Thursday, January 17, 2013

Excellent museum reveals history of Vic

Our first stop in Vic this morning was a huge outdoor market with stalls selling clothing and food filling the entire square. What a transformation since yesterday. We followed the narrow streets to the old Roman temple built in the second century AD. It stood undiscovered for centuries as it had been enclosed by the Castle of the Montcada family built at the end of the eleventh century. The walls of the temple formed the inner courtyard of the castle and were first discovered in 1882, when the old building that served as the residence of the veguer, who performed duties like a sheriff in England, the seat of the Royal Ecclesiastical Court, the city granary and prison was demolished. We could see some of the remains of the old castle from the Temple.

Then we quickly made our way around the corner to the Episcopal Museum. It has over twenty thousand exhibits from various parts of the diocese of Vic. The paintings and medieval sculptures are considered some of the best in Europe. The archeological exhibits in the basement were very well preserved from the Roman mosaics to the stone works from old buildings throughout the ages. Precious metalwork, glass, Hispano Arab fabrics, tapestry and wrought ironwork  were also on display. All of the exhibits were of a high quality and we left with a much better understanding of the history of the area.

It was time to leave Vic and its well preserved, beautiful old buildings. We drove through streets lined on both sides with giant plane trees. Leaving town many of the apartments were flying Catalan independence flags. This time we took a different route through the mountains towards Girona. It was much colder here and we saw a sight that we never expected to see in Spain, a truck filled with salt sanding the highway.

Our lunchtime stop was a restaurant just off the highway with lots of cars and trucks in the parking area. It was another menu of the day only in Catalan. My first course was mussels cooked in a lovely broth served with slabs of home made bread. The main course was chicken breast with a roast potato and green pepper. Seamus took a blind stab at the Catalan menu. His first course was tagliatelle in a tomato-ish sauce. But his main course turned out to be fatty pig's feet topped with pieces of sepia or squid. He ate the squid but left the rest pretty much undisturbed. We shared an almond mousse and nougat ice cream for dessert. This trip has wreaked havoc on eating smaller portions and not clearing our plates. Tomorrow we start again.

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