Since moving to Girona in September 2014 I can say with authority it’s the best place I’ve ever lived. I spent a summer in Boston at 19 and another in Sri Lanka at 20. I moved to Australia the following year and resided in Bondi for six months. I’ve spent most of my life in Ireland, either studying or working.
I had a great life where I lived in Ireland, earned good money doing what I loved, worked with amazing people, lived with or close to my best friends and family and wanted for absolutely nothing, or so I thought.
So I quit the job, packed my bags (and bikes), moved to Girona and started on a journey that has been the most exhilarating one I’ve ever been on so far. I had no idea where it would take me when I came – but it’s one I’ll not be ending any time soon.
I knew one person when I arrived. The only trouble was, she was moving to the US for work the day before I came and I was taking her apartment on a six-month lease. The key was under the mat when I found it on Carrer de la Rutlla. I opened the door to a new life in Girona 18 months ago, not knowing anyone or a single syllable of Spanish or Catalan.
Here are 20 reasons you should do the same…
1) The lifestyle
So what does that word actually mean, then? Well, to me it’s year-round sunshine and a (very) relaxed attitude to life. Life is savored and enjoyed at a slower pace here. People walk in the streets at night, stop to chat for hours, take a beer or a coffee at any hour of the day and are genuinely interested in how you are. Well-being is everyone’s business.
2) The weather
Yes, the sun shines here an awful lot and there’s no better feeling than opening the blinds in the morning and having your eyes burned by the brilliant ball in the sky. It stays there too. It sounds cliché but the weather impacts my mood. I’ve been in a good mood now for 18 months. Feel free to hate me!
3) The food
Girona is blessed with some of the best restaurants in the world and in fact, it has one that’s twice been voted the world’s best. (El Cellar de Can Roca). There are endless eateries in the city and they’re very well-priced too. You can get a superb three-course meal with wine for less than €20 while during the day, most places will serve a set menu, or Menu del Dia for under a tenner. This, by the way, is a bottle of water or wine, a bread basket, two main courses and a desert! Not bad eh?
4) The coffee
Prepare to become a coffee addict or aficionado. I’m probably the former at this stage…and I’m not seeking help for it! The place has an array of places, but the best is La Fabrica. It’s a stunning little spot in the heart of the Barri Vell and it’s where all the pros get their cortados in the morning. Amber Meier will greet you with a smile and if her husband Christain isn’t racing (with top professional team Orica-GreenEDGE), he’ll be on hand to serve you too. Coffee spots crop up every week…the trouble is keeping up!