Saturday, September 05, 2020

Travels Near My French Home

In the States, if you live near a state line you might nip across from Cincinnati to Kentucky or a short trip from Northern Ohio up to Michigan? 

We do that here in France but travel to another country instead of another state. Two days this week, I ventured into Spain (safely masked throughout) -- once for a dentist appointment and once for curiosity. 

The dentist appointment was in Girona, Spain, and my friend Claudine came along because she couldn't believe I was going 2 hours to visit the dentist. Why did I go to the dentist in Spain? He is English so language would be simple. He was highly recommended as gentle by people who told horror stories about dentists who don't use local anesthetic. 

Girona from the basilica with cotton candy clouds. 

Girona is farther inland than Barcelona, but still a bastion of Catalonian independence. We saw Catalonian flags everywhere. 

Catalonian flag hanging from a building

The city is beautiful. The buildings are painted a variety of deep colors along the river. I don't think the river is always this muddy, but we had a big rain the day before we visited Spain, so perhaps they had the same rain that muddied the river. 

Rich colors rather than the pastel seen often near the Mediterranean

The city has a basilica, a cathedral and an art museum. We didn't get inside any of those, but we did take time for a coffee and pastry before my dentist appointment and a lovely lunch afterward. 

The staircase reminded me a bit of "The Typewriter" in Rome

According to the dentist, we're going to get to know each other pretty well. I go back in two weeks for a root canal, so I'll have plenty of chances to explore Girona more. 

The next day, Earl and I went exploring with our friends Jim and Theresa. We always have fun, even if the exploration is a bust, but this one wasn't. 

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A friend claimed this was the quickest route to Spain from our home in Quillan. It's a circuitous route through some ski towns to Puigcerda, Spain. Lots of high-end shops in Puigcerda, including a Sunglass Hut.

We had an interesting lunch, because we were limited in our choices by seeking the sun, so we discounted any of the cafes still in the shade. By the end of our lunch, we were scooting under the nearby umbrella to avoid the strong sunshine. I had an omelette with potatoes on bread. Basically an omelette sandwich, but I pulled it apart and ate the omelette part. It was obviously part of a casserole and had been warmed up, but wasn't warm throughout.

We planned to get ice cream after our lunch, but in Spain, shops close about 2 for lunch, including the ice cream shop we had spotted earlier. 

A view from the town hall. Apparently horses are important in the town. Nice view. 

The town was charming, but very touristic. There were lots of French tourists there, and definitely more people around than we saw in Girona the day before. 

Jim and Theresa with some road signs on a quaint street. 
The obligatory ancient tower in Puigcerda. 
A charmingly painted building

On the way up to Puigcerda, we stopped for coffee in a ski village that felt like a traditional Alpine stop, but since we were in the Pyrenees, I guess it was Pyrenean. 

Formigueres in the Pyrenees. 

The bell tower had obviously been redone, but for some reason it reminded me of the Alamo. The coffee had lots of foam on top, and we enjoyed sitting in the sunshine. 

I hope you're having some adventures, whether at home or safely on the road. 


Kiwi said...

Fascinating to see these photos of towns and villages we might otherwise never have heard of. Was that just a day trip then? That deep red on some of the buildings is a marvelous color. When you lived in the U.S., could you ever have imagined saying "I'm going to Spain tomorrow to see the dentist?"

Paulita said...

Kiwi, Ha! No, I never imagined it. Yes the rich colors are fascinating, aren't they. Both were just day trips, about 4 hours of driving total over and back.

Heather @ Random Redheaded Ramblings said...

A dentist not using anaesthetic, that sounds horrendous! Sounds like nipping across the border is very sensible and also very beautiful!

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