Planning next year’s spring vacation is probably at the bottom of your priority list right now, as I am sure you’re currently busy vacationing with your family or friends (or solo), sipping cocktails by an overcrowded pool or hiking somewhere “off the beaten track” far away from everyone and everything. Hotel swimming pools, fruity cocktails, beach parties, or tranquility and soul searching is kinda what summer is all about. You might even be vacationing in Spain – as this country is quite popular among tourists and travelers alike (in case you’re one of those people who don’t like to label yourself as tourist).
Perhaps you’re currently vacationing in the city of Girona?
In that case, I’m sure you’re having a great time visiting this charming Catalan city and I hope you’ll be back in May – when the city is even more gorgeous, more colorful, more vibrant than ever.
Yes, dear ladies and gentlemen, every year in mid-may, Girona is transformed into a magical flower haven!
I’m talking rainbow magic. Unicorn magic. Every bridge, every monument, every building, every street – everything is decorated with beautiful flowers, arts and crafts and colorful fabrics, to celebrate the wonderful season of spring.
What is the story behind the festival?
It all started out as a small exhibition contest at the Municipal Theater Hall of Rest in 1954. The event received great feedback and plenty of interest from people who visited the exhibition that year and the success was repeated the following year. With growing involvement of citizens, the event grew bigger and better, year after year. In 1979 it was (for the first time) organised on behalf of the l’Associació dels Amics de les Flors i dels Jardins (Association of Friends of Flowers and Gardens), and in 1983, the l’Associació d’Amics de la Girona Antiga (Association of Friends of the Old Girona) was also involved. This allowed the opening of many more patios and private gardens that remained closed to the public during the rest of the year. Since 1992 the City Council has also been involved in the organisation of Temps de Flors. What once was a small exhibition has over the years evolved into a large festival, as we know it today. It’s a celebration of spring, flowers and the city of Girona!
How did I hear about it?
While planning my solo trip to Toulouse (France) and Narbonne (also France), I knew I wanted to cross the border and visit a city in Spain – but I wasn’t quite sure where to go. While doing a bit of research, Girona caught my interest. Not only did it look like a charming city, but according to the city’s official website I’d be there just in time for a flower festival? And just like that, it was settled. I was going to Girona!
How did I experience it?
I arrived at my hotel, which happened to be located right next to a bunch of colorful, decorated tents displayed side by side, all along a large shopping street. I didn’t want to spend more time than necessary in my beige and boring hotel room, as I didn’t wanna risk missing out on all the spectacular photo opportunities waiting for me outside, on every single corner. My camera battery was fully charged, my phone was dying. I went to the bathroom, peed as fast as I possibly could, and ran out the door faster than you could say “have fun”. I was impatient. Just like a little kid in Disneyland, waiting in line to meet their favorite princess, I was ready to witness magic firsthand.
I snapped a few pictures of the colorful tents, and made my way to the nearest bridge. Did I want to do a little shopping from the vendors selling handmade products? Did I want to photograph the view of the colorful buildings and their reflection in the water? Was I feeling hungry yet? I was too excited about everything to even make up my mind and focus on just one thing.
I went photo-crazy and paparazzied everything that looked even remotely colorful. A lot of those pictures didn’t even turn out that well, and many were photobombed by selfie-takers, ice cream-eaters, angry old people, careless children, tour groups and other photo-crazy tourists just like yours truly.
Whether I was strolling along the narrow streets, crossing the different bridges or exploring the Sant Pere de Galligants medieval church and monastery, I was always surrounded by colorful art in different shapes and forms. Sometimes even in the cheeky shape of a butt with a flower sticking out of it (those pervs!)
Every now and then I asked strangers to take pictures of me, but most of the time the result was worse than anything I could ever imagine. While visiting the monastery, I found a lady who had a Nikon – just like mine – and asked her to take a photo of me. Thanks to her, I have at least one nice photo of myself from the festival.
The only time I let my feet (and camera) rest, was while I was busy eating tapas and drinking wine or vermouth at local restaurants. Good thing I don’t live in Spain, because all those croquettes and Spanish ham can’t possibly be good for me. To make matters “worse”, I ordered a healthy salad….with delicious pieces of deep-fried cheese inside of it. Just like everything else I’ve ever eaten in Spain, it was amazing.
And how can anyone possibly resist eating ice cream from the famous gelateria Rocambolesc while wandering around town in twenty-five degrees Celsius? I sure couldn’t!
As much as I enjoy traveling solo, the beauty of this festival was giving me the blues and made me miss my boyfriend. I shared the entire experience with him through photos, videos and texts, but it just wasn’t the same. This festival is an experience that needs to be shared with someone. With your partner, your children, your parents, your friends. It’s not something you should keep to yourself. And frankly, no matter how good your photos are, they’ll never capture the essence of being there, experiencing it and seeing it all with your own eyes.
Are you as excited about this as I am?
Because I sure will be returning next year!
Dates for next year’s festival are not yet announced. Visit the official website of Temps de Flors to stay updated. Hope to see you there!