GIRONA: WHY I LOVE THE AIRPORT ?

I exaggerated a bit with that love but it’s a very special place for me due to a story I’ll tell you about. This airport is also kind of peculiar owing to the fact that it functions only thanks to Ryanair and it can effectively make life difficult for tourists. Girona is perfect for one-day trip. Find here plan of visiting  and more info.


Girona: How did I get here?


Having visited Minorca, Majorca, Ibiza and Barcelona I had to get to Girona from where I was later catching a flight to Bergamo and then to Sicily. I had never been there before so I thought it was a great opportunity to visit it. I had my flight on Saturday at 6am, so I decided that it would be a good idea to go there by bus early in the morning on Friday, visit the town and then spend a night at the airport. At that time I was a poor student who had just served a training period in expensive Minorca, so unfortunately my budget was very limited. I didn’t plan to stop anywhere for a night as I had to be at the airport very early. The only problem was my sizeable luggage, namely, a 30-kg suitcase, 15-kg hand luggage bag and a laptop bag. I always left my things in a left-luggage office at stations or airports. So the problem got solved by itself.

9. lotnisko w gironie


Girona: problem with luggage at the airport


I arrived at the airport in Girona at 8am and went straight to the tourist point. My face expression must have been priceless when it turned out there was no left-luggage office at the airport. The guy with a map and two huge backpacks standing next to me must have been shocked as well. Wasting no more time, he only shrugged his shoulders and headed towards the town hoping to find a left-luggage office somewhere in town. I would be willing to do the same if only I was able to move around with my luggage.

The guy at the information point looked nice so I asked him for phone numbers to hotels where I could ask for the possibility of storing my luggage in their left-luggage office for a small fee of course. I guess I already called all the hotels when finally in the last one I got enlightened that there wasn’t anything like a left-luggage office in the whole Girona and they didn’t have one as well. Seriously? – I thought. I won’t be sitting at the airport till 6am tomorrow after all. I went first to an airport store and then to a police station asking for the possibility of storing my luggage there. I was being hunted by a bad luck since the very beginning of my journey but it already went over the top. I thought I was going to burst into tears. Suddenly the boy from the information pint approached me and started comforting me.

-Don’t be sad. You’ve got such beautiful eyes.

-Thanks, but so what. What am I to do now? My plane is at 6am tomorrow.

-You’re Italian, aren’t you? We’ll figure something out for sure.

-I’m not.

-No? I thought you were flying to Sicily…

-That’s true but only to visit my friend. I’m from Poland.

-Well, wait here for a moment. I need to make one phone call.


How Adreas came up with a plan


I had not much choice left in that situation but to sit in a chair and wait. I was tired, hungry and pissed off so it was all the same to me. After 15 minutes Andreas, such was the boy’s name, came back with some good news. The plan was that I would leave my stuff in a trunk of his car and his girl-friend would give me a lift to town. I’ll pick it up later in the evening when he finishes his work and lectures at school. He will also drive me back to the airport. The plan sounded brilliant. There is only one problem – I don’t know either him or his girl-friend and I have there all my papers from school, medical documents, jewellery, my laptop, etc. Am I supposed to leave it all to a complete stranger?

I had no choice, however. I chose to trust him. I quickly paced my laptop bag with a camera, jewellery, other valuable stuff and some piece to clothing to change. I’ll take them with me. I’ll have something at the last resort. Everything went according to the plan. Maria, Andrea’s friend took me to the centre in her car and showed where the tourist centre was.

9. restauracja w Gironie


How I discover Girona?


I was getting more and more hungry, so I decided to have lunch in a local bar. Luckily for me they had menu del dia, which is a meal in a special price consisting of an appetiser, main course, dessert, water and wine. I must admit that I really stuffed myself for 9 euro. It did me good as I got relaxed a bit and was ready to visit the town. Going to Girona I didn’t expect anything special. Meanwhile I got very nicely surprised especially when it came to the contrast between historical architecture and the modern one which, unfortunately, isn’t too pretty. Did you know that the biggest historic Jewish district in Europe is just in Girona, together with the best preserved medieval old town in Spain? I discovered it only later.

9. girona stare miasto


Pon Eiffel Brisge and famous cathedral in Grirona


At first I walk Pon Eiffel bridge (yes, its name derives itself from the tower in Paris) over Onyar River to get to the other part of the town. The buildings look like little coloured boxes. Their pastel colours get reflected in water which gives an incredible visual effect.

9. girona pon eiffel

After a short walk in cobbled little streets I get to a famous gothic cathedral in Girona, which makes a huge impression on me from the very beginning. It’s phenomenal both outside and inside. I spend there one hour as it offers quite a lot to see. Later a quick photo session at the stairs from where you can see rooftops. As at its foot there is Jewish district El Call.

