Sunday morning greeted us with such a blinding display of sunlight that I was even more disoriented than I was when I first arrived. While TP slept in, I crept into the family room, flung open the shutters to enjoy the warm and surprisingly silent morning, and curled up in a patch of sunlight to read a book. Poor planning on my part ended up with my mind embroiled in intrigue in a dark and gritty crime drama by George Pelecanos, but at least I didn’t feel homesick. I took a break from Southeast, D.C. and turned my attention to figuring out how we could visit Girona, Spain instead. Girona was a mere hour and a half away on the train and was perfect for a day trip where the day was actually distinguishable from the night.
TP finally roused himself enough to step out for a serene Sunday morning cup of coffee. It’s a lucky thing we finished before too long and were back on the correct side of the street to get home because by the time we completed our business at the tourist office to sort out train tickets and timings, the Cursa de la Mercè (the 31th annual 10 K race to kick off the Barcelona Mercè Festival) was in full swing. The main street was blocked off by police and the street itself was teeming with participants. No wonder traffic was so quiet this morning! Nobody could cross the street while these runners were stampeding down it. Correction. Nobody should have tried to cross the street. That didn’t stop several oh-so-very-important people, some old folks with no sense, and a bicyclist from trying.
By the time we had wrapped up showering, shaving, and sudokoing (MAN, TP takes a long time to get ready in the morning), the portion of the race that went through our neighborhood had passed. We set off for Passeig de Gràcia to catch the Renfe train. A paltry 7€ round trip train ticket (cheaper on Sundays) and an hour and a half of listening to two summer abroaders wax philosophically about politics, literature, and chicks later, we were in the charming town of Girona.
With a narrow window of lunch time to deal with, we headed straight for what all the guidebooks recommended: Cafe le Bistrot. Yes, the location was lovely. No, the service and prices were not. For the outrageously expensive price of either 17€ or 20€ (those are the only two choices), we had the waitress translate every single menu item (yeah, in this day and age of cheap printers and copy machines, they couldn’t spare a dime for having a single menu in English or even Spanish – only Catalan) and eventually did enjoy a delicious lunch of cannelloni with spinach and mushroom, juicy steak, and chocolate gelato.
Bellies full and wallets empty, we hiked up narrow streets and alleys until we reached the church turned mosque turned Girona Cathedral (free on Sundays). We saw the peaceful cloisters. We toured the nave. We climbed to the top of the adjacent fortress for some exquisite views of the town below. We saw Vespas.
By late afternoon, we were wiped out. We hiked back down to the train station, caught our train back to Barca, and stopped at Starbucks ONLY because El Corte Inglés was closed and I wanted to check my e-mail to make sure the kids were alright. For the single purchase of 1€ water, I was granted 45 minutes of free wi-fi with a comfortable seat that did not include a flushing mechanism. Whipped up dinner, wound down, and went to sleep.
Stay tuned for the next exciting installment where the rain returns . . . and this time, it’s personal.