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
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.
Posted via email from gironaJ
Yes, we are talking about the corks that are normally found in a bottle of wine or sparkling wine. This is an industry which has been important for Girona
province for 150 years. It is centred on the towns of Palafrugell
and Cassa de la Selva
, either side of the Gavarres
hills where most of the cork oaks are found.
Cork is an amazing natural product which was discovered by the Greeks over 2,500 years ago to seal the amphoras of wine and olive oil they transported around the Mediterranean basin.
As well as being lightweight, it is waterproof and fireproof which means the cork oaks are some of the very few trees that survive the regular fires which sweep through most forests. The trees take about 30 years to mature sufficiently to produce a layer of cork (its bark) but another 15 is needed before it is thick enough to be used for commercial purposes.
So, this is no short term industry, the trees take about 14 years to re-grow its bark for the next harvest which is all done by hand up in the hills. This area is the second largest exporter of corks in the world after Portugal and some 1,500 people are still employed in some way by the industry locally.
Unfortunately, like all mature industries, there is severe competition from other methods of closing bottles which are more economic and the market for corks is sliding steadily. Their niche is still relatively secure in the more upmarket sectors of the wine and champagne sectors but the cheaper end is moving to plastic corks or screw-caps.
Make sure you come and take a tour of a cork making factory (ask at the local tourist information offices) or visit the cork museum in Palafrugell before this fascinating industry disappears forever!
Posted via email from Discover Girona
Girona province hosts some of the best music festivals during the summer months with a wide variety of international groups and stars. In addition this year we have amajor sporting event to add to the excitement, the Tour de France which will be holding a stage here on the 9th of July finishing in Barcelona that same day.
The venues are also worth a mention because these are much more varied than your normal auditorium or concert hall. From the steps of Girona Cathedral (Religious music festival of Girona) to Cap Roig botanical gardens (Cap Roig music festival) in a setting which is a natural wonder and intimate enough to seem like a private party.
There are some smaller events such as those taking place in the Empuries Greco-Roman ruins which are worth keeping a look out for and also settings like the X th century monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes which are well worth the effort to get to.
Personally, I am looking forward to an eclectic range of music from Fauré’s Requiem to Khaled with UB40, James Taylor and Jamie Cullum along the way. Leonard Cohen is already sold out but Lou Reed, the Pretenders and Dee Dee Bridgewater will more than compensate!
See the events page on http://discovergirona.net for more details.
See and download the full gallery on posterous
Posted via email from gironaJ
1- Visit the Dalí triangle-Museum in Figueras, house in Portlligat (nr. Cadaques) and Galas castle at Púbol.
2- See the ceramics/pottery made in La Bisbal and displayed in shops along the main road. There is also a museum on the history of area.
3- Visit the best part of the wild Costa Brava at Calella, Llafranc and Tamariu and visit the spectacular Cap Roig Botanical Gardens.
4- Visit the Greek and Roman ruins at Empuries with the Museum and then stop at the Iberian ruins at Ullastret to complete ancient history.
5- Take in some of the Medieval villages of Besalu, Peretallada, Sant Llorenç de la Muga which are fun to explore on foot.
6- Take a wine tour of the Empordà-there are plenty of wineries (Bodegas) to see and some are geared up for visitors (see separate entry).
7- Visit the interior and walk into the craters in the Volcanoes Natural Park near Olot and the medieval town of Santa Pau.
8- Walk or cycle around the lake in Banyoles then rest at one of the cafe terraces next to the lake afterwards.
9- Visit Palamos and the fish market after a seafood lunch around the harbour. Gambas de Palamos are famous and expensive!
10- Try some sports like cycling, golf, scuba, horseback riding or ballooning and then relax in one of the several Spa Hotels.
See map for details:
Labels: Cadaques, Catalonia, cycling, Dali, Girona, history, ruins, Shopping, walking