Posts filed under ‘Girona’

The birth of a research assistant

I had been planning to go to Girona to collect some documentation for a long time now but couldn’t figure out the best time to go. As usual, the decision was made for me when I found out that a famous Spanish historian would be giving a public lecture in Girona on Thursday night. Perfect, I thought. We’ll go to Girona, I can do research during the day while Alan wanders around, catch the lecture at night and we could spend the night. With that in mind we set out on Thursday morning.

I found a very nice two-star Pensión near the cathedral. Pensión Bellmirall is in a 14th-century house on a nice side street. We were very pleased with our room:

Room 2 at Bellmirall

After checking in, we set out to the Archivo Diocesano de Girona, where I had to collect some documents. Alan didn’t really feel like wandering the sights on his own so he volunteered to take pictures of the documents I needed. Since this was the first time he handled 14th-century documents, he was in constant awe. I’m always telling him about the neat books and documents I see people working with at the archives here in Barcelona and he was pleased to have the opportunity to handle some of these himself.

Register of Letters from the bishop Opening the books

This one still had its original cover:

Pink cover for an account book

Every once in a while we would find little drafts and notes stuck inside the books:


I was very pleased at the two archives I needed to visit. The people at both the Archivo Diocesano and the municipal archives were very friendly and nice. There was no red tape to speak of – no one demanded an introduction, reference letters and the like – and I was allowed to bring anything in the room. Very low profile. Both archives are also up to date with their use of technology and are working hard to digitize their documents.

After the work at the archives was done, we went out for lunch and took the afternoon off to explore the city a bit. The old town of Girona is beautiful and considered one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe. The city is also considered the best place to live in Spain. We had been there before and you can see some pictures here and here.

I really enjoyed our time there, maybe I’ll make the Jewish community of Girona my second project… That way we could spend a year there 😉

Despite feeling guilty for abandoning my main research here in Barcelona for a few days, the trip was successful and we can home with a few hundred pictures of documents that I can use for my thesis… And Alan has been named my official research assistant 😉 Go here for Alan’s take on his new job. Now, if only I could teach him paleaography….

March 17, 2007 at 2:06 pm 5 comments

Amazing food in Girona

Of course, after all that researching we needed to eat! I was determined to have a good eating experience and after a bit of research, I decided to have lunch at Mimolet, a new restaurant about a block away from the cathedral in a tiny side street. Call it gourmet Catalan at its best. It’s not cheap but for a restaurant of its class I didn’t find it terribly expensive either. A three-course lunch menu is 14.75 euros (at night an 8-course degustation menu runs at 40 euros, which is not bad at all). The meal was well worth it. We set right beside the cheese counter and all my efforts to live dairy-free went up in smoke and I had the five cheese taster for a first course. All I can tell you is wow, it was great.

How could I resist all those wonderfully smelly cheese??

Cheese at Mimolet

As a main course I had grilled dorade, a tasty white fish from the Mediterranean, served with some nice grilled vegetables. The fish was done to perfection – cooked only until it reached opacity. Alan had Arroz con sepia, which is a rice cooked with a kind of calamari. We both had coconut sorbet with ginger as dessert, served rolled in a nice bit of crepe. I liked the meal so much that I would love to go back one day to have the tasting menu…

At night we went to the Creperie Bretonne for some highly-recommened crepes. Although the crepes were all perfectly done and I discovered a new-found love for dessert crepes, which were never my thing, the neat thing about this place was the decor. They had a bus – that’s right, a bus – inside the restaurant! The bus was hollowed out and the waiters used it as the salad counter:

Bus Bus 2

All in all, a very successful eating holiday 😉

Mimolet is on C/Pou Rodó, 12 tel 972 20 21 24

Creperie Bretonne is C/ Cort Reial, 14 tel. 972 218 120


Update: There’s a Creperie Bretonne in Barcelona as well! It’s located under the big golden fish at the Passeig Maritim. And this one also has a bus inside:

Creperie Barcelona

Photo from Creperie Bretonne’s website.

March 17, 2007 at 2:06 pm 2 comments

Where Have I Been

I have been neglecting my blog since our move. Partly because of adjusting to a new environment and partly because I was more involved in Flickr. I’m back because I have something to write about.

