Long day of driving today! We were heading back north again after another spell in the centre of Spain. Today's trip was about 4 hours in total, north and vaguely east to the city of Zaragoza, for - of course - another World Heritage site!
We left after a relaxed breakfast and hit the road. First stop was approx 2 hours into the drive at the small hilltop town of Teruel which lay directly in our path. The World Heritage site we were visiting today is the "Mudjar Architecture of Aragon", and although the buildings are mostly concentrated in Zaragoza, a handful are in Teruel as well so we decided to pull over and stretch our legs.
Had a look around the town for a little while, though it was quite high in the mountains, overcast and bitterly cold thanks to a searching wind. The architecture was nice, though at times difficult to see thanks to surrounding buildings and the bright white clouds making photography difficult.
I should explain as well that Mudejar architecture is an Islamic style practised by the Muslims who remained in Spain after the Christian reconquests in the Middle Ages. Generally speaking, they were allowed to continue practising Islam until fairly late (15th century I think), though forced conversions and expulsions eventually happened en masse.
But the architectural legacy left behind is very beautiful, lots of tiling, intricate patterns and uniquely, large structures like churches built from bricks rather than stone blocks - I'm told it's because Muslims believe the only permanent thing is Allah, so they expect their creations to have a shelf life rather than last forever.
We moved on from Teruel and continued the last two hours of our drive north to Zaragoza, with only a brief stop on the outskirts for our typical driving day lunch (McDonalds).
Our apartment was in downtown Zaragoza, so we parked up nearby and started exploring again, not being able to check in until later. There were a couple of churches and towers to look at, so we did that and got our filming done as well. Some people recommend going inside the churches, others don't, but with fairly steep entry prices and the dog in tow we decided against it.
5pm rolled around and we met our host for the evening. We were essentially staying in the guest bedroom of the flat he shares with his girlfriend, so it was a slightly odd situation. We dropped our stuff off and went back out, visiting the last couple of sites and most importantly, the large Muslim palace that still exists in the centre of town. We'd hoped to tour this one as dogs were allowed on the grounds, but these days it's used as the parliament building for the Aragon government, and they were in session today so entry wasn't permitted! Alas. The outside was very nice though!
Decided to have dinner in tonight as we'd had a few expensive meals in a row. Grabbed a baguette, some meats and cheese and feasted on that back in the apartment while we did some work and planning. Our host Sergio and his girlfriend were both in their bedroom with the door shut so we basically had the run of the place. A little odd, but at least we're moving on tomorrow!Read more