GAME ON, GIRONA

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - WELCOME EL CELLER DE CAN ROCA, SPAIN -

The Span­ish town of Girona could be on your radar for any num­ber of rea­sons. Per­haps you’re a me­dieval ar­chi­tec­ture buff ac­quainted with its an­cient walls and churches and syn­a­gogues, its his­tory as the City of 1000 Sieges, and the painted houses on the River On­yar.

The cob­ble­stoned streets and eclec­tic cathe­dral – a bit of Ro­manesque here, Gothic and Baroque there – may also be fa­mil­iar if you’re a Thronie. Th­ese fans of Game of Thrones would recog­nise the north­ern Cata­lan des­ti­na­tion as the lo­ca­tion for Braavos, one of the Free Cities of Es­sos, where Arya Stark lived dur­ing sea­son six. It was a star turn for Girona, which lo­cals will tell you gave a mas­sive boost to tourism.

It’s a place that I now re­mem­ber for one of the most mem­o­rable din­ing ex­pe­ri­ences. Book­ings for the three Miche­lin-starred El Celler de Can Roca are gen­er­ally taken nine months in ad­vance but my sis­ter, my trav­el­ling com­pan­ion, took a chance and called about three weeks out to have our names added to the wait list.

The gods of gas­tron­omy were on our side and a week later we con­firmed our ta­ble for two for Satur­day lunch. Af­ter the 45-minute trip from Barcelona on the fast train and a morn­ing of sight­see­ing, we ar­rived at the restau­rant, named third in the world on the San Pel­le­grino 50 Best Res­tau­rants list.

The menu, a seven-course de­gus­ta­tion with match­ing wines, was wild and whim­si­cal (def­i­nitely not for ev­ery­one), and ev­ery dish a talk­ing point. We were in our ele­ment. The bill was on the gob­s­mack­ing side as well, but we rank food at No.1 for rea­sons to travel so it was worth the credit card bill shock when we got home.

So, what­ever your thing, Girona could have some­thing for you.

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