A group from the Vall del Pop U3A has just returned from a great trip to Zaragoza, capital of Aragon, the 4th largest city in Spain. Like many of us, we have passed it on our way to and from northern Spain but following our visit we would recommend a stay in this very vibrant and interesting city.
We visited the famous Basilica del Pilar, which stands on Roman foundations and the fortified 11th century Islamic Aljafería pleasure palace built for the kings.
Although there is a tram which runs across the city, Zaragoza is very walkable so it's easy to get from the historical centre into the more commercialised section. We visited the Expo buildings from 2008, with the two famous bridges passing over the river Ebro. There is some brilliant modern architecture in this city. We were there for almost three days, staying in the Eurostar hotel, which is attached to the main train station, built in 2003. We felt, if we returned, a hotel a little more in the centre would be beneficial.
The famous Basilica del Pilar was huge and very impressive, inside you can find beautiful works by Francisco de Goya and the revered carving of the Virgen del Pilar. Also to our surprise inside there are two unexploded bombs attached to the wall!!!
Some of our party also visited the Cathedral of El Salvador, the city's main historic temple, famous for its Flemish tapestries, some 400 years old.
As it was (for most of us) our first visit to Zaragoza we felt it will be worth returning, as gastronomically there is still a lot to discover!
On our last day, after leaving Zaragoza, we made our way to the Monasterio de Piedra with its beautiful gardens and waterfalls, driving through some of Spain’s very majestic countryside and mountains, Very impressive and here we had a lovely lunch. A member of our party (who is a classically trained opera singer) sang for us in the ruins of the monastery, quite magical! Most of our party also did the complete trail through the grounds, well done!!!!
Written by Sonia Higginson
Photos by U3A