GAME ON, GIRONA
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.