Zaragoza, Spain ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ 2019

Date: 2-3rd October 2019

Travelled: 167 kms from Medinaceli to Zaragoza in the Aragon Region

Visited: Zaragoza

Stayed: Zaragoza municipal aire, free with services. N41.68310, W00.89035

Budget: 116 days @ โ‚ฌ74 per day

We have reached that uncomfortable time when we need to think about ferry bookings and timing our last few days. We have an overnight ferry booked from Bilbao (Spain) to Portsmouth (GB) departing at 10 am Tuesday the 8th.

No point rushing to Bilbao to park up for days with nothing to do. So we scan our guide looking for a couple of interesting places to fill in some time as we make our way north.

We found the drive to Zaragoza, scenic and diverse.

Lots of bull and wind turbines and the occasional unique bridge.

Having departed Medinaceli at a reasonable time we arrive at Zaragoza some two hours later. Zaragoza is the provincial capital of Aragon.

Center map

Map of Zaragoza, the icon on our parking spot

The aire in Zaragoza is just across the street from the light-rail station.

Once we are parked up, we have a late lunch and relax for an hour. We are planning on two nights in Zaragoza, so this afternoons mission is fact finding. A trip on the tram (โ‚ฌ1.35pp) into the centro and find the tourist office and some good oil.

The first tram stop after we cross the Rio Ebro has the tourist office across the road. The helpful young lady provides a map and recommends the usual touristy places. She advises the Aljaferรญa Palace will be closed tomorrow for a function. So this afternoon it is.

Turn left at the Plaza Europa, the Aljaferรญa is the first Palace on the right.

Itโ€™s a 15 minute walk along the river front to the Palace. The wind has picked up now and the walk seems longer in the wind. The Aljaferรญa Palace originates with the Moorish Beni Kasim dynasty in the 10-11th century. Although much of what we see today reflects the Kings of Aragon in the 14-15th centuries.

Sorry about the photo taken into the sun, there is a deep dry moat surrounding the Aljaferรญa, Itโ€™s easy to distinguish the original square lines of the moorish castle from circular defensive towers that were added by the Kings of Aragon.

The Aljaferรญa is used for government functions these days. The Patio de Santa Isabella a highlight.

Lots of interesting doorways in the Mudรฉjar style.

We left a little disappointed, there is no audio tour only the odd information sheet in a few of the rooms, but is was only a โ‚ฌ1 pp.

We make our way back to the tram line finding a tapas bar for a refreshing beverage on the way.

More Roman stuff…

One round led to another and a few plates of tapas. We make it back to the Hymer to find the aire rapidly filling with motorhomes.

We spend the night parked with 40 other motorhomes enjoying another free stop with all the services.

After breakfast we make our way back into Zaragoza. There is a tram every 6 minutes, so thereโ€™s no need to rush. Our focus today will be the Casco, the old centre of the city.

The Basilica de Nuestra Seล„ora del Pilar.
Fronting the Rio Ebro on one side and the Plaza del Pilar on the opposite side. It was designed and built between 1750-70.
According to our guide book, the Pilar is one of Spainโ€™s most revered religious buildings. It is said the Virgin Mary descended from heaven as an apparition before St Andrew the Apostle on this spot.

Takes me back to my โ€˜Saturday Afternoon Boulevard Grand Prixโ€™ days…and never having any points on my license.

Our next stop is the Goya Museum and Gallery (โ‚ฌ3 pp). Goya was a native of Aragon, although his more famous works were painted in Madrid.

Just reflecting on our visit.
Rather than this baroque stylisation of heaven we found the series of his etchings (100) most evocative. They appear to indicate an obsession with prostitutes, French soldiers raping Spanish women and bull fighting just to round off his thinking. As they were back-lite glass plates they did not photograph well.

Our next stop is the old cathedral, Catedral de San Salvador known locally La Seo.

La Seo, โ‚ฌ3 pp thanks.

La Seo is gold this and that, lots of baroque plaster and a little dusty. Two churches in one day was a mistake, we find ourselves churched out.

The last thing on our list (the list the girl in the tourist office gave us) is the Museo of Foro de Caesaraugusta (seniors free).

The museum centres on a Roman theatre accidentally un-earthed some 50 years ago. It has since been extensively excavated and many of the finds are in the museum. Itโ€™s far from the biggest or best Roman theatre we have visited but itโ€™s an interesting half hour.

Itโ€™s a slow walk back as Pamโ€™s in the mood for some retail therapy.

Eventually common sense prevails and we start looking for a tapas bar. As there are several to choose from in any street, so it doesnโ€™t take long. Two rounds of drinks and four tapas plates โ‚ฌ14. We continue on to the tram with a glow.

So that was Zaragoza and what an interesting place it is…

Michael and Pam

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