To start this post like a true local I must point out that Girona is actually located in Catalonia and not Spain however as the world “officially” sees it at the moment and for arguments sake I’ll lump it into Spain right now even though it isn’t… still following me? If you aren’t aware Catalonia is currently putting on a big push to finally again be separate from the rest of Spain and be their own country.
I was initially in the Costa Brava region for a travel bloggers conference and following that typical week of meeting new friends, making connections and drinking too much I was pleased to be offered to stay around for a bit longer to actually enjoy and experience the area. There were a few different trips offered which took people all around Costa Brava and the Pyrenees however I opted to stay in Girona and the province of Girones.
I literally checked out of my hostel, walked half a block and checked in to the Penisular Hotel. For the next three days and two nights we dove into what it would be like to live in Girona by meeting many of the locals.
The trip started early in the morning on the first day at a dairy farm where I avoided getting pooped or peed on and sucessfully learned how to milk a cow and then feed a baby one that was only one day old! I quickly learned the farmer life might not be for me, but I did have a great time.
Following the cow milking we ate a typical traditional breakfast which included Pa amb tomàquet which translates in Catalan to exactly Bread and tomato. This tasty treat was invented as a way to make old bread new again by shredding tomatoes across the bread making it soft again. Add a little olive oil and a shake of salt and voila! A treat I immediately fell in love with.
Followed by an elder showing us a thing or two about farming in Catalonia.
Separating beans from their shoots.
Next while the group hiked the gorges of Canet d’Adri, I nursed my swollen ankle in its cool pools.
At this point we weren’t even half way finished with day one of our living like a local trip in Girona. Check out the next post for more.
Thanks to Costa Brava for having me :)
Filmed with a Nikon D5100 using a 17-55mm lens.
Luis GonçalvesJanuary 31, 2014 at 5:57 am
This is the spirit of the new wave of touring: make the same tours as the locals, which is so important as sun and sea holidays.
In Portugal, for example, small and authentic villages, and tourism in the nature are an alternative tourism destination.
KatelynMarch 6, 2013 at 1:43 pm
Doesn’t get much local as that, milking a cow in Girona, Spain
XavierOctober 17, 2012 at 5:13 am
Great post Cailin! It’s nice to see that some people, when travelling, tries to understand the reality of each country! Well done! I hope you enjoyed Girona!
CailinOctober 24, 2012 at 8:34 pm
Thanks Xavier! I think trying to understand a country in that way just helps me to know it and enjoy it even better :)
VannyOctober 16, 2012 at 6:27 pm
This post brings back memories for me, even though I’ve never been to Girona. I milked a cow in Ireland and I found it surprisingly fun. Maybe I just like squeezing things…? That shot of the farmer separating the beans from their shoots, my mom used to make me do the same with peanuts. I think she still prepares and cooks that way sometimes.
CailinOctober 24, 2012 at 8:35 pm
Well Vanny you should definitely visit Girona sometime then! Thats cool that your mom still cooks like that :)
Richard CalvinOctober 12, 2012 at 11:32 am
I am really glad you got to see and experience the real Catalonia, even if just for a few days. The Costa Brava and the province of Girona has so much to offer the traveller. Regarding the independence issue, Katherina – I really don’t know the true % of people seeking independence from Spain but personally I would say it is way above 50%, not 30% like you say – it all depends on what newspapers you read and which TV stations you watch. If Spanish media, it doesn’t always give the full truth and facts are often false. Like on the 11th September there was almost 2 million people in Barcelona marching for independence and the Spanish media says only 60,000. Today there has been a march in Barcelona from the Spanish people who live in Catalonia who do not want independence. The police state 6000 people took part but the Spanish media say 40,000. The people living in Catalonia who do not wish for independence are almost all immigrants from other parts of Spain or the children of immigrants.
The Catalan nation goes back centuries and the Catalan language is actually older than Spanish. After living in Catalonia for over 10 years I have come to notice that Catalan and Spanish people are very different culturally. it really is clear to see that the Catalans and Spanish are different. I for one think that Catalonia would benefit from independence and hopefully that day will be soon.
Gary Bembridge (www.tipsfortravellers.com)October 7, 2012 at 4:29 am
Sorry did not get to meet you at TBEX, next time hopefully! Your trip sounds fun, and great pics. Like you it was very clear that the independence issue was a hot topic and there did seem to be a lot of visible support across the city and a real pride in the region and what it stands for. Living in the UK, we see a similar discussion with Scotland split on should they try and go independent or not. Time will tell as Katherina above says about what will happen through ghe democratoc process. But no matter what this is a stunning part of the world and so glad TBEX was there as had never thought of going there before. Look forward to following you on twitter (thanks for the follow by the way, have followed you back) and your blog. Best, Gary
CailinOctober 24, 2012 at 8:37 pm
Bummer we didn’t get to meet Gary, next time for sure and thanks for the comment :)
Roser GoulaOctober 7, 2012 at 3:44 am
Hi Cailin! We had a great time, even though waking up ar 5am the first day! :D i would definetely do it again!!
Katherina, the latest studies/surveys say that 51% of Catalans would vote yes to the independence of Catalonia (these last years the economic situation and the cut of rights have increased A LOT the desire of the full autonomy)
CailinOctober 24, 2012 at 8:38 pm
Glad to have met you on that trip, aside from the early mornings it was pretty awesome :)
KatherinaOctober 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm
I usually don’t write about political issues, but as a Spaniard with multiple friends from all over Catalonia, I felt I had to write my thoughts on your first few sentences. I am not quite sure where yougot the idea from that Catalonia is not Spain – independence is a desire of not more than 30% of catalonians.
Catalonia is one of Spain’s autonomous communities – as is Madrid, Galicia or Andalucia for example. The difference is, over the years, it has managed to obtain more autonomy than others. This doesn’t mean its not Spain. It just belongs less to Spain.
CailinOctober 6, 2012 at 7:52 pm
Thanks for commenting your thoughts about this. From the people I met those were the options and perceptions I had understood. I appreciate you sharing the facts :)
AyngelinaOctober 5, 2012 at 11:23 am
With all that ham I cannot believe I haven’t been there yet! Someday…
CailinOctober 24, 2012 at 8:37 pm
I’m pretty sure between everyone at the conference we must of eaten 20+ ham legs during those few days haha You MUST visit SOON :)