|As usual the trip begins with a trip to a new city. Today it is Zaragoza. Besides being the birthplace of the artist Goya, Zaragoza has a spectacular basilica, Our Lady of the Pilar. St James supposedly brought Christianity to Spain and an apparition of Mary came to St James regarding developing the first temple to Mary here. Many years later another apparition appeared to a nun describing a pilar and Statue of Mary and where it was to be placed; the temple was built. Following a fire in the 1400's, the Church was rebuilt in the Gothic style, finished in about 1872. The Basilica has the main altar with Mary on the Pilar and there are 9 chapels in the basilica.
The Basilica of Our Lady of the Pilar is also the co-cathedral with La Seo Cathedral.
Then it is on to Barcelona. Barcelona is in the region of Catalonia. The Catalonians are a very strong independent people, many who would like to see it as an independent country. They have their own recognized language and develop their own rules and customs. For example, they ruled that bull fighting was outlawed as of 2012. Not everyone was happy but there is now no bull fighting in Catalonia.
As we entered Barcelona we drove past the cemetery, like the Spaniards living in apartments, their final resting places are stacked on a hillside. We then drove to an area called Montjuic. An area developed to contain parkland, botanical garden nod recreation facilities. It is also the home of the 1992 Olympic Village, the Sports Stadium and the Olympic Arena. This all sits high on a hill with a wonderful view of most of Barcelona, including Gaudi's Sagrada Familia.
We also had a tour of the old town area. This included wonderful sights of the old Gothic Quarter where Barcelona began. Medieval streets and centuries old architecture are everywhere. Interesting churches and government buildings showing Romanesque and gothic additions. We then enjoyed a fantastic Mediterranean seafood dinner at the harbor for a wonderful end to an interesting day.