I wrote this post on 10th August, but haven’t had the opportunity to put it out there. Given how busy we’ve been and also that for several days we had very poor internet connection which made uploading photos a bit troublesome. But here it is at last. More of Spain to follow.
This is a huge city set on the river Ebro. A number of large bridges span the river allowing entrance to the city. Traffic was light when we arrived at around 2pm last Wednesday 4th August. It’s a good time to arrive as that’s when the Spanish tend to take lunch. Our apartment for the next two days was situated right in the centre of the city, so we parked in one of the large underground car parks close by. We’d made sure not to need our big suitcases for this trip because of it’s city location so used our overnight bags as well as carrying our dirty laundry – we had a washing machine here!
We were deliberately about an hour early for our host so that we could have lunch. We sat in the main square in front of the Basilica and ate toasted sandwiches and beer at city prices!
Our apartment was just a couple of streets back and to the right of the Basilica, on the second floor, thankfully with a lift. It was about the same size as my place in Gruissan, but arranged slightly differently. So cosy. The big bonus was air-conditioning – it was over 30c for most of our stay, though a little cooler at night. After putting a wash into the machine we went out into the city.
The Nuestra Sefiora del Pilar is a huge Basilica and is celebrated and revered, perhaps more than the actual cathedral. It contains the sculpture of the virgin of the pilar who descended from heaven as an aparition to St James the Apostle. The shrine is tiny and sadly pilgrims can’t go behind the statue at the moment to kiss the small exposed area of the pilar. It’s a huge spacious place, but felt to me to be without soul. The virgin seems pretty much the only thing visitors go there too see.
The Cathedral of the Savior of Zaragoza- La Seo is an altogether more pleasing and interesting building in which I took the photos below.
The rest of the city comprises more churches, some fine squares and good shopping. Some of the backstreets are not quite so thriving, with many businesses still closed post pandemic. We spent much of our time here sitting outside bars drinking wine or gin and tonic or strolling the streets. We ate that night at Los Xarmientos Parrilla Aragonesa which has good reviews on Trip Advisor. We both chose the set menu, but I didn’t realise this meant sharing 3 large starters. I would have been more than happy with the first one of Tomato and cheese, without the other 2 of fried breadcrumbs with egg and sausages. It was like having breakfast in the evening. The main course (steak) was huge too. The wine was included as was a dessert so it was good value, but I came out feeling decidedly uncomfortable.
We found a small cocktail bar in one of the back streets and made our first of 3 visits for G&Ts, a lovely end to the day.
On Thursday we did our second clothes wash and then went out to the supermarket for provisions, for a picnic and to eat in. After so much restaurant and hotel food we were craving something simple.