- The area around and walking up to Seigfreid’s castle in Germany: I walked up to this on a deserted old road, early in the morning, with only a handful of other people around. It was a magical misty morning. The castle and grounds had not been preserved. It felt like stepping back in time.
- Amboise in France: This is the town that took in Leonardo da Vinci when he was kicked out of Italy for his heretical views. There are houses still in use that are carved into the surrounding rock walls. It also has a lovely castle that belonged to the Prince who took da Vinci in.
- The Cliffs of Mohrer and the Burrens in Ireland: I cannot think of the name of the town we stayed in. It had a lovely inn in a small town very near to the Cliffs and Burren. It is an area with fields, stone walls, the Burrens and the Cliffs of Mohrer. There are small, abandoned castles and lots of sheep with their butts spray painted different colors.
- Jaisalmer, India: I adored Jaiselmer! It is a magical place. It is still inhabited, so you can get a feel for how these forts used to function.
- Both Eger and Sopron, Hungary: Eger has churches and cathedrals with a beautifully preserved muezzin. The wine dungeons are a fun experience. We stayed inside the old Roman walls in Sopron. Can you tell I like historical places?
- An old castle we visited in the Ukraine: When my daughter-in-law’s father heard I love castles he took us to 2. The first one we went to was almost empty surrounded by stinging nettles. (Ouch!) It was the first time I could really imagine what it was like to be back in the Middle Ages!
- Machu Picchu: We hiked in to Machu Picchu along the Santa Teresa trail. It is a magical way to get to one of the most spectacular places in the world.
Back to Girona
Breakfast was at the Historic Hotel. It was delicious. We found the fruit and vegetables from Catalan to be some of the best we ever ate! There are several options for staying in Girona. We opted to stay in a historical family room. In the only Jewish residence still in use.
The following is from an interview with our Xave who with his family owns the Historic Hotel and Casa Cundaro. Girona was built in 1 before God (that is a quote). The Jewish quarter was established 8-9 centuries after God. It was designed so that the Christian District was higher on the hill than the Jewish Quarter. This area was walled, so if their families expanded and they needed more space they would block off lanes and build rooms there or build an arch over the lane and then build rooms on top. That was the only way they could expand. The dining room of the Historic Hotel have stones in its walls that were used to build walls by the Romans.
Casa Cundara was owned by a family and passed down for generations. We would learn at the Jewish Museum a couple of days later that the family would have had to convert to Christianity in order for that to happen. The family stopped using it, and it was bought by their neighbors, the current owners. When the new owners bought it they wanted to put a jacuzzi in the garden area. When they began the project, they found something buried under the garden. They had to call archaeologists in when they excavated it. They found 2 houses with a street running between them. They dated what they found to Roman times. They also discovered a mezuzah that is over 1000 years old. (I know it shows a menorah not a mezuzah.)
One of the reasons Girona looks as it does, is that when movies and TV shows are made there, the town uses the revenue to continue the restoration of the historic district. Xave asked if we had seen Perfume. We had not, but I have read the book. I asked if the people from the Game of Thrones had contacted him about staying there. They called him when we were eating breakfast. This is where I would want to stay if I were them!
Girona is a walled city. We woke the kids and walked the wall. There were very few people. One of the most surprising things about Girona is how few people there are visiting it. Lucky for us but surprising. It is so special! The walls and the town they surround are a mix of Roman walls and structures, buildings and walls built by the many rulers since then, and more modern work that has been done to make the structures sound.
The lady bugs we saw had an elongated shape. One of my biology professors once told us that people call this the age of man. It would be more correct to call it the age of the beetle. (Lady bugs are beetles.)