Are you going to be in Barcelona on a Sunday? Take advantage of Barcelona’s free museum Sundays and spend a few hours at the Museum of Barcelona History (MUHBA). The museum is free after 3 pm every Sunday and all day on the first Sunday of […]
Famed poet and Lisbon native Fernando Pessoa once wrote “The value of things is not the time they last, but the intensity with which they occur. That is why there are unforgettable moments and unique people!” Such, fittingly, was my short but sweet time in […]
Girona for the Game of Thrones lover: the ultimate 2019 self-guided tour of Girona GoT filming locations
The city of Girona is worth a stop when traveling in Spain, regardless of whether or not you are a Game of Thrones fan. While touring the historic medieval center, be sure to stop at some of Girona’s Game of Thrones filming locations and geek out on the city that stars as Braavos, Oldtown, and Kings Landing. Read on for the ultimate self-guided tour of GoT filming locations in Girona, but beware: major Season 6 spoilers are ahead!
Game of Thrones Girona Tour
Start where most tourists begin their tour of Girona: from the tourist information point next to the public parking. Cross the Rio Onyar via the Pont de Sant Feliu, which will take you to the beautiful Sant Feliu church.
It’s not in Game of Thrones (that I know of, but it’s worth a stop . . . and not because Mark Zuckerburg ate at the River Cafe at the bottom of the steps). Admire the beautiful Baroque facade before taking a left down Carrer de la Barca (next to the River Cafe), which will lead you to Carrer del Bellaire at the first intersection: make a right onto this street and admire the beautiful bridges across the dry creek bed before taking the steps down to Carrer del Riu Galligant, known in GoT speak as Oldtown.
Scene 1: Sant Pere Galligants (Oldtown)
Samwell, Gilly, and Sam Jr. hesitantly approach the front desk of the Maesters’ citadel, which is actually Benedictine monastery Sant Pere de Galligants. This Romanesque 11th century building is now home to an Archaeology Museum that is worth a visit: the large building makes you feel as small as Sam and Gilly seem when approaching the Maester’s desk.
After visiting the monastery, walk around the back to the peaceful garden and pond area. Take the bridge from the garden and cross the dry creek bed, climbing the stairs to enter Plaza del Jurats, which is where the theater scenes with Arya were filmed.
Scene 2: Plaza del Jurats/Arya and theater scenes
You will recognize Plaza del Jurats as the location of the (very meta) theater production that Arya watches, where the actors play out the scenes of the lives of her family members and the Lannisters.
Behind this camera is a wall with stairs: take these up to a small garden area with a better view.
Walk through the gate to the left of the building (which, you may notice, was covered by green wooden doors in GoT), and head on to your next location, the Arabic Baths. After exiting Plaza del Jurats, take the immediate left stairs.
Scene 3: Arya and The Waif chase scene
Several times in Season 6, there are market scenes in Braavos: these were all filmed here. To your right are the Banys Arabes (Arabic Baths), which are worth a visit for any tourist. Inside are the baths that Arya stumbled upon during her chase scene with The Waif.
Outside of the Arabic Baths is the street where the market scenes were filmed, and the cobblestone streets and stone walls make it easy to imagine the scene. Head down this street, Carrer de Ferran el Catolic, as it wraps around to Via Augusta. Take a left to head to Scene 4. We are entering Kings Landing!
Scene 4: Queen Margaery’s Atonement; Sept of Baelor
The pinnacle scenes of Season 6 happen here, at the main Girona Cathedral. As you approach the cathedral from Via Augusta, you pass under a large archway: this is the same archway Jamie Lannister and his troops, including House Tyrell, marched under to prevent Margaery’s atonement. Swoon.
Walk up the steps (all nearly 90 of them!) and thank your stars you’re not riding up them in a horse (how cool was that?). From the top, notice how the green screens and CGI allowed for the addition of the ocean. Technology!
Of course, the church is also the Great Sept of Baelor, and the pinnacle of the last episode of Season 6.
Sigh. I guess they won’t be filming Season 7 in Girona after all.
The cathedral is worth a visit: if you’d like to see its impressive nave, you can buy tickets to the left of the entrance (if you’re facing the beautiful doors and facade). If not, head to your right for some more photos and for Scene 5, Arya as a blind beggar and the first fight scene with The Waif.
