Spain
Saragossa

Here you’ll find travel reports about Saragossa. Discover travel destinations in Spain of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

21 travelers at this place:

  • Day587

    Calatayud

    February 3 in Spain

    Driving out of Zaragoza the road systems were pretty complicated. We needed LPG but the station was off a tricky roundabout. Vicky exited in the right hand lane before finding she needed to cross 2 lanes and enter the forecourt a mere 20m later. Missing the turning we looped round some one way streets that confused us so much that she entered the roundabout intending to turn directly left. This may be ok in the UK, but it sure as anything isn't ok in Spain! No damage was done and we managed to get LPG, but the nearby stopover we'd hoped to stay at turned out to be in the car park of a large shopping centre with no special provision for vans. Feeling low, Will found an aire 70km away and drove us through the desert-like hills to get there. We rose up to 750m above sea level and it was a surreal sight to see the peaks that stood above us powdered with snow and pines!

    Calatayud provided a free space for vans in a large car park, by a small children's play area and a wall of high rise flats. It was quiet enough once the local marching band had stopped practicing their drum routine. Will joined the general populous for an evening supermarket shop and we settled down with a late snack for tea and bed.
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  • Day583

    We woke to thick fog, despite a forecast of full sun. Once driving, we rose out of the river valley and as we crested the hill, the fog quickly dissipated. Continuing on, we dipped in and out of flat bottomed valleys and their bowls of fog. Despite having seen several wide stretches of river, the land around us was still parched. Crops susceptible to drought obviously weren't suited to this area, but instead we passed miles upon miles of intensively planted orchards. The trees were lined up in rows and pruned so they grew in almost identical forms, the land beneath them bare and dusty.

    Nearing our planned stopover, we left behind the yellow ribbons and independence banners of Catalonia and entered the region of Aragòn, the first place in Spain where locals would speak the Spanish language Will had been learning!

    The photos on the Park4Night app and in our Aire books are useful but we never quite know what to expect of a stopover. Will often enters two or more into the sat nav in case the first one doesn't work out. Well, there was certainly no need to go to Plan B today! The area of hard ground on the flood plain was planted with trees and overlooked the El Segre river (not that we could see much of it due to thick fog). What we did see were dozens of Cormorants and Little Egrets close to our shore. Looking closer we saw Pied Wagtails and Warblers in the reeds, as well as a few Great White Egrets. Hardly anyone came by and we spent the afternoon birdwatching from the van. The highlight was when a Kingfisher perched on a reed stem less than 15m from our window! It didn't stay for long but it was amazing to be able to see it close up and still!

    As the afternoon progressed, the fog slowly lifted, revealing the hills rising from the opposite bank. The sun broke through around 4pm, so we took the canoe for its first outing in 2018. Funnily enough, its first outing of 2017 had also been on 30th January, only we were in Italy at the time.

    We paddled to the bridge in Mequinenza, about a mile and a half upriver. The sun was low and silvery as it sillouetted a hilltop castle ahead of us. Setting over the crest, its rays cast shadows in the thin fog that still hung in the air.

    The downstream leg of the journey was chilly. The sun had set and we were paddling into wind and waves, but were rewarded on the approach to the van, by the sight of a huge, almost full supermoon rising over the hills.

    By this time we had decided to stay two nights. The second day was even foggier than the first. The sun didn't manage to break through, meaning the temperature only ranged from a cold 1°C to 6°C. Wrapping up, we cycled the short distance to Mequinenza intending to pick up lunch at a café, or bread if we couldn't find anywhere. Even with a small clothes market off the mainstreet, the town was quiet. There were several bars open, but we didn't feel drawn to any of them, so picked up some things from the small supermarket and cycled back for our meal. On the way we spotted a large bird of prey that dwarfed a Kestral flying nearby. We weren't sure what it was at the time, but saw it and another again while sitting in the van so were able to identify it as a Marsh Harrier. Will was even lucky enough to see it dive into the water and catch a fish! This place really was great for birdwatching!
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  • Day588

    After filling and emtying at the aire services we set off realtively early. There was a spot in what we inaccurately called 'The Desert' that someone on Park4Night had recommended in the middle of nowhere and sounded like good place to camp. It wasn't too far to get to the turnoff but unfortunately, being in 'the middle of nowhere' meant it had no proper road and we didn't fancy pitting our 3.5 tonne van against the kilometre or so of gravel track after the rain we'd had, so we went to Plan B and set our course towards the Tranquera reservoir.

