What a lovely day was yesterday! The Matthews were very interested in the local Jewish history and wanted to take a tour out of town and see the countryside. I suggested them to visit Girona, then head to the little village of Besalú.
We left Barcelona in the morning with our private driver. The ride to Girona takes about 1.5 hour, and we spent this time discussing the Jewish History of Spain, local politics… and answering all kind of questions they had after a couple of days exploring Barcelona.
We entered Girona from its northern entrance: I love to do it this way because the view of the Old Town towering over the river Onyar is very scenic. And the Matthews loved it too! Then we started strolling around the medieval part of the city, passed the church of Saint Felix, then the city walls.
We decided to make a quick visit to the Medieval Baths, which I personally find charming, and also has a Jewish note in its history. We then continued leisurely strolling along the gardens of the city walls and we sat in a courtyard to hear the story of the attacks in 1391 and how the local Jewish community sheltered inside the Torre Gironella (now only a ruin), which eventually became a trap for them.
Next we walked down back to the Old Section, saw the Cathedral from outside and entered the Call – the medieval Jewish Section. The highlight of the visit was the Museum of History of the City, where we went even more in depth learning about the local Jewish past. We also saw the remains of the Girona mikhva, which have just recently been discovered.
We still had some more time to wander around the alleys of Girona before rejoining the driver and heading to Besalu.
This charming medieval town in the Girona countryside, features the other Medieval Jewish Baths (mikhva) found in Spain so far. We also discussed the history of the local Jewish community, as well as the Christian life that run parallel to it, and took loads of pictures of the milenary bridge that gives access to the village.
We enjoyed lunch in a charming local restaurant overlooking the river, and afterwards we headed back to Barcelona. The Matthews fall asleep on the way back: they had well deserved a little siesta time!
If you’d like to experience such a Jewish Heritage Tour from Barcelona, make sure to check out my website.