Scene 5: Arya’s blind training with The Waif
After walking to the side of the Cathedral, you will notice that you have three options: walk down the steep street, walk to your right and slightly up for the upper part of historic Girona, or go through an archway and ascend steps that take you behind the Cathedral. Take this last route to Bisbe Cartaña, near the Jardins de la Francesa.
Heading up the stairs, this street will wrap around the Cathedral, which allows for a beautiful and close-up view of the church’s architecture. It will also take you to the first scene of Season 6 with Arya, where she is begging and is then approached by The Waif for fight training.
From here, we have to make it to the final stops: beautiful Sant Domenec via Carrer Sant Llorenc. To do so, head back the way you came: down the steps to the Girona Cathedral, all the way back to the beginning of the church steps. From here, while facing the cathedral, Via Augusta will be to your left and another street, Carrer de la Forca, will be to your right. Take this street.
Scene 6: Carrer Sant Llorenc
One look at the narrow, stone street’s archway and steps and it makes sense why this was used for some of the Arya and The Waif chase scenes: it’s a GoT director’s dream. Stop here for some pics and be sure to head up it as well: it’s actually quite a long street! From here head back to Carrer de la Forca, where you were.
Carrer de la Forca is a great place to do some souvenir shopping, if you’re into this sort of thing. (I love the pottery and ceramic shops along it!) Shopping or not, continue down this street until you get to our final stop, Pujada de Sant Domenec.
Scene 7: The steps of Sant Domenec
The narrow stone stairs leading up to Pujada Sant Domenec’s gorgeous convent doors was one of my favorite places in Girona long before it was the market scene with Arya and The Waif. The beautiful stairs were the location for the scene where Arya jumps out the window and lands in the middle of the market, knocking over an orange cart.
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments. I could geek out on this stuff all day.
Stay in Girona
The best thing about staying in Girona? Exploring the medieval city at night, when the streets are deserted and you feel as if you have the entire medieval center to yourself! We love Girona so much that we bought a vacation home there: check out our adorable, completely renovated and modern top-floor, two-bedroom Air BnB in the historic center. Its beautiful views of the Sant Feliu cathedral are pretty magical, and so is waking up to the peeling of church bells and the view of the steeples peaking through the skylights. Mention this article when you book the apartment and you will receive a 15% discount on the total price of the booking.
The problem with restaurants in Spain? You’re overwhelmed with culinary choices. Tapas, pinchos, afternoon-long paella lunches, bites at a vermuteria . . . the options are endless and, let’s face it: we only have so much stomach real estate. What to eat when in Spain? […]
When your husband asks you what you want for your birthday and you say, “A trip to Roquefort,” you’re either a Francophile, fromatgophile (I just made that word up) or weird. I might be a bit of all three, but when it comes to our […]
Food for thought: have you ever had a bad churro? From the stick-straight variation I grew up on (hello, childhood memories of county fairs and Disneyland!) to the delicious, dulce de leche-filled churro covered with peanuts that I sampled from a vendor in Brazil, I’m putting my money on the churro. Like ice cream, puppies, finding money in coat pockets, and my Mom’s pumpkin fudge, churros are never a bad thing.
Churros are quite popular in Spain but, truth be told, before moving here I associated the treats with Mexican cuisine (and amusement parks). I had tasted so many delicious churros on trips to Mexico; I’ll never forget this perfect plate of cinnamon-y deliciousness in San Miguel de Allende. Sigh.
But then I moved to beautiful Barcelona. In case the Mediterranean climate, sandy beaches, beautiful parks, super cool vermouth-drinking culture, impressive Gaudi-influenced architecture, incredible cathedrals, and mystic Gothic Quarter weren’t enough (and goodness, are they ever enough) . . . the city has a street dedicated to chocolate and churros.
So THAT’S what everyone does when it’s too cold to drink at chiringuitos.
Carrer Petritxol, a small, dark, and windy street in the Gothic Quarter, empties into Plaça del Pi, a 14th century Gothic square surrounded by stone facades and overlooked by a rose-windowed church. Some days, there is a market in this square (where I have bought some of the best cheeses and chocolate bars); when the plaza is clear, it’s a beautiful place to grab a glass of cava and people-watch. Pedestrians pour into the plaza after winding their way down “Chocolate Street,” where granjas (bars) line the streets and serve up chocolate y churros.
