...And King’s Landing and Old Town. A Game of Thrones fangirl spends a day in Girona in Spain
- Published 13.04.19, 7:00 PM
- Updated 13.04.19, 7:00 PM
- 4 mins read
Sweet girl,” said the Waif in the disguise of an old lady as Arya Stark was standing on the bridge and stabbed her in the stomach. In reaction, Arya jumps off the bridge into the river below and her blood slowly turns it red! It was one of the ‘gasp’ moments from the sixth season of the HBO series Game of Thrones (GoT) that has got quite a cult following now.
As I stood on the same bridge in Girona with my hands on its stone wall, the scene came back to me in vivid colours. It was kind of surreal to me. But the irony is that this one spans a dry creek and not the river in spate that was there in GoT.
I was super excited about my Spanish vacation because I was determined to visit this colourful and vibrant city situated in the Catalonia region in the north-east corner of Spain, where many scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed.
On my arrival at Barcelona, the first thing I did was walk into a tourist office and buy myself a ticket to the GoT tour for the next day. At 8am, I boarded a motor coach that took me to the historic old quarter of the city, which floored me with its charm as soon as I stepped in!
I realised why this was chosen as King’s Landing, Braavos and Old Town. Girona has a very warm feel to it, unlike the bustling streets of Barcelona, and even if you are not a GoT fan like me you will still enjoy visiting this place because of its rich cultural and historical heritage.
I loved strolling down the streets of Girona and reliving some of the famous scenes from GoT season six. I loved it so much that even after some hesitation I ended the tour by kissing the butt of the lion statue — the locals believe that you will revisit the place if you do — hoping to come back sometime.
Scene: When Jaime Lannister arrives on a white horse and rides it up several steps of a looong set of stairs in front of a grand building to prevent Queen Margaery’s atonement along with the House Tyrell. The steps of Girona Cathedral is where it was shot. These steps have also been used as the Great Sept of Baelor in King’s Landing.
Fact: With its architectural magnificence, the cathedral is one of the most important places to see in Girona. The cathedral is situated at one of the highest points of Girona and its construction is believed to have started around 1417. Built on the scenic Placa de la Catedral, the Roman and Gothic cathedral has around 90 stairs that you need to climb. And if it looks a little different in GoT, that’s because of the CGI that’s gone into the scenes.
Scene: Arya Stark as “No One”, blind and begging on the streets in tattered clothes.
Fact: The medieval and stony streets and walls of Girona have been shown as Braavos town and, ironically, Girona forms a part of the beautiful coastal region of Costa Brava! This is one of the most popular spots in Girona and every tourist waits for their turn to sit on the stairs and click themselves begging. I, too, did the same, for the sake of Instagram! *wink*
Scene: In episode seven of season six, Arya is seen planning to leave Braavos, standing on a bridge and looking out to sea until the Waif comes disguised as an old woman and stabs her, following which she flings herself from the bridge into the waters below.
Fact: You might have loved the blue water flowing underneath, but its all CGI effects as there is no waterbody below this bridge. IRL (in real life, silly!) it is the bridge between Placa dels Jurats and the Sant Pere de Galligants Abbey. If you don’t keep your eye out for it you might end up missing the bridge altogether since there are lush green trees all around it.
Scene: Samwell, Gilly and little Sam are seen approaching the front desk of the Maesters’ citadel.
Fact: Girona has been used as Braavos and King’s Landing, but this scene was shot inside Sant Pere de Galligants, the Benedictine monastery that was shown as the Citadel in Old Town. It’s now an Archaeology Museum that’s a must-visit if you have an appetite for the ancient.
PLACA DELS JURATS
Scene: Arya goes to watch a play and spy on the lead actor following an order by Jaquen H’gar. There she comes across a scene being enacted on Joffrey’s death and shows the Lannister family.
Fact: This scene is shot in Placa dels Jurats. According to my guide, this place is used as a space for various kinds of events in real life. If you take a left from here you would reach the famous Arabic Baths where in one GoT scene Arya takes shelter while running from the Waif. In order to enter the baths, however, one needs to pay extra and it is also a time-consuming affair. Go for it, if you are spending all day in Girona, but since we were a little pressed for time, we gave the Arabic Baths a miss.
PUJADA DE SANT DOMENEC
Scene: Arya Stark, desperate to save herself from the Waif, jumps from a window, lands up in a busy market and topples on baskets of oranges.
Fact: Considered one of the most romantic steps in Europe, Pujada de Sant Domenec is a quaint and beautiful place. This scene was shot in the alleyway that you see as you walk along Carrer de la Forca from the cathedral. With creepers crawling on the walls and the very European lamps, this spot has a quaint charm. And the way this place was made to look like a busy marketplace was praiseworthy.