Temps de Flors; The Girona Flower Festival
This year was the 60th anniversary of the Temps de Flors – the Girona Flower Festival.
Arriving early in the morning there was little evidence of any sort of a festival as I made my way towards the historic city centre from the bus station.
Passing a large building I poked my head into the courtyard and I was amazed to see oranges hanging down from a trellis and tiny little trees in pots. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this as the security guard beckoned me inside for a closer look.
Bemused, I continued on my way, crossing over the Eiffel Bridge (yes, designed by the one and only Mr Eiffel) and wondering at the outsized flowers which had been tethered in the river
I picked up a map from the tourist office and I tried to work out the best route to follow. I discovered that there were more than 125 official displays which were marked with numbered plaques and countless other floral installations dotted around the city.
Shops and businesses, churches and civic buildings, private houses and parks had all joined in to celebrate flowers and all things floral.
There were carpets of flowers cascading down steps in front of churches and alleyways.
There were formal displays inside churches and the Arab Baths, inside museums and the city hall.
The air was heavy with the scent of flowers and pollen drifted visibly around.
Parks and gardens, beautiful in their own right were topped up with funky and colourful art installations
Patis – patios and courtyards, normally hidden behind wooden doors had been opened up by residents so that you could wander around or you could peer through gates and bars into a private world which had been transformed into something spectacular.
Cloisters were jam packed with displays and with tourists who slowly moved around in the scorching sun, queuing to get into the highlighted ‘must visit’ spaces and craning necks over the crowds to see.
Restaurants had special menus to celebrate the festival, ice cream shops had huge queues and people rested in any shady place that they could find
I walked the city walls and looked down on the narrow streets. I climbed towers and I rested by cool pools . I sat and listened to a soul band and drank vermouth with a friend
I tied a ribbon onto a tree and I made a wish and then I stood and entranced, I listened to the haunting beautiful sounds of a cappella group
And then as the sun began to turn the old stone buildings soft ambers and dove greys I took one last look at the river and I made my way back to the bus station
I will be returning to Girona. I hope to see the huge trilogy of paintings by Quim displayed somewhere in the city. I want to spend time in the fascinating museums and learn more about the Arab Baths. I want to see another Temps de Flores