Churros here aren’t the stick-straight, cinnamon-and-sugar-covered, wax-paper-wrapped treats I’d clutch while walking through Frontierland. They come twisted in every which-way, (I’m resisting making a “no two churros are made alike” joke, although I think I just did) and are served plain, alongside a cup of hot chocolate topped with a heaping scoop of fresh (so fresh!) whipped cream. I was surprised that the chocolate was served with a packet of sugar but quickly learned why: the thick, dark chocolate drink is rich and unsweetened. A dash of sugar added to the chocolate, a dip into the cocoa and cream, and I had it all figured out: I was experiencing a little
slice dip of heaven with this perfect cold-weather combo.
So now I’m not only a Barcelona lover, but I’m a churro lover; specifically, a chocolate y churro lover. Yes, I came to BCN for summer sun and the cava. But I’m staying for the winter and its chocolate treats.
Is this real truffle oil? We’ll find out. Mac and cheese. Popcorn. Eggs. Pastas. I’ll eat truffle on nearly everything, so it’s no surprise that Umbria, one of the Italian truffle regions, happens to be one of my favorite places in the world. I fell […]
You either love or really hate the idea of visiting a museum filled with mummies, and since you’re reading this, I’m assuming we are on the same level of appreciation of things grotesque and macabre. Thanks, friend. You weirdo. During a trip to Mexico, we […]
Taking a pasta making course during our time in Bologna was sort of a no-brainer: pasta is at the heart of Italian cuisine and Emilia-Romagna, the region where Bologna is located, is known as the “stomach” of Italy. Brain, stomach, heart . . . we’re close to constructing an entire Italian with this here post.
In all seriousness though, as food lovers, we often try to take cooking courses while visiting another country, and a pasta making class was high on our “to-do” list during our three months in Italy. We decided to save the best for last and took the course at La Vecchia Scuola Bolognese during the final two weeks of our trip.
I’ll be honest: we did not take the course so that we would cook handmade pasta as home: living in San Diego’s Little Italy, there’s plenty of that around! Out of sheer curiosity I did, however, want a better knowledge of the pasta making process. What are the tricks? What makes it so damn good?
Tips and tricks for pasta making
Tip 1: The Dough’s Components. Ingredients are key, this we cooks know, and especially when making something like pasta, which has so few ingredients. I assumed Italians used the highest quality flour around, and that the quality of the water played a key role in the pasta’s flavor and texture. What I didn’t expect was the color imparted by the eggs: did you know that eggs yolks in Italian are called “the reds?” Forget the pale yellow things you scrambled as a kid: Italian egg yolks are a vivid orange (not exactly red: read about why Italians justify calling yolks rosso here). It makes sense when you consider the color of pasta dough (seen below), which is merely water, flour, and eggs. That beautiful sunflower color had to come from somewhere!
Tip 2: Environment matters. You should have seen the look on the instructor’s face when we asked if we could repeat this pasta making process at home on our large granite countertop. Pasta needs a large wood surface and a wooden dowel to be rolled out. No direct sunlight, and no extreme temperatures. And, apparently, no granite.
Tip 3: Know when to stop kneading. The photo below, which is of a large ball of dough that has been cut in two, shows exactly when the kneading should end. Notice the air bubbles: these are key, and too much kneading will result in a loss of these crucial bubbles.
Tip 5: Elephant skin. See the wrinkly skin of the pasta in the above photos? That’s good.
Tip 6: Leave enough room in your filled pastas. See above and below photos (and note use of fun crinkle-edge making tool in photo below. Further justification of purchase of fun pasta-making toys!).
Tip 7: Expand your repertoire. Noodle pasta (linguine, fettuccine, tagliatelle, which is pictured below) are not that difficult to make. Roll the pasta flat, fold it over itself, and cut. Use your fingers to twirl each of the pieces into rounds and let them dry.
Tortellini en brodo recipe
A classic Christmastime dish in Northern Italy, this is something I crave every time the weather turns cold!
You will need:
The end. Actually . . . not at all. Because tortellini fillings–and stock recipes–are endless! I trust Mario Batalli, my second favorite Italian (husband is the first, of course!) for traditional, authentic recipes. Check out his recipe for both the pasta and the broth: it even includes detailed instructions for how to prepare your pasta.
Click here to learn a little more about La Vecchia Scuola Bolognese, which also has three and five-day pasta making courses, classes on bread making, desserts . . . you name it.