About 30 people of all ages got together last sunday morning to follow Montse around cycle paths to Sant Gregori while she stopped and explained all the wonderful plants we were seeing and their medicinal properties.
First stop was the elderberry/elderflower with large white flowers which makes a cordial or cava which we tried later on and was delicious.
From the most common plants like dandelions, poppies and nettles to flax, bindweed and borage we learnt to identify them, which parts of the plant were of interest and how to prepare an infusion or compress and what ailments it helped.
We all felt very inadequate and the common lament was how we were losing contact with our surroundings and an important part of our heritage that our grandparents took for granted.
Thank you to Montse and Mou te en Bici for organising such an interesting ride and I hope it becomes a regular event.
Hostalric is a town built on a basalt outcrop in the 12th century above the river Fogars because of its important position on the France-Barcelona trade route.
This intersection has proved both good and bad for the local residents over the centuries, encouraging investment in the form of castles and defensive structures but also attracting more than its share of sieges and sackings.
Hostalric is now on the main road and train lines with trips in under an hour to the centre of Barcelona so its strategic position has evolved somewhat to one of a dormitory town but there are plenty of local industries based here too.
It boasts easy access to the Costa Brava and also the Montseny mountains which is a protected UNESCO scenic area. The river Fogars it is the dividing line between Barcelona and Girona provinces.
It is the perfect place to stop for a walk around following the easy routes that are marked and finish up sitting in the mulberry shaded main square sipping a cool drink and looking up at the massive fortress which still dominates the skyline above town and which now houses a restaurant.
This fantastic new exhibition at the Fontana d'Or in Girona shows how Miró the artist and sculptor collaborated with a young filmmaker, Portabella to illustrate the creation of some of the most emblematic pieces of art of the 20th century.
Miró was a creative genius in several formats and here we see him working on painting windows for a temporary exhibition, other creations made into massive wall hangings or cast into 1,000 kilo bronze sculptures.
His work is a pleasure to view as there is always something unexpected to be discovered. As an aside, one of his largest wall hangings was on display in the foyer of the twin towers on fateful sep 11,2001 and he refused to make another.
Portabella captures these creative sessions perfectly, usually letting the craftsmen themselves express the process or just standing back for us to enjoy what could be a wonderful theatrical set.
Impressive in scale and ambitious in intent this exhibition is a treat, filmmaking as visual art, literally.
On from May 6th to August 29th 2010.
This weekend is full of activities as well as the Flower festival, a more sporting event is the 10km and half marathon road races which are annual staples around the centre of Girona.
Road running is very popular here, and like the professional cyclists have discovered, Girona is a perfect place for most sports in terms of weather and interesting terrain. All ages join in these runs with many schools and clubs participating which makes for a wonderful atmosphere both along the streets and between the participants.
Todays half marathon was won in a time of 1hour 4min 34 by Mohamed Ben Barka of Barcelona which was just outside the course record.
Several thousand people are feeling tired but happy as they head off for lunch with their families and friends this sunday, well done everyone!
Girona Flower Festival 8-16 th may
The 55 th Temps de Flors has begun and if today's crowds are any indication, this will be the best attended yet.
The Old Town of Girona is decorated with flowers including patios and gardens never usually open to the public as well as important buildings, churches and of course the Cathedral steps and cloister.
Even local businesses join in the spirit and include flowers in their displays or shop fronts.
Some displays are subtle and visually provoking, others a bit obvious and garish but there is plenty for everyone of all ages to enjoy and the atmosphere in town is truly festive so come and join in!
Spring weather is as fickle as ever this year but a trip to visit a Bodega (winery) in the Empordà is always a good option since the worst that can happen is that you get stuck in a cellar with plenty of wines to taste while you watch the rain come down in the vineyards.
If the sun shines this is a glorious time to wander around the countryside as everything is growing furiously and the shades of new green are startlingly vivid. After all this activity, or maybe in spite of it, a glass of cool white or rosado wine does wonders for looking at life in a more positive vein. Follow this with a selection of reds, some young and fruity and some with oak ageing and by the time it comes to taste the dessert wines things are positively wonderful.
Having activated the taste buds and got the saliva flowing the only possible follow up is a wonderful meal at a nearby restaurant with fresh fish and lamb with wild herbs dishes that seem to be particularily appreciated, washed down with a choice of wines, of course.
By now it is completely normal to feel a bit satisfied and even drowsy so either another walk is needed to explore some of the prehistoric burial sites which dot the area or it's time to have a doze in the back of the van for the ride back to Girona. Either way it's a day of pampering oneself with tastes, flavours and experiences that make visiting this part of Spain a fantastic experience.
Day tours to wineries in the Empordà inc all transport, tastings and lunch cost 125?/person, groups of 4-8 people.
Contact: email@example.com for more info or to book.