December 24th, 2005 – by: moreno1968
Zaragoza, In the city, Spain
I used to go to Madrid very frequently before, at least once a year. I got a very good friend that live there but not anymore now. When we get together with friends, go out drinking and clubbing, I have been introduced to too many people and sometime when something click, someone become your instant friend. This is how it leads to my journey to Zaragoza. Pedro is one of them and he knew I like traveling around Spain and he insisted that I come to Zaragoza to visit his city when he is there at the same time. If you have read any of my other travel journals, you notice that I never traveled with a group. Just that I like the freedom of ‘no schedule’ and I am free to make my own plan and venture myself. So there I was in the land of Aragon.
Sound like a kingdom from J.R.R.Tolkien book ‘Lord of the rings’ huh? Zaragoza is in the region of Aragon. Two things make me jump about the idea of going there, first ‘Zahrah’ is my late mum name and second ‘Zara’ is my favorite boutique from Spain but of course, my story got nothing to do with it. LOL ;-P
Zaragoza, Basilica-Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar, Spain
I went twice to Zaragoza; the first trip is on Christmas day 2005. I planned this date because when I travel on 24 December eve, the plane is nearly empty and I can sing and dance with the crew on board, seriously, that is what I did on that flight.
Arrived in Madrid about noon and I took the metro to Avenida de America station, there is where the bus stations that going to take me to Zaragoza. You can buy your ticket in advance by internet and bring along the confirmed transaction to the booth and they will hand over you the ticket. I remembered that day that there are not many people but at one corner near the booth, there is a restaurant and they played very loud a Christmas celebration show on TV because I heard they sang the words ‘feliz navidad’ repeatedly. The journey took about 3 to 4hours and I am wide-awake. Once the bus left Madrid area, you can see many hills and mountain but what fascinated me more is to see small villages that we pass by, I saw area with houses and at least one church standing in between. I wonder in my head if I ever get to see this village very near and if there any interesting story to tell. So let that remain in my mind. My friend Pedro waiting for me when I arrived there.
Zaragoza, Inside the Aljaferia, Spain
I asked him, ‘where is your car’? He said “this is a small city let just walk to my house”. ;-)
Zaragoza, Cathedral of San Salvador, Spain
I spend a great time in Zaragoza. Pedro introduced me to the gang and we did many things in-group. These boys are very lively, active and I can say a great drinker. It is nice to go out clubbing and eat in nice restaurant. In this city, Pedro introduced me to a good Spanish designer ‘Adolfo Dominguez’; I bought about 3 shirts from this boutique. The design and the color of his design attracted me. At the same time when I was there, they are busy promoting ‘Universal Exhibition of Zaragoza 2008’. This exposition carry out a theme called ‘water and sustainable development’. I even got a free T-shirt in front of El Corte Ingles shopping center. Even though it is a small city, there are a few places of interest you might find interesting to visit.
Zaragoza is linked by legend to the beginnings of Christianity in Spain. There are a grand standing Cathedral of San Salvador or also known as La Seo. A magnificent build over a main Mosque. Near to this is a Basilica of Our Lady of Pillar. The church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, according to ancient story. The Virgin Mary appeared in flesh to the apostle St. James alongside the Ebro River, while he was preaching his Gospel in Spain.
Zaragoza, With 'the boys' at Plaza Del Pillar, Spain
Another interesting place a MUST GO is a Moorish castle or palace called the Aljaferia. The most important buildings in Northern Spain and currently sits the Aragonese parliament in this building.
Long time ago it was a residence of the Banu Hud dynasty during the era of Al Muqtadir. The architecture is very rich with Spanish Islamic design and very unique and you can see that it is a bit similar to the design of Al Hambra in Granada. Years later when the capture of Zaragoza, it became the residence of the Christian kings. Apart from all this big historical building, the city is full of ruins of the Romans and their artifacts. There are few other churches that worth a visit including church of San Pablo. Most of these churches are Mudejar monuments of that comprise the World Heritage Site. If you wonder why I knew all this, I have a guidebook to tell me, lol ;-) but it does help you when you read and you see the real thing.
Zaragoza, At Cesar Bar with 'the boys', Spain
Just like any city in Spain, they have many shopping centers and at the old town, they have many shops and restaurants that you can walk around and eat.
Zaragoza's shopping area stretches from Residencial Paraiso in Sagasta to the Plaza de España. The most exclusive shops are on Francisco de Vitoria, San Ignacio de Loyola, Cadiz, Isaac Peral and the streets crossing them. There are many sidewalk cafes too. For nightlife, you should checkout district called El Casco Viejo, La Zona and La Rollo. The boys and me started around 10pm for dinner and then end our days about 5am in the morning when we went out. I had a great time here in Zaragoza. Pedro gave me a CD by a group originated from here called Amaral, I love their song, if ever they going to have a concert and perform in Zaragoza, I will go to see it. Try Zaragoza, you will like it as I do, I hope. I have learned two valuable things when I was there. First, I found out that it is cheap to post a painting to Singapore, and second I bought the most expensive Armani vintage jeans.
Zaragoza, Cathedral of San Salvador, Spain
I am crazy! Because of that, I suffered almost 3months to recover my saving back, lol. My sister asked me before I leave for this trip,” Where are you going this time?” I said “Zaragoza”; she said “what? Where the @#&% is this place?” I just smile and said “don’t worry, I will bring home some souvenirs and photo for you to see”, she scratched her head because she never heard of this city before and then wish me a nice trip. J ;-)
Zaragoza, Photo of signboard when I arrived, Spain