I finally crossed the border. I wasn’t in France anymore. I was in Spain… Or in Catalonia. Still in Catalonia actually, because the part of France I was in is also considered to be Catalan. Anyway… I passed a sign that said ‘España’.
I crossed the border in Le Perthus, and arrived in La Jonquera. Around the same location, the highway and the high speed trains cross the border. I arrived in quite a busy hub. There were a lot of truck parkings and a lot of tobacco shops. I stopped at a parking to use the toilets and a prostitute offered me her services. I politely declined. I decided to visit Cadaqués, where I met up with a former guest of me on Couchsurfing. This means I had to cross an other col, after having crossed the Pyrenees… and I had to cross the same one in the other direction the next day. It was worth the climb. Cadaqués is an amazingly beautiful place. The picturesque village had stunning views over the sea and the water was cristal clear.
I continued and followed the coast again, where there was an overload of French, Belgian, German and Dutch tourists. After a few days I had the desire to meet some more local people, so I went to the capital of the Girona province, Girona.
Girona is an amazingly beautiful city. The city used to be completely surrounded by walls and half of them are still there. You can walk from them from one part of the historical city to the other. At the end of the walk – or the beginning, depending where you start – there’s a beautiful little park with a lot of trees. A peaceful place with a lot of shadow.
The inner city is worth a walk as well. It has both Jewish and Arab influences. From most of the city, you can see two towers: the Cathedral and the Basílica de Sant Feliu. Since the city is built on a hill, you can see them in so many different perspectives.
By the way: you might recognise some stairs from the cathedral from something else. I’ll send my first post card to the first person who can tell me which famous tv series used those stairs for a scène:
If you know the answer, send a pm!
Enough about the history of the city now. Most of the inhabitants are very concerned about the future. Since Girona is an important city in Catalonia, the inhabitants are wondering what their future passports will say: ‘Spain’ or ‘Republic of Catalonia’. In fact, that’s what all the Catalans are concerned about. Here in Girona, a huge majority is in favour of a Catalan Republic. Before I continue, let me make something clear: this is a travel blog, and not a political blog. This means I’m not picking sides. I’m only talking about what I experience here. And in this case it’s about the desire of Girona’s inhabitants to have an independent Catalan state.
If you walk trough Girona, you will see a lot of Catalan independency flags, Catalan flags and yellow ribbons.
The yellow ribbons represent the support to the political leaders who are in exile or in prison. When the Catalan government decided to organise a referendum about the independency of Catalonia, the Spanish government did everything to stop it. The Guardia Civil and the Spanish National Police came to the polling stations to prevent the people from voting. The members of the government who didn’t escape the country got arrested and are still in prison. This is why this place is screaming more than ever for independency. And since the agressive reaction of the Spanish government and Justice system, more and more people got in favour of independency, even people who were more neutral before, or even against independency. My host on Couchsurfing even saw a lot of Spanish speaking people supporting independency during rallies in Barcelona. That’s where I’m going tomorrow. Let’s check it out!
As you see, there’s one picture with a Spanish flag between the Catalan ones…