The bridges of Girona may sound like a romantic notion but it’s not exactly a comparison of the same structures as somewhere like Paris or London. Of course any bridge can be romantic I suppose, depending on who you’re with.
I understand that bridges serve a practical function and can also be beautiful in their own right. Especially where river spans allow for the creation of something visually noteworthy. Yes, I hear you say, but what about those exquisitely beautiful small bridges in Venice or Cambridge? Sure, but the world’s most famous and best remembered ones tend to be the grandest.
So what does Girona have to offer? The river Onyar has several bridges moderately spread along its meagre old-town-length. It neatly separates the old Girona on one side, and its more modern ‘eixample’ and ‘mercadal’ areas which fan out west and south.
We should start with perhaps the oldest bridge, the Pont de Pedra (stone bridge) near Placa de Catalunya, which itself also straddles the river. It dates from 1856 composed of three low arches that rest on two pillars. Built from a local stone that looks and feels like granite, topped with cobbles and a stone flagged path either side. Largely pedestrian traffic it’s an excellent vantage point for photos and selfies. A good entry point for old town visitors, it has a row of craft stalls on one side every Saturday.
Going downriver using the Rambla or along C/ Sta Clara you’ll get to the long winded Pont de les Peixateries Velles (the Fishmongers’ Bridge, 1877) or commonly known as the Eiffel bridge. Yes, it’s the same Gusatve Eiffel of Eiffel Tower fame in Paris, built some 12 years later. Its wooden walkway enclosed by blood red ironwork creates diamond-framed ‘portholes’ or viewpoints. Again, use them to frame some more photos of the up or down river. This bridge is thoughtfully illuminated every Christmas and must surely be available as a Meccano kit by now,
Next is the plain-looking Pont de Sant Agusti, which connects the old quarter to Placa Independencia, a popular spot for outdoor dining. Light grey hexagonal-slab pavement with jet black vertical iron railings. Something that wouldn’t look out of place in some communist-era capital. Built to a budget more than for its style perhaps.
Next along the list of pedestrianised bridges is the Pont d’en Gomez with its low strung, long single arch. Also known as the Pont de la Princesa it was built around 1915 replacing a former wooden construction. The drab-grey concrete colour theme persists, more fitting on a cold, wet, rainy day under dark clouds. The ever so slightly different black railings design offers some uplift to this narrow crossing.
Continuing down river and keeping to the riverside path affords several more opportune photo moments. Bright, sunny, sky blue days give a reflective effect and change the hues of the pastel coloured backs of the Onyar houses. Nowhere along our route is the water too deep, and you can often catch sight of large black carp basking in the shallows.
A short hop, skip and jump away is the bridge of Saint Felix, Pont de Sant Feliu.
Offering pedestrians a wider, almost flat, wooden walkway, it too offers visitors easy access into the old town area with the welcoming view of the St Felix church. Built only in 1995, its metal constituent materials have been left to the vagaries of weather to sympathetically rust. Simple and uncomplicated they’ve succeeded in creating a bridge that works well in linking the old and new Girona.
Just next to it is a rail bridge and slightly further away adjoining a large open parking area is the road bridge Pont de Pedret. That’s pretty much it for the descriptive element as the Onyar winds its way along the thin sliver of Pedret neighbourhood.