GAME OF THRONES IN GIRONA

As the new sea­son of the pop­u­lar TV show hits screens tonight we re dis­cover ar­eas of small town Spain where the story left off... Text and photos by Kar­ishma Upad­hyay

Hindustan Times - Brunch - - TRAVEL - brunch­let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com Fol­low @HTBrunch on Twit­ter

Shame! Shame! Shame!” two teenage girls , be­fore t apse a fit of gig­gles on the o the La Cat­e­dral de Girona. In sea­son six of HBO’s megahit TV show Game of Thrones, these em­ble steps in­side the walle o Girona made their as the im­pos­ing fa o The Great Sept of Baelor in King’s Land­ing. This is where J an­nist along wit yrell s up o battl aith . Wh oodth crowd of thous aits for Queen Mar yrell’s Walk of Sha , r Jaime rides his ho the st the cath o resc uee he Spar . secr ance be ing To n and t y High Sparsaves aery from the hu­mil­i­ate that be­fell Cer­sei Lan­nis­ter in the pre­vi­ous sea­son. Later e ason, the same façade and the bell tower are blown sky high.

LORD OF THE FLIES

On a crier morn­ing last Nov em

, when I vis­ited the Cata­lan city, th at­mos­phere was a lot lessdc. But Girona, a pretty 4 - ute dri rain journe Bar­cel rough g eenh ill e Am arm coun­the costa Brava, is just as cu­lar as it is on the . nd stun­ning views is at th has incn with t rd Geo artin in his sy se­rie of Ice re. Its sc po­si­tion eV ia A–the an­cient road th nected Rome to Cadiz in uth­west­ern Spain – mean that Gir was re­peat­edly at ta ck ed,egitt he nick­name‘ the cat house ges ’. Tits 2,0 r-old hi, e city en home Iberi, ans, Ar , ews an ngians.

Much of the hist or is be­guil­ing charm lies cathe­drals, windi nay sand red-tiled roofs that

ave re­mained mirac­u­lously int r cen­turies. It’s no won a the ers of Game rones sed di parts city as ons forth ar yin ty of Old Town, ng’s g and Braavos in th - s sea­son. The ‘de­strn’ of th Sept and Ar ng Bra eans th a’ n like lo Tmw ll shoot n Giro . Thro s Game rones’ ans like to em­sel ave come pour­ing in to re­vi­ously over­looked city. I strolled up­hill through n - script streets from th n sta­tio one of the pretty s over t On­yar row art ouses flan r ver in es of oc , old andve on that elected in e wa­ter. ave Eif­fel built one of rd g es, and its red iron lat­tice re­sem­bles his tower in Paris.n the walled city, Ir et ra er out en by Ser J and his son Pu jada ei Ma , er the arch­way, bef er­ing Girona’s fam uare. First stop on e f-guid me of Thr our wa mposin roque f of the en­tury edral ona that dom­i­nates Gi s sky­line. The churc ’ erior is equally mag­nifi nd hou over adaroqu eels, incl ing one that tells t ry of Sa Nar­cis­sus ), th ons ai na. Le as it th en the Fnv adey to re­open Nar­cis­sus ’, where­upon as war les rove the ma­rauder Giron This ex­pla y fly-s choco­mosqu rona able at mo­tional ct iona, re a must- cal pro . The rom the top of the Caral steps are post­card per­fect. M view, though, is dif­fer­ent fr at Queen Mar ga e rn thes.e plaza is in wit -hued - s, but is ow,t slopes sa(Crqu oise the dis . n real , ough, the near­est beach -minute drive away.

The steps of La Cat­e­dral de Girona in­side the walled city made their de­but as the im­pos­ing façade of the Great Sept of Baelor in King’s Land­ing in GoT Sea­son 6

s ar ar an cew GoT s had to so heav­ily on ec ia leo re-cre­ate apart of nK in gd oms.“Un li kr lo­ca­tions where alpec ia ls were used ate We , Giron ery recogni n Gam rones. They n’t hav ange much,” bragged , our waiter at Café L’Arc, where I stopped for a late break­fast. dug into a por­tion amb toma­quet (bread with o, a Catala alty) a ate of n e famo rian H n lo­cal e, Glor red so re GoT tri . pparen , ook ac­tor Niko­laj Coste - au’s (who plays Ser Jaime) unt dou­ble sev­eral days to train horse to climb the cathe eps.

INTRIGUE IN THE AIR

reakf ne, it we to ex e war reepsa ne roads ou­bled raavos, the rich­est an pow­er­ful among the nine Free Cities of Es­sos. This is wh blind Arya Stark tra ed into ‘girl with ne ’. J use cathede Care la For ca where, in episode , e Wai e out a b rainin on to . is was e Arya e Waif be­came sworn es. Carly Ann, a fel­low ronies from Texas, pointed out that the whole stick fight scene was shot in one spot. “Only the po­si­tion of the cam­era keeps chang­ing so you see the cathe­dral or the frame of a door lead­ing into a gar­den,” she ex­plained, ile w ag the­fiqu en ce on a on her e. y sug­gested a quick pit stop at lo­cal favourite El Ver­mutet fo of ver­mut (ver­mout er all, i ‘a la hora rmut’ our o uth), a st a litt noon. Vei sin ts to fed re­viva ss Spai he Cata­lans ve thei - unch aper­i­tif. ack on the cob­bled streets of the Jewish Quar­ter, I traced Ar ’ an­icked foot­steps du er epic - down c th The . started at ar­rer sbe Josep Car­taña, s near the French Gar ehind the Cathe­dral, w own to ant Domè , eafy te at the f econ­vean­tDc be­fore g up a a Sant Domènec, th lo ieval stair­case whe ya up­ends a bar­row nges. M op was th-cen ys Ara ab Bat at were t back ur­ing the fight se etween Arya and The Waif. his is the only GoT lo­ca­tion in the quaint city that lived up to its small screen avatar. I don’t know if it was the low light or the shad­ows cast on the still wa­ter by colon­nades, but there was intrigue in the air. And I was in­stantly trans­ported to Wes­t­eros.

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Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

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