Alex and I went to Girona. Alex had some research to do there and since there was going to be a talk about “Convivencia of Jews, Muslims and Christians in the Middle Ages” on Thursday we decided this was the time to go. We had planned to do separate things when we were there. In other words, I was going to go exploring while Alex would be in the archives doing her research. Those plans changed when we got there and I was going to become ………


We checked into our 14th century hotel (see Alex’s blog) and headed off to the archives. My role was to take digital photos of the documents Alex needed. This was exciting. I was actually going to be touching books and documents from the 14th century. Notes written in 1386. I found this to be amazing.

This was just one of many books we handled. Here are some others.

Most of the books had very plain covers and Alex told me that they used older documents to bind the newer ones. Here’s one with a notarial document dating from 1314 and used to bind documents from 1391.

As we looked for the particular entries that Alex was interested in we came across little pieces of paper (from the same period) with writing on them. They were little reminder notes and, in some instances, drafts of the documents. I found that to be amazing, 700 year old reminder notes.

It wasn’t all work and no play. Although the light was way to flat for photos (the old town is very monochromatic and even in the best of light, it’s hard to get good photos) I managed to get some good ones of the stairways in the archive buildings.

and …..

While wandering around the city we found another Subirach dedicated to the Cathedral of Girona.

The interesting thing about his work are the little details you discover. They are found on his other works too. Do you recognize this one from a previous post ? For more on Subirachs go here.

Alex had found some great places to eat (as only Alex can) and you’ll have to visit her blog for more details. Suffice to say that they were great, especially Mimolet.

After eating lunch, we walked the walls of the old city. Parts of the wall are from Roman times and they are in very good condition. There are ruins covering many centuries and it’s quite a feeling to wander through and around them. At the end of the wall, we walked over to the other side of the river. Alex wanted to find where the talk would be held. After we found it, I went back to our hotel and she went to the talk. We met up after for dinner.

To see more photos of Girona, go here in my blog.

We left Girona on Friday and got home around 5:00. At 9:00 we went out to Francisca’s for a Chilean dinner. I’m really sorry I didn’t bring my camera because Laura and Carmen danced some traditional Spanish dances. Laura also gave a demonstration of castanets. Really cool stuff and we had a great evening.

We left there around 1:30 and beleive me, I was tired. All in all, a great few days.

March 17, 2007 at 12:06 pm 2 comments


On Sunday we went with Sebastian to Horta, the last stop on the Metro blue line, Linea 5.  Seabstian manages a cooking school up there and he was giving us a guided tour. His school is a great place and fully supplied. I could see why he enjoys working there so much.

The kitchen was spotless and very well equipped.

After the tour we started walking back towards our neighbourhoods. Horta is quite the place and I’ll definitely have to go back there and explore more of the district. As it was, I had my eye out for stairs. There was a project on Flickr to submit photos with stairs in them. Here’s what I submitted, you should see some of the photos in that project. They blow my mind and almost prevented me from submitting mine.

I entered three from my archives …..

from Paris …….

another from Paris …….

and this one from Girona …

The three from Horta this past weekend ……..

and with a little effect added….

and trying a different angle ……

It’s fun doing this and gets you out to different places. I find when we are walking with our cameras we tend to look a lot more closely at our surroundings and notice small details that we probably would notice if we were just strolling. By the way, all of these photos are taken with a point and shoot digital, a Canon.

It’s great fun.

January 23, 2007 at 11:08 am 1 comment


After having a great day with Francesca and Keiko, I had to get down to work and write about it. Most of the day was spent processing the photos, sending copies to Francesca and writing the previous post. After that I spent some time going over old pictures to see if I could come up with more additions to Flickr.

Flickr is an online community of photographers, writers, artists and the like. I initially joined Flickr to have a means of posting my photos on this blog. I soon discovered that there is far more to Flickr than just storing and saving photos. There are different groups you can join and discuss your photos, get critiques and even enter contests. It actually influenced me to return to a hobby I hadn’t done for longer than I can remember. It motivates me to do more photography. There are amazing photographers in Flickr and their work is truly inspirational. Almost everyone I have had contact with is very encouraging. To be honest, I’m very intimdated by a lot of their work and creative endevours. Now it’s become a challenge to produce more interesting snapshots and get feedback from other people in the Flickr community. If you look to the right of this post you’ll see a box labelled Flickr Photos. Click on the picture under it and you’ll be able to see other pictures I put there.

Anyhow, here’s some photos I posted yesterday. All of these photos were taken with my Canon G6, a point and shoot camera.

From Paris

From Barcelona

another from Paris

and one from Girona

Have a great day.

January 18, 2007 at 3:53 pm Leave a comment

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