Oranges and Lemons

…says the bells of Serinya


Every day in Serinya, our new European hometown, the ringing of the local church bells awakes us.  The bells have grown to form an integral part of our day, ringing every hour, on the hour, and every quarter hour in between.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven……I hear myself counting each morning as the ding-dong of the bells beckon me out of bed.

First things first, Carl gets out of bed and gets the coffee going.  While it brews on the stove, the smell instantly fills the entire flat and the pungent aroma coaxes me to finally begin my day. After coffee and a hearty breakfast, we are ready to set off on our bikes to explore the beautiful Catalonian countryside.

Serinya is a small Spanish country town in the province of Girona, Catalunya, Northern Spain, which is also very close to the Pyreness mountains that form the border with France.  Serinya is about 20km from the town Girona, a popular base for foreign cyclists especially from the USA, Australia and the UK.  Girona was Lance Armstrong’s European hometown during the period 2001 to 2006, the years he won the Tour de France, so it’s no surprise that the area is one of the best and most popular places in the world to live as a professional cyclist.


Serinya is even more ideal since it is situated in the quiet countryside, outside of the hubbub of busy Girona, but close enough to enjoy the vibe of the town and even Barcelona, which is a mere hour’s drive away, on day’s off.

Our friends Gareth and Fiona of Girona Cycling, a training centre 1km from our flat, have informed us that they have 120 different cycling routes recorded on their Garmin cycling computer, further explaining the draw for cyclists.  In our experience so far, exploring new routes in the area is definitely not a hard task to achieve.

Spring in Girona province is beautiful, especially from a bike.  The mornings are fresh and the sun shines brightly, enticing us further and further along narrow, quite country roads that wind through beautiful fruit orchards, wheat and canola fields sprinkled with red poppies; the glow of the crisp white snow on the Pyrenees completes the picture-perfect scene.


After a good training ride, we arrive home to our little flat hungry and eager to enjoy a relaxing afternoon of recovery after our morning adventure. Carl quickly dashes down to the bakery to buy some freshly baked bread.  On route he makes a quick stop to pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables from the local green grocer and then, to top it off, stops at the local butcher for some freshly sliced prosciutto.

“Ding-dong.” The church bells remind us it’s 2pm and time to siesta! Siesta in Spain is a very important part of the day. Everything closes between 2pm and 5pm to encourage everyone to rest and revive energy levels. Days are long in Spain, the sun rises early and sets late, so we have learned that it is important to use this time to relax in order to take advantage of the amazing Spanish evenings.

One, two, three, four, five…..the ding-dong of the church bells signals the end of siesta and the start of the evening. The evenings are warm and balmy, the perfect time to enjoy the serenity of the Banyoles lake.



Banyoles is a town situated 3km from Serinya and the lake was used for many of the water sports during the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.  The legacy of the Olympics means Banyoles is particularly well set up for athletes with fantastic gym and open water sports facilities.

After an evening session of activity in Banyoles, either a peaceful walk along the lake, a stretch or strength session at the gym, or an ice bath right in the cold lake, it is time to head home, fill our empty tummies and prepare for the ding-dong-ding of the bells calling us to bed.

We switch off the lights, reminiscing the beautiful day but eager for the new day that awaits.

Life in Serinya town is a dream.



2 thoughts on “Oranges and Lemons

  1. Anita

    Hi Ashleigh

    Glad to hear that you are settling into your new home. Nice piece, a great reflection of the region. Dont forget a trip to the “fill your boots” Sushi bar.
    Heard you had a great ride with Jo on Saturday. We also loved that ride,
    I think we got better value for money as it took us twice as long as it took you, Jo and Carl!
    Enjoy the Mollo ride, it’s windy at the top so don’t shell Carl out too early as you may want a windbreak later.
    Great to meet you. Sorry we missed you on the last day. Hoping for sun this weekend so I can wear my new kit.
    Train smart and enjoy. Will be supporting you all the way.
    Anita x


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