    It had been close to freezing for a while and on the way there it began to snow! We'd kept our eyes on the weather forecast but the white stuff wasn't due for a couple of days yet. We were grateful that it melted off the roads and we had no problems. The route leading to the isolated patch of hard ground on the east shore of the reservoir was rickety and cracked, but at least it was tarmac. On the app there had been photos of sunsets over a calm expanse of water, but these had been taken 3 years ago and all that remained was a marshy, flat bed which supported a healthy growth of reeds and small trees. It is worrying how sustained Spain's drought has become.

    Pulling into the car park we passed two small vans and were eyed suspiciously by their occupants. They stayed for a little while before one drove off and the other began driving in circles beeping their horn and waving at us. We waved back, reckoning they'd been smoking something more than tobacco in their cigarettes! Once they went, we were alone and that's the way it stayed for 2 days, save for a police car who came and turned round on the second day, giving us a nod as they did so. The police seem to like to drive around and keep an eye on things in this region. They don't mind us parking but like to keep aware of what's going on.

    That evening we feasted on Calçots; large Spring Onions and a seasonal favourite in Spain. They are usually done on the BBQ but we didn't fancy the freezing temperatures, so Will griddled them. He'd spent all day making a Spanish Romesco sauce with almonds, hazelnuts, peppers and tomatoes, olive oil, chillis and roasted garlic - yum!

    It snowed on and off during our stay and on the first morning we woke to a white winter scene. It was beautiful; the snow highlighting the strata on the series of hills on the opposite shore. At the head of the reservoir was the village of Nuévalos. We wrapped up and walked about a mile until we reached the outskirts. On the way Will noticed a large bird gliding overhead. It was difficult to identify but zooming in with the camera lens we eventually realised it was a vulture! More followed it on its path towards a rugged cliff, where we counted a dozen circling on the thermals, occasionally perching on a vantage point to survey the land below.

    Coming down from the excitement of watching what we later found to be Griffin Vultures, we explored the lower town, buying a few apples at the little grocery store. Making our way up the steep hill, we peered over railings at the side of a church built on the edge of a sheer drop into a valley. As we were staying 2 nights we decided to have lunch in Nuévalos. The first bar advertised Spanish tortillas but when we went in it smelled of damp cigarettes. We were quite relieved when they told us the kitchen was closed!

    Thankfully El Cazador was clean and smell free. It did an options menu for €12 including bread and a drink, so we settled ourselves in to the empty bar. Vicky ordered mixed vegetables for starters and was a little surprised when they came with chopped bacon! Will had a traditional white bean stew and was a little surprised it came with chopped pig's ear! The food wasn't top quality but it was warm and tasty. We really enjoyed being in the little bar, petting the 9 year old white and tan mongrel and greeting the occasional local who wandered in for a warm drink or takeaway sarnie. The licensee was friendly and patient with our limited language skills. Will really enjoyed having a conversation with her and answering her simple questions about our Poppy.

    Back at the van we got the kettle on for a nice warm cuppa after our cold walk. The usually blue flame burned orange, possibly due to the cold temperatures and the mix of propane / butane we'd last topped up with. Different places provide different mixtures, with countries such as Austria, who are used to low temperatures, providing a greater percentage of propane, which doesn't freeze. Perhaps we bad a higher percentage of butane?

    The snow that was forecast didn't materialise but in the morning Vicky took a short hike up the hill behind the van. Looking down she saw that the next valley was thickly coated in snow, so perhaps our little spot had been protected.
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  • Day586

    Zaragoza

    February 2 in Spain

    Zaragosza, the regional capital of Aragón, is Spain's fifth largest city and one the Lonley Planet recommended visiting. We drove the short distance and parked up on a rough ground car park under one of the many bridges crossing the Río Ebro. There was an amazing two-way cycle track with low friction surface leading along the river to the very heart of the city 2km away.

    The first sight that really made an impact was the waterside Basìlica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar, a huge church with domes, spires and 4 towers, one at each corner. At 130m x 67m it was a large building and its white, yellow and blue patterned domes made a striking impression. Securing the tandem in a bike rack off the large main square, we entered the Catholic basilica. In contrast to Barcelona's light, airy and colourful church, this had rather an oppressive feel, despite the light stone pillars lining the aisles. Photography wasn't permitted but we'll describe it the best we can. Chapels branched off the aisles and mass was taking place in a central chapel at the south end of the nave. People gathered to echo prayers projected via speakers and we passed someone kneeling at a confessional, pouring her heart out to a richly robed man seated in the small, ornately carved wooden box. Domed ceilings contained frescos by Francisco Goya and there were a lot of carved stone statues on the walls. Much of it was darkened with age and the smoke of incense from silver censers suspended high up.

