Maybe I should start by introducing Zaragoza before I show you some photos from our trip there last week.
My maybe future hometown*, Zaragoza is Spain’s 5th largest city with approximately 670,000 inhabitants (in other words, not to be compared with the small Swedish town of Växjö as a friend did!!). The city is the capital of the region of Aragón, which has more than 1,2 million inhabitants who live in 3 different provinces; Zaragoza, Teruel and Huesca. Aragón is also home to the biggest river in Spain, the Ebro and the highest mountain of the Pyrenees, Aneto (3,404 m).
Zaragoza has a very central position geographically speaking in Spain with only a distance of around 300-350 km to Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao and Toulouse (France). The city’s airport offers nowadays flights to Brussels, Milan, London, Rome as well as destinations within Spain. This summer Zaragoza is hosting an international expo with the theme: Water and sustainable development. The river Ebro is a focal point as the expo area is situated on the river banks.
The new pedestrian bridge from the train station
Last week we only had two full days together in Zaragoza and as it was really hot, we had decided to postpone the expo visit until the early evening. We took the bus to the trainstation Las Delicias where a new pedestrian bridge has been constructed to allow access across the busy ring road. The bridge has a very modern design that matches the architecture of the trainstation, I find it very Spanish, very Calatrava** like…
There is a temporary “ski-lift” / téléphérique which you can take to access the expo area from the air – we chose to do this even if the 6 € one-way ticket was a bit hefty! We had a great view though over the new park with walk ways and bike lanes from the bridge to the river, another new pedestrian bridge crossing the river and the Expo itself. It would turn out to be our only view of the Expo as we decided that the 35 € entrance fee for one evening was too expensive – unfortunately there are no evening tickets available and we wouldn’t have had time to visit the whole exhibition during a full day anyway. However, the cable car ticket offered a art exhibition for “free” – El mundo del hielo which we thoroughly enjoyed.
Cable car view on the Zaragoza train station Las Delicias
I think that what O and I were mostly impressed with was the new park and the bike lanes towards the river, it has the potential of greatly improving the area around the train station and who knows – maybe we will go cycling there in a few years’ time!?
The rest of the evening was spent with two of O’s brothers (C & JI) and his sister E + 2-year old niece M. Just like the evening before we met up and had a few drinks and tapas together. It is the kind of habit I could get used to – spending a relaxed time together even though it is in the middle of the week, without any stress 😀 I was amazed though that O’s niece didn’t show any signs of tiredness even though it was half past ten! I guess Spanish children are used to staying up late! The big question is though – when do they get up in the morning?? I have to do some more research on that next time I go to Spain!
The Expo 2008 by dusk
I had to leave Zaragoza already last Wednesday since I had a cheap RyanAir ticket to Brussels (only flights on Wedn. & Friday) while O stayed one day longer and flew with Iberia from Madrid (240 € more expensive!!)… O’s parents were sad that I had to leave so early but I told them that we hope that they come to visit us in Puerto Rico soon. Fingers crossed that they will actually decide to come, it would be so much fun to spend more time with them, show them around our island and to get to know them better!
It was great to come back to Brussels and both O and I became very nostalgic – we even started considering going back to live there… But I will write more about that part of the trip another day! I am once again back in the summer house on Skåne’s East coast and I have to sneak internet time from my father’s work lap top!
Tomorrow my friends Swedish Å and Danish L come from Copenhagen and on Saturday morning French P No 1 arrives from Geneva – we were supposed to have a girls’ weekend but then I found out that my old neighbour O and his Norwegian wife H from Oslo are also around so the plans had to be slightly modified to include one guy and a half (Å’s 2-year old son H is coming along again, fortunately my father has closed the gap in the fence since Midsummer’s eve!).
*) O really wants to move home to ZGZ, and as I find Madrid too big and also Barcelona, I am getting more and more convinced that this town could be our next home! I like the fact that it is close enough to drive to the above cities for a weekend, as well as the closeness to the Pyrenees and the sea not being too far away either (Atlantic and Mediterranean). Especially as my friend L is moving to the south of France in August to live with her French boyfriend F – we would be able to easily meet up for a weekend!
**) Santiago Calatrava is a famous Spanish architect who has designed the Turning Torso building in Malmö and Ciudad de las artes y ciencias in Valencia.