May here in France has been absolutely chocka full of bank holidays…I’m not complaining! A couple of weekends ago I took advantage of this fact and booked myself some super cheap flights to Zaragoza in Spain to visit my friend John, who came to visit me last year in Sevilla, when we toured Sevilla and even took a day trip to Cordoba.
I thought I would return the visit, so I flew out of Paris Beauvais airport, bound for Zaragoza, two weeks ago. On arrival, I got a bus from the airport to the city centre (1,80 euros compared with the 17 euros bus ticket to the airport in Paris…oh Spain, how I miss your prices!) and wandered around for a little bit while I waited for John to meet me. While I was walking around I so completely relaxed and happy. I had handed in my final essay of the year the day before so I had nothing to worry about besides where I was going to get food!
I found myself a restaurant and proceeded to sit outside and eat and drink (a beer at 12pm – I was on holiday!) until John turned up, when we both decided to sit and enjoy the sunshine and catch up on life with a drink. Afterwards, we went back to his and then onwards to Parque Grande, which I have decided is one of the best parks I have ever been to (John will be happy to know!), to sunbathe. That evening, we went out for tapas and I was reunited with my two biggest Spanish loves, tinto de verano and the amazing patatas bravas. It was absolutely glorious. The other tapas were pretty good as well, I guess…kidding, they were all amazing! What better way to start my trip off! We also went to a pub quiz that night. We didn’t win (who even knows where obscure beers are the most popular in the world?) but we made a good effort and didn’t lose, so it wasn’t all bad!
The next day we woke up pretty late as I was tired from travel, so we ended up heading out in the early afternoon. We went to Puerto Venecia, a huge great big shopping, restaurant and entertainment plaza which won an award in 2013. We first went for a meal at a ribs restaurant and then went over to the shopping centre where I bought myself some lovely new clothes as a treat…as if a holiday wasn’t treat enough! That evening we went out to a bar with some of John’s friends and had a great night singing and dancing to a mix of English language and Spanish songs/reggaeton! I also drank a fair bit of one of my new favourite drinks, Martini and Fanta Limón (thanks John!).
Feeling a bit fragile, on Saturday we joined John’s friends at the fake beach, Costa Chica, in Zaragoza’s Expo village, where the world Expo was held in 2008. John got us lost in the ghost town that was the village, but we eventually made it (“follow the music and palm trees”). We spent about four hours relaxing on the sand in the sun. Unfortunately they don’t put the water in the ‘sea’ (a swimming pool with a sloped entrance) until June so we couldn’t go swimming, but they did have a bar, so all hope wasn’t lost just yet. After sufficiently sunning ourselves, plus consuming a mojito and an ice cream, we went back to John’s to change and head out for dinner in the tubo. We went to one place where we had some really good patatas bravas and other tapas, washed down with a beer in a china ‘glass’ – it kept it super cold for the whole time we were there! Afterwards, we went to another tapas bar where we had a miniature burger and other yummy tapas with some tinto de verano.
On the Sunday we woke up pretty late again, so we went out for lunch pretty much first thing after we got up. We went back to the place we went to on the first night, La Pilara, because I loved it so much, and the tapas were just as good as the time before! We shared some amazing patatas bravas and calamares as well as some other pieces of meat and seafood. From the restaurant, we went straight to Parque Grande to join some of John’s friends, but not without picking up some ice cream on the way! We spent the evening in the park with John and his friend playing guitar and singing, and I got to take some pretty pictures. It really is a beautiful park. Feeling pretty worn out from the heat and several late nights in a row we decided to chill and watch a film that night – Interstellar. A little less confusing that when I saw it in Spanish when I went to Madrid last year, but mind-boggling nonetheless!
For my last day, we had lunch on the square and then went up the tower in the main cathedral in Zaragoza, Catedral-Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar, which offered us an amazing view of the river and the city, but also gave me a little bit of vertigo as there’re no glass in the massive windows you pass while you’re walking up the stairs – it would’ve been so easy to fall out! Afterwards, we took the bus to the Aljafería, a fortified medieval Islamic palace where the Christian kings of Aragón used to live. It had a lovely garden and the decorations in the architecture was beautiful, but we were both hot and tired so it was a little difficult to enjoy fully.
To finish off my trip, we had planned a nighttime picnic in the Parque Grande with John’s friends. We took food and drink (and I took my camera!) and we had a fab time picnicking next to a fountain and later blowing bubbles and taking photos next to the fountain. John and I also walked up to the top of the main water feature so I could take photos and see the whole park at night, which only reinforced my love for that place!
The next day I woke up, packed up and made my way to the airport. The flight back to Paris was relatively good but for a few bumps which always freak me out, no matter how small they are. Back on solid ground in Paris, I realised that my trip to Zaragoza was probably my last trip to Spain in a long while. I currently have no other trips to Spain planned for the near or distant future.
I really loved my time in Zaragoza. It was so nice to relax after handing in my Year Abroad Project, it was great to speak a little bit of Spanish again and of course it was fab to see John again! I spent the whole weekend exclaiming about how happy I was, and I genuinely was the happiest and most relaxed I had been in a long time and it felt amazing.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip! I apologise for the essay and the mountain of photos, but it was such a beautiful place (particularly that park) that I couldn’t stop taking pictures!
You can look forward to a lot more Paris posts from now on – my passport runs out halfway through June so I have sent off to get a new one (my first adult one, ooooh) meaning I won’t really be able to leave the country until my new one arrives!
Until next time,