After a good breakfast at the hotel, we walk towards the old town of Zaragoza.
We hit the main square Plaza Espana with trams running through it and a fountain in the middle and realise that a race is in progress across one corner. It’s the Zaragoza marathon. We discover it started at 8:30am so it’s just under the three hour mark. There lots of people watching and enthusiastically cheering the runners on.
There’s also plenty of people enjoying coffee and chat in the bars and cafes and a definite feeling of vibrancy about the place.
We walk the last bit of the marathon route to the finish line as it’s in La Plaza de Nuestra Señora del Pilar, the square to visit in Zaragoza. Up to this point we hadn’t been blown away by the place but the buildings in the plaza are amazing.
The Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar is an enormous Baroque cathedral topped with colourful tiled small domes aka cupola. The architecture is amazing. Inside the basilica is ornate and opulent and very busy with two different services on the go.
There’s also museums and galleries and a second cathedral, Catedral del Salvador de Zaragoza which is closed for siesta time.
We walk to the river Ebra and halfway across the Puente de Piedra bridge for great views and photos of the basilica.
The sun is shining and today is the first day of the trip it’s warm enough to wear just a short sleeved t-shirt. We find seats at a bar in the sunshine and have a cuppa except for T who enjoys a small beer.
Hunting down somewhere to eat we walk down a sidestreet and notice a huge canopy which we find is protecting the remains of the Teatro de Caesaraugusta. It’s a Roman 6000 seat theatre from the 1st century AD, built in the Age of Tiberius and Claudius. It’s closed but we can peer through the bars and be wowed by the fact that it was only rediscovered in the 70’s.
It’s time for food and we have a lucky find, a sunny and warm oasis in the city, a garden cafe attached to a performing arts theatre El Plata, Cabaret Ibérico where we share tapas and drink cold beer. We were a bit like Goldilocks though, trying multiple tables before we chose the perfect one!
Wandering back to the hotel late afternoon some of us nap whilst the crib tournament continues.
It’s a local restaurant for our evening meal where we eat cheaply – lamb chops, salad and chips for €12 and chat about our despair of the current state of our nation back home. A final beer in our local, the bar with 20+ dartboards and our trip to Zaragoza is complete.