To Madrid via Zaragoza

Trip Start May 25, 2008
Trip End Jul 04, 2008

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Today was some more distance driving (600km), all the while enjoying the air-conditioned respite from the outside heat, as we travelled all the way to Madrid!
Some rain showers early in the morning did not dampen anyone's spirits, and we enjoyed a morning tea convenience stop before making our way firstly across the Greenwich Time Meridian and then into Zaragoza (Spain's oldest settlement - over 2000 years!) for lunch, marvelling at the way the surrounding countryside changed along the way.
The big square in front of the huge Basilica Del Pilar (built 1681 - 1872) was awash with people visiting the area for the "2008 Expo", where the main topic was responsible use of water resources.
We took shots of a large statue of the famous Francisco Goya (1746 - 1828), court painter to the Spanish Crown. Inside the Basilica was another example of the incredible workmanship which was the 'norm' in bygone times.
After enjoying tapas in a local bar which overlooked the main square, we set off for Madrid, seeing quite a few wind farms along this leg of the drive.
Rugged rocky outcrops, gigantic 'mesas' rising up seemingly out of nowhere, imposing large buildings sitting along clifftops and edges, flat country combining occasionally with small surrounding valleys dotted either side of the highway. The poor old camera almost tripped out on overload, it was used so much!
Madrid greeted us around 5.30pm, and we discovered our Holiday Inn was directly opposite the HUGE Real Madrid Bernabeu Stadium!! (apparently second largest sporting/soccer arena in the world). Our coach took us past & around many of the cities finest fountains on our way to another outstanding dinner! This one was a pre-ordered feast, which we selected early on in the trip....choices included pork, lamb, beef, etc all cooked in their own special way....beautiful!!
Just when we thought the day might be drawing to a close, a trio of musicians, originating from a University revue, entertained us with both music & humour, with a Spanish twist. Sangria helped the more timid of our group get into the swing of things, and we all had a blast! Some uf us bought the cd the musical trio cleverly brought with them....and it was an inexpensive & enjoyable reminder of that night once we returned to Oz.
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