    We made our way to the north tower where we secured a ride in the glass elevator with a surly assistant. It shot up and we stepped out to an open air and windy section of the tower, with views over the basilica roof, river and city to the hills beyond. From here we climbed ever narrowing stairways and eventually emerged from a tight spiral of metal, wood and glass, to a panoramic view through windows. The space was cramped but there were only a couple of others with us at any one point and we were able to spend time taking in Zaragoza's sand coloured buildings stretched out below.

    From the vantage point we spotted a small market in the square below and made a beeline for it after the basilica. This stalls specialised in organic produce, so we got some local eggs, a small box of saffron and some goats cheese flavoured with this spice, which we thought might be interesting to try.

    Time was getting on and we had looked up a vegan restaurant for lunch. The city had quite a few vegan or vegetarian eateries, as well as organic and healthfood stores. We are still trying to adjust to Spain's opening hours and as El Plato Reberde didn't open until 1pm we whiled a little time by walking the surrounding neighbourhood and being buzzed into a hippy shop by yet another surly looking assistant. It was difficult to put a finger on it, but we weren't getting a good vibe from the city. People seemed self absorbed and Vicky had been bumped into more than once. Despite having checked the restaurant's opening hours and Facebook page, 1pm came and went, but its doors remained closed. We were less than impressed but headed towards another nearby that had been recommended by users on the Happy Cow app. La Retama was a veggie restaurant the 1st floor that seated around 20. We were the first to arrive and the dining room was cold but the staff friendly. We ordered the 3 course options menu but didn't receive any bread as promised. Will is still building confidence in his Spanish so we didn't point it out. The food was well presented but bland and we left disappointed.

    The final attraction we wanted to visit were four underground museums showcasing parts of a Roman city. Arriving at the first, the remains of public baths, we found it to be closed. The opening hours were 10am - 2pm and 5pm - 9pm. We decided we didn't have the energy to return in several hours time and made our way back to the van. We could have stayed where we were but despite the highlight of the trip up the tower, we hadn't had a particularly positive experience in Zaragoza and wanted to move on.
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  • Day586

    River Ebro near Cartuja Baja

    February 2 in Spain

    It was a cold day again and the wind was really picking up, but at least the sky was clearing and the sun beginning to show itself. We know we've been going on about how dry the land is here, but we kept having to pinch ourselves on today's journey, as we drove through an almost desert like landscape. There was even tumblweed blowing accross the road and accumulating in ditches! With so little vegetation there was nothing to really slow the wind and it was difficult to keep the van steady against the gusts at times.

    Returning once again to an urban landscape we saw lots of Storks, some in pairs in fields and others roosting on their large nests on top of pylons. We drove several hundred metres down a gravel track and ended up between a field and the fast flowing River Ebro. In the field were over 100 Storks and when we walked accross the bridge we saw even more huddled on the riverside! The wind was still blasting at 22mph making it feel bitter, despite the sun. We met a friendly local who chatted for a while, happy for the chance to practice his English. Later on we took a riverside walk and watched as a Red Kite scared a group of Storks, prompting them to take off and scatter into smaller groups. They did well to control their flight considering the wind and their size.

    We spent the rest of the day catching up with family and friends. It was a lovely quiet spot with nature all around. Just the sort of place we enjoy!
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  • Day64

    Day 64: Northwards to Zaragoza

    April 20, 2017 in Spain

    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!
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  • Day18

    Zaragoza

    August 6, 2016 in Spain

    Zaragoza je opravdu zajímavé město. Pro nás spíše svým životem než památkami. Mísí se zde římská, islámská a křesťanská architektura, ale my jsme z toho byli lehce zklamaní. Čekali jsme víc. Naopak nás příjemně překvapil život v ulicích a noční život. Večeří se zde tapas v uličkách, kde je jeden tapas bar vedle druhého. Lidé se na sebe mačkají, všude jsou fronty, ale restaurace nápor svých hostů zvládají bravurně a jídlo máte za chvíli na stole. My vyzkoušeli pár tapas v baru Casa Pascualillo a pak jsme se se zvědavostí vrhli na krokety v Taberně Doña Casta, které jsou rozmanité, vyhlášené s skvělé. Ochutnali jsme tři - se šunkou (jamón), s černou rýží a sýrem a s kuřecím masem a čokoládou (hlavně ze zvědavosti). Všechny byly výborné. Pak jsme se plni očekávání přesunuli do místní ulice akční zábavní scény, ale ve 23 hodin se zde stále nic nedělo. Nenechali jsme se však zmást (i když jsme lehce zapochybovali, zda nejsou místní kluby již zavřené) a vrátili se na místo činu za dvě hodiny. Vše bylo již v pořádku - Zaragoza žila svým divokým nočním životem. 🍻🍹Read more

