I trick my parents into a road trip in Catalonia

In case you missed it, my parents flew to Barcelona to travel with Martin and me! After spending the first half of their trip in a bustling city, we rented a car to explore Catalonia. 

Since my driver’s license was still expired (as I suddenly discovered in Scotland), Martin drove and I navigated. I’m a much better driver than navigator. I kept telling Martin to turn immediately after passing our turn. So we took the scenic route out of Barcelona.

We were driving through a famous Spanish wine region, so I thought we could stop at a winery for a quick tasting. I found one on my map and off we went. Of course I gave a few bad directions, but eventually we found the winery, but we were starving.

We must eat before drinking wine.

I found a restaurant just down the street from the winery. The street quickly deteriorated into a single track dirt path that was steep down and curvy and then steep up to a closed gate. Hmm.

Somehow Martin turned the car around and we returned to the winery.

It was the kind of winery where you need an appointment for tasting…but the woman was super friendly and recommended a restaurant for lunch! It was just down the street, she said. Um… Been there; done that. I asked her where she liked to get lunch. Off we went and discovered a great little cafe in Tiana. It was perfect. 

By mid-afternoon we arrived in Calella, our home for a couple of nights.

Our Airbnb was one block from the most beautiful beach. The beach was gloriously empty, the water was crystal clear and the perfect temperature. We spent a lot of time on the beach. But, alas, I have no pictures since we didn’t want to keep a camera / phone on the beach while swimming. I could have spent all week on that beach. It was so relaxing. 

Calella is a cute little town with boutique shops in a (mostly) pedestrian downtown area. We had a lot of fun wandering around, shopping, and eating. 

My mom and I hanging out on the balcony at our Airbnb in Calella, Spain.

Getting our caricatures done in Calella.

Next, we drove to Girona.

Girona is an ancient walled city of about 100,000 people in the middle of Catalonia. It’s nestled in the mountains, making the terrain much different from our beach experience in Calella. 

Naturally, my navigational skills got us into a bit of a predicament. Google said we could drive to our Airbnb. Technically, we could. But should we? Definitely not.

Thankfully very few people are as stupid as we were to drive in downtown Girona. We realized our folly very quickly, yet we couldn’t get out! At every intersection there was a “do not enter” sign and a “go this way” sign. Yet the “go this way” sign brought us deeper and deeper into this labyrinth of narrow hilly paths.

Eventually, we found an illegal parking spot at the university. I got out and ran back to a hotel to ask for directions. One of the guests thought it prudent to tell me that I can’t drive in this area. Yes, I realize that sir. Thanks. The hotel was super helpful and we exited and found free parking without too much more trouble. Whew!

We drove down these streets!

Deep fried artichoke. The MN State Fair needs this so bad!

Girona is beautiful!

The wall around the city is super old; some parts date back to Roman times! I loved walking around and exploring – and it was fun to think that we had driven on those same streets! LOL. 

My parents in Girona.

A view of the outskirts of Girona from a tower on the wall.

Walking along the ancient wall.

One afternoon, we drove to the neighboring town of Figueres to visit the Salvador Dali Museum. My parents haven’t visited many art museums before, so why not take them to the weirdest art museum ever. By the end, I was overwhelmed with everything. I could go back a dozen times and still not be able to take everything in. 

Dad liked the car at the Salvador Dali museum. #nosurprisethere

This is a doorway!

Crazy cool mural on the ceiling.

This was in his bedroom.

And just like that, in eight short days I found myself dropping my parents off at the airport in Barcelona with the hope to see them again during the Lunar New Year school break. I am so thankful that they made the effort to visit us during our summer in Europe! 

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3 Responses

  1. Mom-in-law says:

    That was quite a story, Jill! Sounds like a Wigert one….

  2. Molly B says:

    Fantastic post. Your driving experience in Girona… my niece and I had a similar one in Lucca, Italy and we still talk about it 10 years later.