I haven’t seen the Star Wars films. Gasp.
I haven’t seen the Lord of the Rings Films. Double GASP.
These statements normally invoke a shock and dismay reaction like you’ve never seen before. It’s sort of like saying that you hate Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny…or puppies; people think that you are a bit odd. But I’m used to it because I’m not much of a sci-fi fantasy person and in all honestly I think those people who are Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, or insert weird geek cult here, are a bit odd.
As I stood in line at the Girona Game of Thrones Season Six premier, I looked around me at all of the GoT fanatics in costumes or holding posters and wondered…how did I end up here? And when I saw the Jon Snow look-a-like taking pictures with people, what in the world possessed me to say to Dalene, “Let’s go get our picture taken with him!”
I blame my new found Game of Throne geekdom on travel. It all started when I was trapped on a plane for 18 hours with my niece heading to Vietnam. Singapore Air had the first two seasons of Game of Thrones available to watch on our personal video sets and I figured what the hell, I’ll see what all the hype is about. Ten hours later I had watched all of season 1 and was humming the theme song as the flight attendant served dinner. On my return flight back to the US, I watched 10 hours of season two.
I now read the latest Game of Thrones news, we have viewing parties, and I’ve gotten in more than one argument with people about the plot line. I’ve turned into a fanatic and am probably just a few months away from learning how to speak Valyrian. Never mind that I’ve been traveling for 10 years and still only know how to speak English.
When my friends in Girona told me that they were going to be a 2016 filming location I was thrilled that one of my favorite places in the world was now going to be a part of one of my favorite shows. The medieval streets would be perfect for the fictional world of Westeros. And when I found myself in Girona on a photography project for the season premier I was even more giddy – in fact one might say that I had now fully crossed over into fanatic.
Girona is the Land of Dragons
I thought my friends in Girona were just joking about being the land of Dragons for the Game of Thrones hype – but after spending a couple of weeks in Girona and Catalonia, I realized that this wasn’t just some flippant statement they through out there…it was real. The city has an ancient legend (and festival) that’s all about Sant Jordi (the patron saint of Girona) defeating a dragon and rescuing the princess from certain death. In addition, as you walk around the town you’ll see iron dragons everywhere on door knockers, window coverings, and outside of homes. In the Costa Brava region of Spain, the dragon figures are considered protection and people often put it on their doors and windows.
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Visiting the Throne of Swords
When the tourism department told me that we were attending the Game of Thrones Premier I was over the moon. And when they went on to say that we would get to sit in the actual throne and take a few photos, I think I actually let out a yelp of glee – something I don’t do often as an austere Midwesterner. Immediately I started thinking – how will I pose on the throne? Sexy, mean, tough, standing, sitting, slinking; so many choices for my big moment of geekdom.
Girona Game of Thrones Filming Locations
One of the best things you can do in Costa Brava is visit Girona. Girona is a mid size town, but the Old Town Medieval section is pretty small and compact. The HBO crew blew in like a tornado in Kansas and took over the Old Town of Girona for filming last summer. Of course since I had now crossed over into Game of Thrones fangeek, while I was in Girona this Spring I knew I wanted to see the filming locations. And of course I didn’t simply go to see the locations, I went to photograph them.
HBO keeps any information about the filming locations pretty close to their chest – but thanks to some local intel and seeing some of the episodes, I was able to find most of them, even though some were heavily changed in the show thanks to CGI.
Bravos – Blind Arya’s Stairs
Kings Landing Cloisters
The real cloisters:
The Baths of Bravos
Other beautiful aspects of the Arab Baths you didn’t see:
Bravos Outdoor Theater
The real theater area:
Kings Landing and the High Sparrow’s Roost
The Bravos Chase
The Bravos Jump
The real Girona – one of my favorite areas in the whole city
If you are a GoT fangeek, then make sure you make your way to Girona – a.k.a. Bravos and Kings Landing – to see the Game of Thrones filming locations.
After all Girona iksos se tegon zaldrīzoti – just testing your Valyrian…
Yes – I am a true fan geek, and I guess I’m a bit odd.
I was a guest of Costa Brava tourism board during my stay in Girona, however all opinions expressed here are my own.