Saturday, April 21, 2012

Banyoles


Today we visited Banyoles, site of the 1992 Olympic rowing events and the 2004 world rowing championships. We approached the town driving around Lake Banyoles, where, as luck would have it, there was a rowing competition taking place. Beautiful tall plane trees made a canopy over the roadway and the six-kilometer walking path that goes around the lake.

The monastery dates back to the twelfth century. We were particularly interested in this as over sixty new tombs were recently discovered as the result of roadworks. However, it was closed over the long lunch hour as was the archeological museum. Both buildings looked really interesting from the outside. We will save these for another day.

Lunch was a salad and a goat cheese and apple sandwich for me and a Greek sandwich with tuna, goat cheese and black olives for Seamus with a glass of local red wine. All this was eaten outside at a restaurant on the main square. It was interesting looking at the architecture of the buildings from various times going back to old stone buildings to quite modern buildings that were lovely shades of ochre. In fact a lot of the town was made up of quite modern attractive houses and apartments.

We had an after lunch stroll at the lake. Since it was still lunch time there was a break in the rowing competition but we walked through an area with over a hundred skulls of various sizes. Our walk took us past the neanderthal village with grass roofed buildings, which certainly warrants further exploration. The lake water was crystal clear and had a lovely sandy bottom. Dotted around the lake were private boathouses, some quite grand.

Returning to the main competition area, we sat outside and watched the women's doubles races at the other side of the lake and the men's eights preparing for their race. Teams from all over Spain and France were taking part in the event. A really strong wind sprang up and you could see that it was really hard work just rowing to the starting line. In fact the wind was so strong it knocked down a branch from one of the plane trees, blowing it right onto me! The next time we visit will be in the morning, when we can visit the monastery and the archeological museum.

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