Well, another flower festival is here, or better said another "Temps de Flors." Girona looks splendid at this time of year and, excepting the crowds, is a truly delightful place to wander around taking in the small patios, chapels, street installation art and public buildings.
It is the best way to see some of the nicest private gardens and courtyards which are normally out of bounds to the average visitor.
The first weekend is always very busy but after that things calm down and it is easier to get in to the main sights like the Cathedral cloisters and Arab Baths.
For those that want less crowded spots the Cathedral Gardens, Old City walls and the Devesa Park are all good and shady alternatives.
To compensate for all the hard sightseeing there are plenty of open air cafes, restaurants and ice cream parlours to tempt the needy.
From the Cathedral gardens there is quite a steep climb to where you get onto the old city walls. These walls have been extensively restored and you can see a mix of old sedimentary rock, bricks and stones combined with modern materials making it a safe experience for all ages. The views of the Cathedral, Sant Felix Church as well as all of Girona spread out below is worth all the huffing and puffing.
Looking down from the height of the walls you can see Modernist private houses, secret gardens and interesting features such as an ancient “privvy” or toilet incorporated into the wall, presumably for the patrolling guards. Buildings of Girona University, churches and some of the narrow lanes give the Old Town or “Barri Vell” its charm. Once you descend from the walls close to the river Onyar you are in the heart of modern, commercial Girona, at the Placa de Catalunya and only a short walk to the pedestrianised Rambla de la Libertad with lots of shops and cafe terraces.
This walkway was restored over many years by the city council and you can now walk the entire way from Pedret in the north to Placa Catalunya in the centre, a distance of some 3 kms.
It is a really good way to get an overall feel for Girona and it’s most interesting part, the Old Town or “Barri Vell” in Catalan.
The views of the Cathedral and Sant Feliu church (currently being restored) are fabulous as well as many other old and historic buildings which are much easier to see from the height of the walkway than when you are in the narrow streets below.
There are some well shaded gardens along the border of the Cathedral which is an excellent place for a rest as there are parts of this walk which involve climbing stairs or going uphill for some distance. Once you reach the highest point the panorama is well worth the effort with the city in the foreground and then the Pyrenees form the backdrop with France just beyond.
You will also pass above the Senate building and Library of the University of Girona nestled between the walls and the old converted church of La Merce.
If you start at the Pedret end then when you finish in the Placa Catalunya there are plenty of cafes with terraces for a rest and a drink or ice cream before heading off for a closer view of all those narrow streets in the “Barri Vell“.