wet wipes and helped clean off the worst of it. But it meant that walked around wafting fragrant wet wipe smells until we had access to our apartment and a washing machine a few hours later.
Leaving Girona on May 24th, we caught the bus back to the coast, returning to Hotel Bell Repos in Platja D’Aro. When we left there seven days previously, the manager told us that if we wanted to come back, she would beat any internet price. A search of the hotel on both booking.com
and the hotel website showed the only rooms available were triples, quads and family rooms, all
of which were out of our price range. But when we phoned, they gave us a double room for three nights - and when we showed up, it turned out they had actually given us the same quad room we had the first night we stayed (upgraded) for double room prices. Awesome!
The weather continued to be a mixed bag but we did manage to get some beach time. Even attempted to swim in the Mediterranean - but it was darn cold and there was a pretty strong tidal pull. The beach is made of tiny rocks which don’t give a very good grip underfoot so the swim was very brief! We walked the 8.5 km of the Camino de Ronda to Palamos - secluded coves, lots of stairways and tunnels, beautiful views. It took the advertised 4 hours due to lots of photo stops. The part of Palamos that lines the long beach is all high rise apartments, but the old town consisted of narrow undulating streets and pastel coloured buildings. We were not overly impressed with food choices on our first visit to Platja D’Aro but as luck would have it, there was a wonderful rotisserie opposite
the bus station - cooked chickens and all sorts of hot and cold dishes for takeaway (or eat in) so we made good use of the fridge in our room and our balcony for dining. Add olives and cheap wine from the supermarket and we were happy!
The bus trip back to Barcelona was relatively quick and deposited us near the Barri Gothic. It was then an easy metro ride back to Joanic and a final night at the Best Price Gràcia. Kelly had received an email from the Madrid police three weeks into our trip, letting him know that his wallet had been found and that we (or someone we authorized) could pick it up. Well, we were not returning to Madrid but they did agree to send it to the Canadian Embassy who in turn were willing to send it by courier to our hotel. Best Price agreed to pay the courier charge for us and happily the intact wallet (except for the cash) was waiting for us. Thank you Madrid Police!
Apart from some last minute shopping, our only planned activity for our final day was to return to Casa Batllo now that the exterior
scaffolding had been removed. Unfortunately, due to the leafy trees in front of it, we really didn’t get to see a whole lot more than we did on the first visit. At least it was a pleasant walk down Passeig de Gracia looking at all the modernista/art nouveau buildings. The next morning we were up early to catch the metro and then the train out to the airport. It cost extra (quite a bit) for the section to the airport and that had to be paid for once we arrived at the terminal station. However, the ticket machine only took cash and only small denominations (which we didn’t have) - so the attendant had no choice but to let us travel for free. That made up for expensive airport snacks. Then it was onto a double decker Airbus and adios España. Time to plan the next trip.
Tot: 0.038s; Tpl: 0.016s; cc: 7; qc: 24; dbt: 0.0056s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.2mb