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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Zaragoza, Spain: Who knew that Zaragoza = Caesaragusta???

ZaragozaI've had quite some success with people visiting me in Spain, so far: Guillermo, my parents, and now Staša. We decide to go visit a city that I haven't been to, that is also convenient for her to fly to, so we pick Zaragoza. The Linzoain's will go with us the first day, and then Staša and I will explore the city for a few more days.

Trip Overview:
Day 1:Wake up, eat a deliciously prepared breakfast made by yours truly, and head out with the Linzoain's, 90 minutes by car, to Zaragoza. As we are driving we notice the shift in weather from rainy Navarra to sunny Aragón. Staša is already in the city center of Zaragoza, so we meet her at Plaza del Pilar. We have a coffee and chat before taking photos outside and then entering the Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar. Inside is quite large and we arrive just as mass is beginning. After leaving there we go to La Seo del Salvador but it is closed. We walk over to the Roman stone bridge, over El Ebro river, which is very windy.

We can't go to Palacio de la Aljaferia because it's closed, so the Linzoain's decide to head back to Pamplona and Staša and I go off into the city. We end up at a tapas restaurant, La Pilara, which happens to be in the renown "El Tubo" district. Head to the hotel, Hotel Avenida, to drop off our stuff and head back out to the city. We snap photos and walk along a new route. We stop at a quaint cafe, La Bendita, that is actually pretty crowded, despite it being siesta time. 

We walk around some more and find ourselves back at Plaza del Pilar with an amazingly lit up Basilica. Stop at a tapas restaurant on the plaza, Piazza, with pretty good tapas, and quite cheap.

The hotel has some awesomely thin walls, so the people in the hall and other rooms who come in late and make various disturbing noises, are very clearly heard.

Thoughts:Quite a lot of people out and about for a Sunday, especially since all the stores are closed. Barbershop and salons around the city are open and crowded. Murals and graffiti (street art) are everywhere and really good. Africans selling stuff. Ridiculously windy all day.

The whole group ready to explore the city
The whole group ready to explore the city

Thursday, February 19, 2015

14 Random Things This American Notices About Spain and Europe

I am learning something new everyday here in Navarra; usually it's a new Spanish word that I immediately forget or the name of someone I've just met. My brain is always working, whether actively to help me reach my goals, or passively causing me to zone out in Spanish class and think about unrelated things. Whenever I think of something, I write it down so I don't forget it. Well, if you do that enough, you end up with a list of random things that you decide to share with people via a blog. Here's that list:

Spain related things

1. I have no idea why (and if anyone wants to chime in and explain, please do) but Spanish gas stations have plastic gloves for use while pumping gas. I have not seen this outside of Spain and I have never used the gloves.

gloves to pump gas

2. It seems it is taught in Spain that there are only 6 continents. North and South America are not individual continents because the are connected, unlike Europe and Asia... I also learned that in the past, people were taught there were only 5 continents (hence 5 Olympic rings) as Antartica is just a block of ice and not land. I'm sure there were some offended penguins somewhere.


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