When I first heard the name of this town, I instantly thought of the Princess Diaries because the name was far too similar to Genovia. However, this city did have characteristics and architecture that gave you the feeling that you were in some sort of fairytale land. Girona was one of the places for our class’s Friday field trips.

At the entrance, you see a Lioness statue with some small steps right next to it. Our tour guide told us the story of how back in the Roman times when they had walls surrounding the city, citizens of the town had to be within the gates by sunset or else they would be left outside the doors for the evening. This was done to protect the city from outsiders. However, the people came up with a secret code to show the guards if they were locked out and were in fact from Girona: they would kiss the bottom of the lioness statue!

I am not a huge follower of Game of Thrones, but apparently Girona was one of the places used to shoot the show. With its Romaness, gothic and baroque architecture, I do not blame them. The Cathedral of Girona is probably one of the more iconic Game of Throne landmarks (at least that’s what my classmates would tell me). Inside the cathedral was just as beautiful. The glass-stained windows have always been my favorite part of these churches. This one in particular had this courtyard surrounded by pillars; above each pillar, there were carvings of the most famous Bible stories. If you were to follow along the pillars, you could unfold the tale yourself. There was something peaceful about this courtyard that made it my favorite place in Girona.

We also got to tour the Arab baths, which were preserved thanks to local nuns who recognized that this place was in great condition for its age and wanted to continue that. I was surprised myself of the preservation, as our tour guide gave us rich history on the importance of each of the 3 rooms. People of Girona used to only shower once a month, so it was a luxury and recreational time to go to the baths.

We walked to the very top of one of the preserved Roman walls of the city where we had a breathtaking panoramic view of Girona. The walls, now full of greenery, kind of reminded me of a jungle gym, which stairs, bridges and walkways. There’s a line to go to the very top with a steep staircase but it is definitely worth the trek!

Afterwards, we learned more about the Jewish Quarter and how badly they were mistreated in the city back then because they were believed to bring the bad luck to the city. These areas had very narrow roads which would easily be crowded. As we walked through, I overheard a man playing his Spanish guitar on some steps and it was the first time I had heard one all trip! It reminded me of that scene in Cheetah Girls 2 where Angel is playing from the top of the restaurant.

During our down time, my friends and I ate at this great Italian place and got some ice cream at this well-known ice cream shop called Rocambolesc Ice Cream. We also walked across this bridge that was designed by the same man who made the Eiffel Tower!

This was a beautiful field trip and a nice way to explore Spain outside of Barcelona. I enjoy them because it’s like traveling is part of my curriculum for the class.

Paulina Hernandez studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain in summer 2018: