Before we left Girona for our walk we had witnessed the setting up for the Temps de Flors (Flower Season). Temps de Flors started in 1954 and has become a major feature on the Girona map of events. For 2 weeks the city gets into the spirit of Spring – there are over 100 floral themed exhibits scattered through the old town, plus many shops decorate their windows with a Temps de Flors theme. Young and old get involved, amateurs and professional artists. Some of the displays are lovely, some cheesey, some obscure, some downright lame. But there is no doubting the town’s enthusiasm for the event.
And, it draws hundreds and hundreds of visitors, as we discovered on our return to Girona after the walk – the town had been transformed from quiet and leisurely to literally heaving with people.
Our plan had been to try and see most of the exhibits, as although plenty in number they did not cover a huge distance. But, this plan had not factored in a) the crowds and b) everyone’s overwhelming desire to either take a selfie, or get someone to take a group/family/child photograph, in front of every single exhibit. I am noticing this picture taking phenomenon more and more, and at the risk of sounding like a grumpy old woman (which I admit I am), it is driving me insane. The mobile phone with its camera has a lot to answer for – now, everything has to be photographed by everybody and with the bloody person in it. Grrrr.
So, we spent a couple of hours battling the crowds before admitting defeat. But, here are a few snaps of what we did manage to see (and yes, I do see the irony in my grumpy comment followed by photos I took of the displays – but, in my defence, I neither need nor want me, or him, in any of the pictures!):
We were both thirsty and hungry so decided the only solution was to find somewhere for lunch, but lots of other visitors had the same idea, so that was not as easy as it sounded. Our solution was to walk further away from the madding crowds, so we crossed over the river and moved away from the Cathedral precinct (which seemed to be the centre of the Temps de Flors mayhem). Our initial plan was to seek out a place that was listed in the Guide Michelin, but we were underwhelmed when we found it. Wandering back we stumbled across a nonedescript but packed to the rafters local place – busy, cheap menu del dia so it seemed the place for us. We were the only English speakers (including the waiters) but muddled through. Were particularly happy campers when a carafe of rosé appeared for me and a carafe of vino blanco for Pete. The food that followed was generous in quantity, and more than satisfactory in quality. I also managed to get chatting to our neighbouring table by patting their dog, and then showing them a picture of our Daisy!
Fortified, we were able to amble back into the thick of things. Not only was it Temps de Flors but there was also an A Capella programme of music happening across various venues, so our next engagement was to listen to an a Capella group in the Placa Independencia. But, before we could get there we stumbled upon a band performing in the lovely church just near Ian’s apartment, so walked in there to enjoy a couple of rousing numbers first:
Ian tells us that there always seems to be live, and free, events happening throughout the city. It was lovely to see a crowd of all ages enjoying the band, and the A Capella group. It certainly makes for an interesting and vibrant city. Our day in Girona had started at the Mercat, go on to all things floral, and ended with two diverse music experiences. All of it free. Can’t complain about that.