Shearwin's in Europe 2017 travel blog

Monastery in Soria

Church in Soria

Spires of Taragoza

Day 15 - Fri 2 June 17

We both did not sleep well but we were up and away from our Valladolid hotel for Zaragoza at 0815hrs. Our first objective was Soria; the half way point.

At first, the countryside was quite green and fertile, much as we have seen until now however it was to be quite different by the time we reached Zaragoza.

We stopped for fuel at a transport stop and while I filled the car, Kaye attempted to order a coffee with fresh milk. On entering the restaurant, I sensed the discussion had not gone well and we/ I have agreed that this search for the holly grail must end.

When we arrived in Soria, we drove to the Monastery of San Juan de Duero, where I toured this 13th Century Romanesque church and the remnants of the cloister. It was obvious that the area had been well developed at the time however remnants only remain. It was less than impacting.

We next visited the co cathedral de San Pedro, where a funeral was concluding. As for many of the churches in this area of Spain, the Romanesque influence can easily be seen . The Church has recently received an interior clean and coupled with a number of interesting artefacts was worth a brief visit. Photography inside the church was not welcome.

As we had not eaten for breakfast, we retired to the cafe opposite the church where we had service with extreme attitude; it was less than pleasant and we were more than happy to move on.

We had not planned on any further stops but as we passed the township( much bigger than a village) of Tarazona, we noted several impress spires that needed further investigation. Here we lucked into the Catedral Santa Maria de la Huerta, an 11th century church with roman and moorish origins. The significance of the cathedral can be seen in the dollars that must have been spent in the archeological research of the site, the elaborate renovations and the modernist visitor facilities. We toured the church and were thoroughly impressed by what we saw. I felt disappointed that I had given too much emphasis to Soria and was unaware of this gem. It was 1340hrs before we got away for the final 86 km drive.

We arrived in Zaragoza at 1500hrs and with some messing around we found the hotel and then the car park. An out burst at an impatient scooter driver in English resulted in a very friendly and helpful response in finding the hotels carpark.

We are approximately 800m from the centre of town and having organised ourself in our room which we think is spacious and nice, we walked into the centre stopping for a refreshment on the way. As we were not inclined for a late night, an early dinner of pizza was agreed upon. Not long after we had made this decision, a wind gust hit and we headed for the nearest pizzeria opposite the humongous Basilica de Neustra Señora del Pilar. We ordered a pizza, wine and several Tapas with the intent of riding out the rain that followed. During dinner, having ordered a red wine, we resolved that we will continue to drink whites only from now on as we have not had any issues with them to date. Verdelho's in Valladolid were definitely a favourite.

The comedy of the evening was to watch a large wedding group split in two by the rain in the square. One group attending what appeared to be a long drawn out ceremony while the others were having a merry old time drinking in our restaurant. The numbers in the restaurant grew the longer the ceremony continued. Not sure the wedding party would have been pleased to see.

We concluded the evening with coffee and cake in another restaurant before making it back to the hotel with only minor weathering. A good nights sleep required for tomorrow.

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