Having explored the best parts of Girona the day before, it was time to move further afield. In my research I had read about Besalú, a sleepy medieval village with a magnificent bridge which was worth visiting and easily accessible by bus from Girona.

Besalú has what must surely be one of the most grandiose and spectacular entry gates in the world, and it’s a pity that the bus simply zips by it allowing passengers just a fleeting glimpse. Passengers are only allowed to disembark in a nondescript area further along the main road through the town, at the other end of the historical centre. Gianluca and I entered Besalú from the back entrance, so to speak.

And we immediately became lost. In actual fact, one pleasant way to explore a new place is to get lost and just wander around. But not today. It was suffocatingly hot and my sciatica – unfortunately, a common thread running through most of my blog posts here this year – was hurting even more than usual. We eventually found a way into the main square. Besalú is hardly a metropolis, although it was rather more important than nowadays in the early Middle Ages. Hence, most probably, the bridge, which we reached in a roundabout way aboard one of those tiny toy trains for tourists.

2017-07-18 13.06.372017-07-18 13.08.032017-07-18 13.10.262017-07-18 13.27.252017-07-18 13.30.17

Truly impressive.

A river flows next to Besalú, underneath the bridge.

2017-07-18 13.43.192017-07-18 13.34.31

We entered the old town, this time from the front door.

2017-07-18 13.43.11

2017-07-18 14.04.202017-07-18 13.58.02

The heat was oppressive! An ice cream and a slush helped to cool us down a bit as we walked along the perimeter and into the centre to experience, to quote my favourite travel blog Eternal Arrival, the “sleepy medieval vibe” of Besalú.

Sleepy medieval vibe? Well, not exactly! The mid-summer peace and quiet that should have accompanied our early afternoon patates braves, Estrella beer and Coca Cola, ‘al fresco’ in the main square of old Besalú, were shattered by a noisy mechanical sweeper being driven round and around, endlessly chasing pieces of paper and pizza cartons that were blowing about in the wind.

2017-07-18 14.36.53

What a frightful din!

Eventually, the moment we finished our tapas, a blissful silence was reigning once again. When in Spain, do as the Spaniards do… Siesta time suggested that we should wait for the next bus back to Girona and seek the cool and comfortable haven of our adopted home there for a well-earned rest and the next much anticipated evening meal in the Placa de la Indipendencia. Or maybe in the old Jewish quarter. Or the Zarpanzar pintxos restaurant…