  • Day18

    Španělský životní styl nás nepřestává překvapovat - zejména ten noční. Je zde obvyklé, že bary jsou kolem desáté hodiny narvané k prasknutí, Španělé pokřikují jeden přes druhého, posedávají či stojí, popíjejí víno či pivo a klábosí s přáteli. Mezi tím si venku před barem na náměstí hrají houfy jejich dětí. V baru zůstávají pouze děti v kočárcích. Kdo má nohy a je dostatečně stabilní, tak maže mezi ostatní. Nikdo je neokřikuje, ani nehlídá. Občas je to pěkný cirkus, protože dětí se schází tak 20 – 40 všech různých věkových kategorií. A teď k té hře na schovávanou… Hra má dvě základní pravidla: 1. Odehrává se pouze na jednom náměstí (nejčastěji Plaza Mayor či Plaza de España - místní hlavní náměstí), kde je soustředěno více barů (zhruba 5 až 15 dle velikosti města/náměstí). 2. Aby to děti neměly moc jednoduché, rodiče se v jednom baru zdrží max. na 2 skleničky a pak se přesouvají do jiného (místní kolorit). Mezi dvanáctou a jednou hodinou ráno běžná zábava pro děti obvykle končí, ta zajímavější (alespoň pro nás) teprve začíná – děti se vydávají do barů vyzvednout své rodiče. Pokud si zejména ty mladší nevědí rady a nemohou si vzpomenout na smluvený bar, starší děti jim ochotně pomohou a bary s nimi obejdou, aby je předali rodičům (nebo rodiče jim). Občas tedy můžete zahlédnout toulající se páry dětí mezi jednotlivými bary, kdy se ti starší těch mladších ptají: „A jak vypadají Tvoji rodiče? Ve kterém baru by měli být?“ 😀
    Pozn.: Španělé umí pít (pití spíše usrkávají a mají malé míry, např. sklenička vína je něco mezi 1 - 1,5 dcl (jak kde a dle nálady číšníka 😉)), takže jsme je nikdy s dětmi neviděli opilé.
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  • Day15

    Undécimo Etapa (2/2): Borja

    June 3, 2017 in Spain

    Heute 470 km in 11 Stunden!!
    Wir haben uns heute das Ziel Saragossa gesetzt, unseren ersten Halt haben wir in Teruel gemacht.
    Wir sind hingefahren um uns den Mudéjarstil (Zusammenspiel islamischer & christlicher Architektur) anzusehen, der Turm der Santa María Kathedrale war leider eingerüstet. Dafür waren jedoch auch viele andere Gebäude, in der gemütlichen Innenstadt, im Mudéjarstil zu finden.
    Auf der Strecke Richtung Saragossa sind wir den dunklen Wolken dann entgegen gefahren, anfangs noch mit Schaulust auf die Blitze. Doch auf einmal standen wir auf der Autopista mitten in Starkregen und Hagel, alle Fahrzeuge haben auf dem Standstreifen gehalten. Aber nach 5 Minuten hatten wir es zum Glück überstanden und schon den 2. Regenfall im Urlaub hinter uns.
    Im Decathlon vor Saragossa wollten wir schnell nach einem Insektennetz fürs Auto suchen und sind im kompletten Chaos gelandet. Wir haben nicht erwartet dass sich komplett Saragossa Samstag halb 6 aufmacht in Richtung Einkaufszentrum. Die Zufahrten waren komplett überfüllt, ganz zu schweigen von den Parkplätzen. Nachdem wir das Chaos überstanden haben und leider kein guter Campingplatz bei Saragossa war, haben wir uns gegen die Stadtbesichtigung entschieden. Wir haben uns stattdessen für eine nördliche Strecke entschieden und einen Eco-Campingplatz in Borja gefunden.
    Auf der Strecke waren wir wie immer froh über jeden Abschleppwagen der uns nicht drauf hatte. 🚖
    Unser Campingplatz liegt in den Bergen und hat einen schönen Ausblick, leider verfolgen uns die dunklen Wolken weiterhin.
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  • Day4

    Bloody hot

    July 13, 2017 in Spain

    Vandaag hebben we Madrid een beetje verkent, we hebben een tijdje in het park gelegen, maar het was echt te heet om te bewegen, dus we hadden we maar besloten om naar de film tw gaan om in de airco te zitten, maar we hadden een narw verassing en de film qas volledig in het spaans, terwijl nino gisteren nog had gevraagt of de film in wngels was en dat was hij, maar goed. Nu zitten we halverwegen onze route naar barcalona in een weg hotel met bijzonder slecht eten. Morgen next stop: Barcelona!Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Provincia de Zaragoza, Saragossa, Zaragoza, Província de Saragossa, Saragosse, Saragozza, サラゴサ, Saragoça

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