A Photo Essay: Wandering in Girona

by Gigi Griffis

Girona walkway

Girona looking up



I have to admit that I have some mixed feelings about Catalunya. The first time I was there, back in 2008, I found Barcelona difficult to navigate. Plus, it was dreary out and people kept treating me badly. Still, when the opportunity to return came up, return I did.

This time I found some redeeming qualities, like pretty Old Town Girona (seen above). But, again, I kept running into rudeness. In fact, on returning to Barcelona to catch a plane back to the states, I actually had a security guard shove me. That’s right: shove me. The man physically moved me backward. Because he was tired of trying to understand my halting Spanish and I couldn’t understand his shouting Catalan.

So…yeah. Old Town Girona is really pretty. I met loads of great people at the conference I attended there. But my interactions with the natives? Well, they leave something to be desired.

(And that thing is “not shoving me.”)

See all Girona photos.

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TheTuscan October 9, 2012 - 12:39 pm

I also had not a good time with people in Spain.
They are too blunt for me.
I found such a behavior in some regions of Italy as well.
I think that in most cases it has nothing to do with being rude in their intentions.

Gigi October 9, 2012 - 8:41 pm

Yeah, I’ve met a few people who have had trouble. My trouble was less bluntness (I don’t mind bluntness) and more people getting frustrated with me or dismissing me and it seemed that it was mostly about the fact that I don’t speak Catalan (dear goodness, who does?). I will be interested to see if the frustration level recedes a bit if Spain ever lets Catalunya be its own country…

Nikki October 23, 2012 - 5:32 pm

You have pinned it. Barcelona is not particularly known for its’ friendly & open citizens. Most of it I think stems from the heart of the separatist mentality. The simple fact that you were attempting to speak ‘Castillano’ and not Catalan, is enough to add insult to an already festering and delicate political and cultural grudge for so many there. An architectural gem it is, and must say it’s Spain’s top notch fashion/shopping center, but I think you made a good choice by heading to Girona. Gorgeous pics btw

gigigriffis October 23, 2012 - 5:38 pm

Thanks for your thoughts Nikki. I’ve heard similar sentiments from a number of people now. I just wish they wouldn’t take their frustration out on tourists. :)

Nikki October 23, 2012 - 5:58 pm

Yes agreed but they are naturally grumpy haha.. and also view ‘traveling’ as a waste of money & time. Only work & study are worthy of spending!

gigigriffis October 23, 2012 - 6:53 pm

Oh, that’s really interesting! I always think of Europeans as travels (perhaps excepting the U.K.)…so now so in Catalunya, eh? Fascinating!

Brief Roommate October 23, 2012 - 11:33 pm

I think you need to give Spain another shot in Andalucia sometime;-) Can’t speak to the dog-friendliness, but a significant portion of that culture always seemed to me to revolve around eating free tapas and being extraordinarily social. And I found that my efforts to speak Spanish were generally appreciated. Also, no one shoved me ever in four months (there was an excessive amount of being hit on by men ranging in ages 14-97, which I will begrudgingly take over physical violence).

Gigi October 24, 2012 - 8:31 am

I think I agree with you, BR. I hear other parts of Spain are really, really lovely. It’s just Catalunya that seems to rub people the wrong way.

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