2017-10-03 Hotel Carlemany, Girona, Spain

Looking from our window in Hotel Carlemany this morning we see a lot of disruption with hundreds of people rallying in the adjoining square
Local Police are surrounded by chanting protesters against the hard force used by Police in Barcelona with the people who were in favour of the Catalan Independence. Fortunately it all remained calm here and the Police ended up joining in the march with thousands of people through the streets of Girona
Once the roads in the town cleared we decided to go for a drive north of the city. Absolutely nothing was open in Girona as everybody was on strike against what was happening in Spain re the Catalan Independence
As we head up the highway dozens of tractors make their way towards the city centre of Girona obviously in protest against what is happening and the unlawful imprisonment of the leaders of the pro ‘Independence Movement’
More protesters sit and block the highway as we make our way out of town!!
We get on Road C-66 which will take us 24 kms to the town of Banyoles with it’s beautiful lake

It is not long before we arrive in the picturesque town of Banyoles
The area of the lake, being the largest natural lake in Catalonia, is 112 ha. It is 2100 m long and 750 m wide and average depth of 15 m (max depth being 62.4 m)
The lake is used for water sports, such as canoeing, rowing or water skiing and can be a great place to walk or cycle around. It appears that during holiday time it would be a nice place to visit
Today Banyoles is like a ghost town with no people, no shops, restaurants or cafes open and just a handful of visitors here, like ourselves
We didn’t spend much time here in Banyoles and decided to head north west on road GI-524 in the direction of the town of Olot
Our pleasant drive takes us through beautiful countryside

A quick drive through another deserted town of Mieres and we continue on to Santa Pau
We approach the medieval village of Santa Pau which is situated amongst extinct volcanoes and consists of stone houses jumbled together along irregular laid out streets

We attempt to enter the town via the narrowest of pathways and gave up as time was ticking by and as there was nowhere to leave the car…..

Continuing on we arrive at Olot which like the tiny village of Santa Pau is famous for the surrounding volcanoes. Unfortunately as it was getting late and without a shop or a cafe open we decided to head back to Girona via the tourist town of Besalu
Driving back in an easterly direction we arrive at our next stop
Besalu, another medieval town was built between two rivers
The ancient town is a popular destination for tourists staying in the Girona area

Iglesia de San Vicente the old Catholic Church in Besalu
Besalu also appeared to be deserted, just like the other towns we briefly visited today
Even one of the town squares which would normally be a busy lively place with tourists is abandoned today!!
Following the dark narrow alleyways we search for the entrance to the bridge
Finally we find a path to see the medieval town’s most significant feature which is the 12th-century Romanesque bridge over the Fluvià River
Beautiful reflections of the bridge can be seen today in the almost perfect calm conditions
The bridge is certainly a delightful attraction for the medieval town of Besalu
It was a worthwhile  detour visiting the old town and it’s stunning bridge
The day had disappeared and at 6 pm we were finally on our way back heading south east to Girona where we are staying
This sign gave us a chuckle!!
On our return to Girona the Police presence in the streets was quite significant
Streams and streams of people were mostly heading in the same direction

Once back at the hotel we fortunately made a booking for the hotel restaurant which was one of very few that were open tonight in all the town
At 9 pm we arrive for dinner in the hotel restaurant and order a nice Spanish red to have with our 3 course dinner (with 2 choices) which was all that was available tonight
Ric chooses the soup
We share the salad which was fresh and nice
The rib eye steak, although cut on the thin side suited Ric’s hunger quite well
The fish although a little overdone was quite acceptable 
Saving the red wine to take to our room, we order a couple of Spanish dessert wines to sample on our last night in Spain
Delicious apple pie and ice cream comes next
Followed by a chocolate raspberry mouse….

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