From St Albans to the Via Verde…

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St Albans Cathedral

We had a day to fill in having completed our last house sit in the UK looking after Trigger the Cocker Spaniel (blog post about this sit is here) . On Monday we would be flying to Girona, Spain on the Costa Brava for our next house sit. We decided to spend the afternoon wandering around the northern London suburb of St Albans. It turned out to be a great decision. We knew nothing about this place but found that it was named after a 3rd century chap called Alban who was made a Saint for being a martyr for the Christian cause. The St Albans Cathedral is utterly fantastic and is the oldest site of continuous Christian worship in Britain. It stands over the place where the aforementioned Alban was buried after giving his life for his faith over 1700 years ago. It is definitely worth a visit. I wished I had taken my ‘proper’ DSLR camera out for the day as the interior was fabulous but had to settle for some photos from my phone camera.

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Interior of the Cathedral
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Interior of the Cathedral
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St Albans Cathedral

St Albans is also the site of the ancient Roman city of Verulamium (the third largest city of Roman Britain). Ancient Roman walls can be found in the local park as well as a museum showcasing this period of history. All in all we had an enjoyable couple of hours in St Albans (which also included my last Sunday Roast (pork) in the UK!!!)

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Part of the Roman wall in the park

That night we stayed near the Luton airport which was our departure point for our flight to Spain. We were kindly picked up from St Albans by our Airbnb host Ian, a BA flight steward. We’ve used Airbnb a number of times on our travels and always had good experiences and met some very interesting people. Ian was no exception and we chatted with him and his partner, Rosie, for hours exchanging travel and airline stories over a couple of beers that he provided. The next day he also took us to the airport! If you need somewhere great to stay near Luton Airport then we would suggest his place. Drop us a message if you want more details.

Arriving in Spain

We were excited to be back in Spain having spent 6 weeks in April/May on the Southern Coast near Malaga (Frank the cat) and Gibraltar (Scoline the Labrador) doing a couple of house sits followed by a week in Valencia and a week on the island of Mallorca. We’ve travelled in Europe a lot over the years but never got to Spain and really loved it.

We are staying on the Costa Brava near a small town called Santa Christina d’Aro. It is about 5 kilometres from the coast and the main town of Sant Feliu de Guixols. This part of Spain is Catalan country so the language is totally different to ‘normal’ Spanish. Jacqueline has been trying to learn some Spanish however Catalan is so different that she has no idea what people are saying. Our house sit here is more straight forward than others as there is just one cat called ‘Alfie’ that we have to care for. We arrived a couple of days before his ‘mum and dad’ left on holidays so we had a nice couple of days with them showing us around the local area. They advised that Alfie does his own thing and we may or may not see him. Time will tell….

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The ever elusive ‘Alfie’

We love cycling and this area is well set up for it. There are many bicycle paths that enable you to explore the region. One particular group of paths is known as the Via Verde or ‘Greenways’. They are old disused narrow gauge railway lines that have been recovered and reconditioned for use by walkers and cyclists. The old railway station buildings along the tracks have also been restored and are used as tourist info offices or cafes. It is lovely riding along and coming across these restored relics of the past.

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One of the restored railway station buildings

We are staying not far from the Via Verde so we have taken advantage of this to get out and about the last few days. We cycled down to Sant Feliu de Guixols and explored the port and local town and then rewarded ourselves with some delicious local ice-cream! There is a local market there on a Sunday so we visited again and then continued further afield to Sant Pol – a lovely curved bay with golden sand and then to the next bay and beach – Sa Conca where we enjoyed a drink and bocadillo (a crunchy bread roll with filling) at a beachside cafe.

There are also many walks in the hills and around the coast here. The walk that winds its way along the coast is called the Cami de Ronda (which goes as far as the French border) and we did a short section of it earlier in the week between Sant Pol and Sa Conca. Again, I wasn’t prepared and only had my phone camera with me so no great shots. However, we hope to visit that walk again over the coming weeks as well as the many little bays and coves along the coast here. But more on that next time.

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