Euro Trip 2008 Part 4 – Zaragoza and Valencia

By - December 11, 2008 (Updated: November 27, 2014)

Read Euro Trip 2008 Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

Zarragoza1008-2.jpgWe left La Benjamine, with one of Dawn and Cédric’s incredible picnic boxes (salads, meat, cheese and of course wine), and headed for the mountains. We traversed the peaks and valleys of the Pyrenees, where the grass was still lush and green but the trees were the reds and golds of autumn. It was actually one of the nicest displays of fall colour I’ve experienced here in Europe.

The weather wasn’t exactly smiling on us. A stop for a Spanish coffee and loo-break, in a tiny mountain village, found us making a mad dash for the Prius to avoid a downpour.

Eventually, the landscape flattened out to rolling hills and then long stretches of plains and we found ourselves in Zaragoza.

Andrew had been having back problems since our return from Canada and his ability to walk long distances was severely limited so we found ourselves using buses to do our city visits. There was a slight kink in this plan however, when we reached Zaragoza. It was festival day and many of the streets were closed to traffic so there was no tourist bus.

Zarragoza1008-24.jpgWe did a bit of wandering through the main square and visited the magnificent Basilica-Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar. After a few hours, we were all feeling a bit draggy, so we headed back to the hotel for our picnic supper and another early morning.

The next day we set out for the flat plains of central Spain. The weather was beautiful and we decided to avoid the main highway and follow one of the smaller roads. We had incredible views of the vast agricultural lands and vineyards. We made a lunch stop, for the last of our picnic, in a tiny village with a beautiful view (and had a few stares from the locals). We even had a rather odd mystery stop…

“Are those… HAMS?!?” A quick u-turn revealed that, yes, there were dozens of hams hanging outside a factory, drying in the sun. In addition, there was a lovely rose garden that Mom and I stopped to photograph.


Jamones DarocaSpain1008-13.jpgFor us, the rain in Spain, stayed mainly off the plain.Spain1008-17.jpgWhat is it about boys and piles of dirt?

The second “STOP the car!!” moment was in the beautiful little village of Daroca, where I photographed the remnants of an old wall and fortress.


More photos of this lovely town will appear on the Photoblog!

Valencia1008-33.jpgValencia1008-12.jpgOur stopping point that night was Valencia, a city that Andrew and I would like to return to and spend more time exploring. We did manage to find a tourist bus that took us around the city, from which we could admire the incredible architecture which ranges from  Gothic to Art-Deco and some stunning Modern buildings that make up a new art and cultural centre.

As we were ending our tour, the rains came down again – in buckets. We decided to find a supper spot nearby. Fortunately we chose wisely and had a superb tapas meal accompanied by some lovely Spanish red wine. Then it was off to bed to rest up for the next morning’s flight…

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Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
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