Sunday, June 19, 2016
Ave Maria VI: Zaragoza
Sunday was another long day of traveling. Left Madrid early to travel to Zaragoza, the capital of Aragon. As with the last long distance trip, our driver made the compulsory comfort stop and all of the aunties did group taichi in front of the cafe. All the ang mohs there were astonished. Continued our journey and passed by a lot of rapeseed fields and at one mountainous region, the whole area was covered with wind turbines.
Before long, we arrived at Zaragoza. The bus stopped at Iglesia Parroquial de Santiago el Mayor, a beautiful church with a wooden sculpture of Jesus at the column and Our Lady of Sorrows. However, there was some mix up. Turns out that they had no chapel that we could use and the parish priest couldn't speak a word of English. He went around asking for a translator among the parishioners and luckily we found a lady who was willing to help.
We were directed to a nearby church that is attached to a hospital, called Iglesia Del Hospital De Nostra Senora De Gràcia. The assistant parish priest opened the doors with a large iron key that was a good 6" long. When the doors were pushed open, I caught a whiff of musty air that must mean its not regularly used. A pity really, since the interior is very beautiful. The priest gave a brief introduction which our guide did her best to translate.
Once mass was ended, we tried to find the lunch venue but we got a little lost trying to navigate the streets. Half an hour later we found the place, a restaurant attached to a local hotel. For starters we had pea pods cooked with bitter gourd and sausages. The main was two slices of pork with cream sauce. Ended with an orange sherbet drink and a good cup of coffee. An elderly pair entertained us with an impromptu "Lenggang Kangkung" dance. Too much red wine perhaps. LOL.
Stretched our legs further when we had to walk fifteen minutes to the bus. No complaints since the driver brought us through the scenic route passing through Catedral-Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar and Plaza del Pilar. While walking across the Ebro via Puente de Santiago, we were rewarded with a magnificent view of the riverside cathedral.
By evening, we arrived at Barcelona. Our hotel was the Tryp Apolo that was located along a busy street where the Apolo Theater is situated. Before alighting, we were warned of pick pockets and to keep an eye on our baggage. Once we completed the check in process, we brought our luggage upstairs and went down to dinner at the Apolo Cafe. The first dish was poached eggs with stewed eggplants that went very well with bread. Lapped it all up. The main was a thick slice of lean pork with mash. Once again, the old ladies offered to clog my arteries with helpings of more pork, but I declined.
During dinner, one of the aunties exclaimed that she lost her phone. Either she dropped it or it was lifted out of her coat pocket, or she left it in the bus. Everyone hoped that it wasn't the more sinister scenario. Not wanting to call it a night yet, we had an after-dinner walk. Ventured out to the Columbus Monument near the Port of Barcelona to take some pictures. Also saw the old city walls which were bathed in an eerie blue light.
Once we were back, we got a good look at the room. Compared to the common areas, the room was old and the bed springs a bit distressed. Just put the power bank and camera to charge and dozed off.