Zaragoza and Barcelona

Trip Start Nov 10, 2013
Trip End Nov 24, 2013

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Flag of Spain  , Catalonia,
Friday, November 15, 2013

Today our wake up call was for 6:15!  We are on vacation?  I don't get up that early ever anymore.  Bags out at 7:15 and leave at 8:00.  When we went upstairs after breakfast about 7:30 I tried to unlock our room safe but it wouldn't unlock.  Our phone wouldn't work so I went to the front desk to tell them.  The lady at the desk sent up the guy who had been loading all our luggage.  When he tried the bypass it wouldn't work either.  So we went and got Raymond and he helped us work out what would happen.  They said they would get a locksmith to drill the safe open but they said it would be a minimum of 2-3 hours until he would come.  If he came in time they could get our stuff to us tomorrow, if he was later in the day it would not get to us until Monday as there is no Sunday delivery service.  So we left Pamplona without passports, my purse, my computer, Larry's I-pad, Derek's extra money and camera.  Raymond was great and assured us our stuff would get to us eventually.  So I am writing this blog on Derek's computer and right now Travel Pod's server is down so I am going to have to cut and paste from Derek's apple computer to the website.  I also will not be able to post pictures tonight because I didn't bring my cord to download, I just use the SD Card.  I will post those later.

So we left a few minutes late.  When Penny heard about our situation, when we were already on the road, she remembered that they hadn't emptied their safe.  So Raymond had to call back and ask them to send her stuff too.  All she had to do was give her combination to the hotel.  It was a pretty nondescript drive from Pamplona to Saragossa, Zaragoza (Zara GOTH ah) in Spanish, our first stop.  So Raymond put in the video 1492 about Christopher Columbus.  We got off the bus and into the cold and wind but at least the sun was shining.  Raymond walked us around to the front of the Cathedral and gave us a few pointers and told us to be back at 11:10.  We went into the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, where according to legends, the Virgin Mary appeared to St. James.  Raymond told us that if you kissed the pillar behind the altar it was supposed to bring good luck.  He also told us of another 'miracle' in the church.  During the Spanish Civil War two bombs were dropped on the church but neither of them exploded.  You could still see where one of the bombs came through the roof and both bombs are on display on the wall near the main altar.  When we entered the church mass was going on.  We were very quiet as we walked around.  I found the place behind the altar and kissed it and said a prayer that our belongings join us tomorrow.  I also "lit a candle' and prayed for my mother and brother.  These candles are electric, you drop in a coin and one of the unlit candles turns on.  It just didn't seem right somehow.  We went back out into the square in front of the cathedral where they were erecting the manger scene for Christmas and it was quite elaborate with earth movers to put in trees, big stones to create the backdrop.  At one end of the Cesar Augusto Plaza in front of the church was a big fountain that was shut off for cleaning.  At that end of the square there were also the ruins of a Roman wall and there was an Arabic tower still standing.  There was also a statue of Cesar Augusto at that end of the plaza.  Then we walked to the other end of the plaza to see the statue of Goya who was born in Zaragoza along with some other statues.  Then we headed for the bus but it wasn't there yet so we crossed the street to see the River Ebro and the large ferris wheel that was further down.  We were glad to be back in the warmth of the bus. 

Our next stop was at a service area for lunch called Area De Servel Lielda.  We had to take an escalator up to the bridge across the road.  While we were walking over the bridge Raymond told us that our stuff is on the way and we should get it tomorrow.  YEAH!!!  On the other side were restrooms, a gift shop and a self serve restaurant what we would call a cafeteria.  I got a hot bowl of chicken noodle soup and lemonade.  Larry got a sausage, fries and small carafe of wine which was half the price of soda.  Derek got a ham and cheese sandwich and a coke.  I went to gift shop and bought Principe cookies which were much like English Digestives.  I also got some hard candy and mints.  Then we got back on the bus and watched the rest of 1492 on the way to Barcelona.  It took over two hours to get there as it is Friday and the traffic was really bad.  We arrived at our hotel on Ramblas after 4:00.  We got our room keys and went to our room.  Most of the other people were going on an optional tour but we had decided to have some free time.  So we headed up the Ramblas, a long boulevard where you can walk down the sides or the middle and the metro goes right below you.  You can feel it when it goes by.  We walked up to Placa de Catalunya.  Things are spelled differently here as many speak a dialect called Catalan that is a hybrid of Spanish and French.  The Placa is surrounded by Art Deco buildings and has lots of statues and water fountains.  It is the center point of Barcelona.  The Hard Rock Cafe was right on the Placa so we stopped and Larry bought their 16th Anniversary pin.  Then we headed back down Ramblas stopping at the hotel for Derek to get a jacket.  The sun was down and it was getting dark and cold.  We walked toward the harbor and stopped at St. Joseph's Market.  It was huge and amazing.  We saw all kinds of food and all of it fresh and uncooked, meats, fish, seafood, veggies, fruit, produce, eggs even ostrich and emu eggs, juices, baked goods, candy, fudge, gelato and more….  It was an amazing feast for the eyes and the nose.  I got some mango/papaya juice.  When we left there we came upon a corner that Raymond had pointed out to us with a McDonalds on one corner KFC on the other.  We walked down this side street and found, off to the right, a little enclosed square with only pedestrian traffic that was full of restaurants with sidewalk cafes.  When we left there Derek was hungry so we started looking at food.  He finally found a pizza place that had amazing pizza and got a large piece for a good price.  I looked in a couple of shops and found turtles for my Wild Wyoming Women friends.  Then we went back out and walked down Ramblas past flower shops, restaurants, souvenir shops, and street performers.  We came to the statue of Columbus in the traffic circle at the end of Ramblas but it was really dark.  We found out you could go up to the top in an elevator but decided against it as we would rather do it in the daytime.   So we crossed the traffic circle and walked out the pier past the Porte of Barcelona Building.  While we were walking out the pier, the lights came on for the Columbus Statue, so we took more pictures.  Derek has been using his phone all day.  Then we walked all the way back to our hotel which is only about 2 blocks from Placa de Catalunya.  Larry and Derek went down to the bar and had a beer while I got ready for dinner.  When I went down I asked Paula how the tour had been, she was not impressed as most of it was in the dark.  So we were glad we didn't go.  Supper was at 8:30.  We had a warm hard roll, a great salad with amazing olives, roasted potatoes and pork with gravy that had raisins and prunes in it.  It was tasty.  For dessert we had creme brule.  We also had a bottle of red wine that Raymond gave us for putting up with all the hassle of the safe.  It was really good wine. 

When we got back to the room there were break dancers performing right below our window.  Derek got me signed on to his computer and then he and Larry went down the street to buy beer.  They payed less for a six pack than for one pint in the bar.  I intermittently blogged and watched the break dancers.  We get to sleep in until 7:00 tomorrow!
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Peggy on

WOW Spanish Turtles..........gracious

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