Thursday, May 25, 2017

Checking off Zaragoza

Zaragoza is a "top five biggest cities" in Spain with over 500,00 people. It may end up to be the city with lowest visitors/residents ratio for our whole Spain tour.

1. Old Town Zaragoza is dominated by the Basilica of Our Lady of Pilar (and its plaza), whose origins trace back to the dawn of Christianity. Over the centuries, the church has grown to the current mammoth size, though I didn't think there were very many pilgrims there.

2. I should be able to remember that May 18, our wedding anniversary, is International Museum Day - many museums are free that day - but it was planned to be a travel day; poor planning on my part. However, our dumb luck would have it that Zaragoza city museums were free the whole week so we ended up going to see all four of the Roman sites which were short on substance, long on presentation; thus John can come away in peace. The highlight for me was the Pablo Gargallo Museum, yet another contemporary of Picasso, except Gargallo's medium is sculpture. His cubist sculptures are pure genius.

3. Zaragoza has a complex of contemporary architecture left over from Expo 2008. They suffer the same problem that their counterparts in other Spanish cities; that is, they are not well integrated with the rest of the city. On that, Bilbao is an exception. Zaragoza did a much better job of integrating Islamic architecture in the 13th-15th century.

4. Also in common with many other Spanish cities, all of downtown Zaragoza is pedestrian. Much of parking is underground and public transport is kept out of the core. It is absolutely wonderful! Why has this model not spread more?!

It was a long day of travel from Biarritz to Zaragoza; walk, local bus, train, train, long distance bus, local bus, walk, but I got to play the piano for 10 minutes or so in the Biarritz train station. Nice!
Biarritz, France

Another aqueduct spotted from the bus somewhere between Pamplona and Zaragoza.
Aqueduct seen on the train to Zaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza Station. As the bus station is adjacent, we had to walk through this newish train station to get to the local bus stop.
Train Station - Zaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza is all about the Basilica of Our Lady of Pilar and the surrounding plaza.
Zaragoza, Spain

Even the Roman Ruins are a distant 2nd or third.
Zaragoza, Spain

The future of travel? We see a Self Check-in Machine at the hotel across the street from ours. It spits out a keycard after you pay or verify that you have already paid.
Zaragoza, Spain

Pilar at night.The views from bridge are stunning.
Zaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, Spain

We strolled 3 or 4 kms over to the EXPO 2008 site. Good to see that it's still being used.
Zaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, Spain

The sculpture "El Alma del Ebro" by Jaume Plensa is a highlight of the EXPO and certainly catches the eye.
Expo 2008 - Zaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, Spain

The you-can't-miss-it Water Tower appears to be abandoned.
Zaragoza, Spain

There are extensive water gardens which host these ducks.
Zaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, Spain

Back in town we pass an old markethouse.
Zaragoza, Spain

And the moorish San Pablo church is closed. Bummer.
Zaragoza, Spain

Being introduced to sculptor Pablo Gargallo was definitely a highlight of Zaragoza. Here are several of his cubist works.
Zaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, Spain

To a veg resto for lunch.
Zaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, Spain

Although the Roman Theater was almost completely leveled over the years, the presentation of the ruins is first rate. These photos only give a glimpse of the museum complex.
Zaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, Spain







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