Church of Sant Feliu in Girona from across the river.

If you know Jeff and I, you know we love to explore beautiful places.  But we don’t like to share them with hoards of people. The New Yorker in Jeff, gets frustrated with anyone impeding his intent, and I get a little claustrophobic in crowds. This makes is difficult, if not impossible, to see some of the iconic tourist places.

Tours are a convenient way to see these places that are more remote, but often at the expense of sharing them with everyone else (definitely a trade off). In addition, they are scheduled for the middle of the day when the light is at its worst. A simple shot of a street or monument becomes snapshot at best.

Normally, the Seabourn puts together a personal and pleasant tour. So we took our chances and opted for a tour of the well preserved old walled city of Girona, Spain, outside of the Port of Palamos. We looked forward to being chauffeured and educated.

This tour was atypical. On board an over packed tour bus that had compacted the seats like the airplanes to fit more people, we set out like a can of sardines for the hour ride to Girona.

Despite numerous requests for AC, the heat was on and we began to roast. Ramon, our guide, liked to talk. He seemed to know a little about everything but not a whole lot about anything. It was hard to concentrate as many of us gasped for breath and dreamed of fresh air.


View of Girona from the bridge. An almost “Venice” feel with multi colored buildings reflecting in the river.

Our 50+ person group was split in two as we entered the city. Eager to leaving rambling Ramon behind, we went with the new guide who’s English, we quickly discovered, was poor at best. It was not a surprise that our group began to mysteriously shrink as we wound our way through the old section of the beautiful city.


A view into the old Jewish Quarter


The backside of the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona


Old stone architecture in the corner of the plaza

After an hour plus into the two hour tour, and about an hour later than we should have, we left the group to explore on our own.


Intricate patterns of vines on the old buildings


One of many narrow and winding alleys

Despite another overcast day, we tried to make the most of crowds and limited time.


Drawn to the color and textures surrounding this window


Terra-cotta tile roofs, blue painted window frames and red geraniums seem to be the common theme.


The corners of this iron window railing all had this hissing dragon.


Cobblestone streets are the norm in Europe. These were particularly difficult to walk on, but more decorative than most.

How do you think we did with our people and light challenges?

And remember, it’s all about the light.