cycling · fitness

Girona! I’ll be back

Have you ever visited a place and pretty much right away thought, “I’ll be back”?

I try to avoid spending all of my time in a new place planning my next visit and thinking about who I want to share it with. Life is short and we can’t see all the places with all the people. I set out with the goal of enjoying the experience for what it is.

(That said I do want to take my mother on the cruise ship through the French Pacific that Susan took me on last year. But I also want to go with Susan again. It would be fun take Sarah too. Also, I left Barcelona this time with promise to visit the Picasso Museum next time.)

But Girona! I was there for just a day in between Barcelona and Perpignan during last week’s European travels. It’s got so many things I love: art, old buildings, museums, cathedrals, good did, good coffee, and BIKES.

Here’s an official description of the city: “Girona is a city in Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region, beside the River Onyar. It’s known for its medieval architecture, walled Old Quarter (Barri Vell) and the Roman remains of the Força Vella fortress. Landscaped gardens line the Passeig Arqueològic, a walkway following the Old Quarter’s medieval walls, which include watchtowers with sweeping views.”

The biking angle? Read this guide to cycling in Girona. Great roads, lots of other cyclists, excellent coffee. Our hotel was clearly prepared for guests on two wheels. There was a spin studio, bike storage, and a scale in the bathroom. (Oh weight obsessed cyclists!)

Former pro-cyclist David Millar, interviewed in the article linked above, had this to say about the place:

“There’s a reason Girona has become the go-to place, and it begins with five things: one, good training roads i.e varying terrain, quiet, good quality; two, good weather (winter rarely below 0, summer low 30s); three, airports nearby; four, other professionals to train with, and five, a good quality of life for the whole family.

“The city itself is a hidden treasure, so close to Barcelona yet as far removed as one can imagine,” Millar adds. “Everybody who visits here for the first time is taken aback with its beauty and without fail is shocked they had not known about it or visited before. It doesn’t have a vast array of hotels because it is more of a day visit sort of place, it’s only the recent cycling tourism that has created a new form of visitor.

“With that tourism there is a changing of the café culture, with Christian Meier’s La Fabrica and Espresso Mafia [more on them below] leading the way. I moved here in 2006 and there were less than 10 professionals living here, legend goes there is over 100 living here now.”

Looks like there are lots of bike tour and rental options. We saw a company called Bike Cat. There were lots of bike tours, like this one,