Best of Spain

Day 7 – September 9, 2004 – Pamplona to Zargoza to Barcelona

Today was another 6 AM wake-up with a very nice breakfast and cool morning. The city was just starting to come alive as we left the hotel at 8 AM.

All of the signs in northern Spain are written in Basque as well as in Spanish. The Basque language as a lot of X, Z, and K and is very similar to Hungarian and Finish. Our hotel was in the university section of town so there were many young people heading for class.

This morning we have a long trip to Barcelona along the Ebro River Valley. They have recently had lots of rain and flooding which may have ruined the grapes and the wine crop for the season. There is also asparagus, artichokes, peppers and sunflowers growing in this region.

Our first stop was at Zaragoza, where we viewed its Cathedral of El Pilar as well as the first Cathedral of the city La Seo. We had about 45 minutes to wander a bit and have time to take photos of the medieval square and also modern statues and waterfall. We had a beverage and used the restrooms.

At 1 PM we stopped at a highway café that spanned both lanes of the thruway and had a salad, sandwich and a drink. In 45 minutes we were back on the road to Barcelona. This is a very dry and parched landscape, almost desert like, except for a few areas that are green and growing because of irrigation.

At our hotel in cosmopolitan Barcelona, where we will be for two nights, we met our city tour guide Pilar. We had a short tour of the city on our way to one of the medieval palaces which is now used as the Picasso Museum.

Among the many famous exhibits of Spain's greatest modern painter, we particularly admired those from his early years. There were over 1000 paintings, drawings and sketches and it was very interesting to see the progression to the Picasso most people know today.

On the way back to the bus, we passed very expensive and stylish shops and boutiques. We saw the exact same pair of shoes our son Eduardo had just purchased but were about 5 times more expensive here!

At 6:15 we were back to the bus traveling on Picasso Avenue to see the Gaudi Park. These incredible edificial works of Antonio Gaudi are in the Guell Park. This was a very interesting gingerbread architecture overlooking the city.

We got back to the hotel at 8 PM just in time to pick up the rest of the group for our optional dinner. At Moncho's Barcelona we had a very enjoyable and typical dinner in this cosmopolitan city, with drinks included.

After dinner (11 PM) we took a bus tour to the Plaza de Espana and its illuminated musical fountains. This was quite spectacular and we got there just in time to see the musical finale and its dancing waters. We got home at midnight and then had to process the over 250 pictures and write the journal.



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