Disclaimer: This blog is a partially fictional account of our recent visit to the city of Girona, Spain and is not a completely accurate representation of the events as they transpired. This blog was written tongue in cheek in a Gonzo journalistic style, a la Hunter S. Thompson (albeit poorly) with the hope of being humorous. My full apologies to Hunter S. Thompson and his Family. We’re not really alcohol crazed, mostly in a stupor, type people.
With that said, we actually did go to Girona and some of the events described in this post did actually happen. We’ll leave it to you to decide which ones.
It was a warm, sunny morning in Perpignan, the kind that stings the head after a night of pastis, topped with a heavy dose of wine. Movement being uncomfortable, we decided that hanging out on the patio, while trying to counteract the prior evenings affects with coffee and croissants, was our best course of action. And we were content to extend this laziness into the rest of the day.
But, our ‘Gonzo Porsche’ driver and tour guide, Karine, had other ideas. “Get dressed. We’re going to Girona to see the flower festival.” she said. Flower festival? That sounds kind of dull and that’s in Spain, we thought to ourselves. Sensing our reluctance through our glazed eyes and drool, she exuberantly exclaimed, “Come on, you’ll love it. It is fantastic and beautiful. What will you write about for your next blog post, sitting around, drinking pastis all day?” She had a point, although I think we could probably fill a few pages on the long term affects of pastis drinking. So a few minutes later, after a last snort of coffee, the three of us, our cameras and sunglasses, are loaded into the ‘Gonzo Porsche’ and we’re off with no idea of what to expect.
On The Road
The Gonzo Porsche — being the ripe old age of 27 (’89 Peugeot) — laughed at our alcohol induced pain with each road bump, all the while, clanging and whining — as if paying us back for the forced road trip. An hour and a half later we exited the highway at the first Girona exit. “Merde! I got off too early.
Well, we’ll just have to make do.” Karine shouts as we clawed our way through the heavy traffic of Girona. Our heads were feeling a bit better by now, so we were able to help locate a decent parking place near the Old City center where most of this flower happening was happening.
The Grand Entrance
Slowly, we stumbled our way around hoards of people, and snapped photos of everything and anything, we knew full well that we probably wouldn’t remember much tomorrow. As I was attempting to photograph the mayhem, we worked our way across a flower covered bridge to enter the old city where we received our first real taste of the Girona Temps de Flors.
Altered States – Cruising Wonderland
pastis/wine blur from the night before rushed back, as the festival was more like a Grateful Dead concert meets the Rose Bowl Parade. We needed a map. Too many small streets. Doors everywhere. Lights, sounds, colors, exotic aromas permeated the air, people everywhere, people yelling and laughing everywhere. Too much! Karine found some kind of numbered map to help us navigate and we began wandering about, crossing off the numbers on the map as we exited each exhibit.
After an hour or so of sonic light displays, mind bending music, and even a few flowers, Karine shouted:
“Apero Time”. Fortunately, finding the nearest cafe for a re-hydrating beer was easy, as the streets were lined with bars between exhibits. Know your audience, I always say. Ahh…the alcohol actually helped make some sense of what we were seeing. Damn! Should have thought of this earlier. Properly re-hydrated, Carrie, finally able to speak, said: “I’m hungry and we need more alcohol. This place is too crazy straight.” Karine said that she knew just the place. See, she was here last year and knew what to expect.
Food With Our Medication
We wound our way through some tiny backstreets until Karine said: “This is it. This is the place.” It was a tiny little family run hole in the wall where tapas were the main speciality.
Karine said that we must try their croquettes, a tasty breadcrumbed fried roll filled with whatever is on hand. Croquettes it was, along with olives and cured meats, all topped off with a tasty chilled rose. The owner offered a local digestif: some kind of amber colored liquor, the final touch required to prepare us for the afternoon debauchery.
Mother Nature Gets in on the Act
The medication, however, did nothing to prepare us for the thunder, lightning and deluge that ensued, increasing the surreal landscape surrounding us. “Carrie, where’s the umbrella?” I asked. “In the car.” she said while Karine chimed in with “Merde!” So, when possible, we hit the inside exhibits or just got under another event attendees umbrella.
It’s now late afternoon and the senses were in complete overload (besides the alcohol was wearing off), so we decided to find the Gonzo Porsche and head back to France. Retracing our steps back to the car wasn’t easy after what we’d been through, but to our surprise, we found the old girl ready and waiting (probably sensing an opportunity to apply torture to our overloaded brains). “We’ll take the back way home. Safer in our frame of mind and I want to make one stop.” Karine said.
The stop was a border town between Spain and France. Cigarettes were cheaper there and we needed a sandwich and an aperitif. After passing the truck stop, lined with scantily clad Spanish hookers, we found a small bar/cafe. We got the typical local’s stare as we entered a large dark room filled with the nectar of sweet pastis. “Trois sandwich et trois pastis.” I told him as Karine ran out to find her cigarettes. We sipped our pastis while waiting for our sandwiches and Karine, we were entertained by an old man in the corner operating a drone. We were told it was the owner and that he was 90 years old. Loved to play with his drones, we were told.
Karine returned with her booty and we were re-medicated for the last jaunt of the trip. We sipped our night cap from the sanity of our apartment, we reflected on the craziness of the day. Only one thing left to say: As your attorney, I advise that you go to the Girona Temps de Flors next year.
Hike Drink Live Laugh (Apero Time!)
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