9. el call girona


The extraordinary architecture and an infinite number of churches


Another point is a roman church Sant Feliu, which is St. Felix. It was the first cathedral in Girona. Its tower can be seen from quite a distance. In the church, besides gothic and baroque ornaments there are Roman and early Christian graves. Right behind the church there are Arabian baths (Banys Arabs) , which were later made over into utility rooms by Capuchins.

9. kosciol sant feliu_laznie arabskie

On my way I also drop in Sant Nicolau church and Sant Pere de Galligants monastery which has a beautiful yard.


Let’s meet at Rambla in Girona


Girona impressed me not only with its medieval architecture but also with the huge influence of recession which was visible there. The time, however, didn’t stand still. Around 6pm as we had previously agreed I called Andreas to tell him I was in a café at the main promenade in town called Rambla de la Libertat. Unfortunately he didn’t answer. Well, it was to be predicted though. Once more did it turn out how naïve I was. I would never see that dude again and my stuff as well. I was so angry that I ordered another wine. After 30 minutes Andreas called me back with apologies asking where I was so that he could find me. He didn’t cheated on me. Later it turned out that he had left his backpack and a mobile in a locker at school, that’s why he didn’t know I was calling. As an apology, he invited me for supper. It was very nice and I was getting more and more aware how lucky I had been. Andreas turned out to be a very interesting person so we kept on talking for a few hours. I didn’t want him to oversleep to work the next day because of me, so around 11pm I suggested he take me back to the airport.

9. Girona Rambla


The night drive


On the way, however, he reflected that it was senseless for me to sleep at the airport while we could find a hotel. I felt embarrassed to admit I had no cash for it, so I started to weasel out that I had to get up at night anyway. But Andreas refused to listen. We started visiting different hotels on our way but luckily for me they were fully booked. I started stressing out with the fact that he kept asking for one room only. It was already dark. I completely didn’t know where I was. I’m sitting in a car with some strange boy. I feel more and more stressed. I even started planning an eventual escape. Luckily after 2 hours we arrived at the airport.


Again problem with luggage


I said goodbye to Andreas thanking him for his help. My check-in was 2 hours before my flight so I still had a lot of time. When it was my turn to check in, I checked my main baggage in and was just about to leave when I was asked about my hand baggage. I showed my bag and my laptop. It turned out I could have only one piece of baggage. Putting a big laptop bag inside the other bag would be a miracle. I went to a bathroom to put a few blouses on. I managed. It’s one-piece luggage now. At custom control, however, I got stopped again by female custom officers who insisted my bag was oversized. They started looking at it from all sides and pulling. As a consequence they ripped a hand-piece off. It was allegedly my fault as the bag was too heavy. Indeed, after being weighted it turned out it was 15 kg and only 5kg was allowed. I tried to explain that I was coming back home from my student training period and that was the reason I had so much stuff. The ladies were adamant. I have to check my luggage as a registered baggage otherwise I won’t be let through. I had less and less time for closing the boarding so I came back to a check-in desk. I got breathless when I was told to pay extra 250 euro. One fee was for checking my baggage in and the other for excessive kilograms because at that time it was allowed to have only one registered baggage. But I didn’t even have such cash on me anyway. At that time there were neither any cash machines at that airport nor the possibilities of paying by credit cards, so in one word I had a problem.


Andreas again saves m


The boarding was closing in 15 minutes and I felt my heart coming to my throat. I didn’t know what to do so I called Andreas. I have to leave my bag at the information point at his friend’s and he would send it to me later by post.

Andreas helped me once again. He picked up my suitcase and sent it later at his own expense (64 euro) to Denmark where I was studying at that time. Of course I paid him back, and 3 years later I met him again at the airport in Girona where I came on holiday with my boyfriend. Andreas went to the beach with us and ten helped us find a bus to Barcelona.

Currently he lives in London and we are still in touch. The world is full of wonderful people and they make travelling worthwhile. Do you think the same?


Myths about airport in Girona


While talking to other passengers later I found out that the airport in Girona has unofficial guidelines from Ryanair on the amount of additional fees that has to be collected from passengers for their baggage and it is consequently executed. I personally saw one girl bursting into tears and her friend leaving a plane to pay for her friend’s baggage. Allegedly it was oversized and the girl didn’t have enough money at her. Her suitcase fitted the stand perfectly. But according to an airplane employee the suitcase had been pushed inside by force. Some other time my friend had to pay extra for a small 10-inch laptop which she was holding in her hand and didn’t want to put inside a stand in order not to damage it. She had proved before that it fitted there. Many people complain on the fact that passengers have to walk to the plane on the airport tarmac.


I wonder what kind of experience do you have with regard to this airport? I willingly land there but I rather try not to depart from there.

Renata
Jestem tu

Renata

graduate student at the Warsaw University & the University of Southern Denmark, courageous princess with allergy, an only child struggling with loneliness and insecurities since her childhood, a dreamer, an incurable optimist, a lonely traveller and an organiser of group expeditions to 4 continents who has been in love with flying since she was 3 years old, was living in Spain & Denmark, currently lives in London
Renata
Jestem tu