Sunday, 2 April 2017

Flowers gone crazy

This morning we walked to church through Pignatelli Park in Zaragoza. It's been a horrible windy spring day, but I was very struck by some flowers coming out of the garden of a Modernist building next to the Italian Church.

They look like escapes from a fairy story (I saw Beauty and the Beast last week) According to the park web page 
they are "thornless rose" I looked in Wikipedia and the say :Rosa banksiaecommon names Lady Banks' rose, or just Banks' rose. 
Really pretty!

Teruel exists

The Teruel Exists campaign has been going on for some years now. I've written about it a few times in this blog. Today's entry is because of a protest we saw in the centre of Zaragoza yesterday.

People dressed in 19th century-stylecostumes to protest about a 19th century-style railway service from Zaragoza to Valencia via Teruel, of course.
This is the protesters in Valencia station. Good luck to them!

Monday, 6 March 2017

Madrid by train

In February we did a trip to Madrid. One of the reasons for doing it was that Rafael really wanted to go on the AVE, or Spanish high speed train. I booked tickets in advance to get a good deal, also a hotel in the city. Leaving at nine in the morning we were in Madrid by ten thirty-five.

The train goes up to 300km/hour on some parts of the journey!
Then we had to find the hotel-a couple of stops on the underground, up the Gran Vía and there it was: Hotel Senator.
It was very nice and comfortable. Having dropped off our bag we headed off to our first destination, El Museo del Romanticismo. Through less salubrious areas, it took us a while to find. 
This is the outside

Here are some pictures of the inside

I enjoyed seeing the dresses displayed close enough to examine fairly well.

When that was over we ate. in the afternoon we went to an exhibition of the Dutch artist Escher. It was very expensive compared to the national museums.

Walking around in Madrid 
Apparently the view from the top is great, but it's closed for repairs.

One of the great Modernist buildings in the Gran Vía

a refreshing cup the Plaza Mayor

Yes, there are some giant legs coming out of the window!

The English College for  18th century Jesuits, I think.

On Saturday we went to the Archaeological Museum. It was really well arranged; all the national stuff in chronological  order from pre-history to the latest. From bones and stones to amazing and exquisite jewellery. We saw the famous Dama de Elche, whose real purpose they don't know. surprisingly, she wasn't absolutely unique. The have one full-body lady and another bust, but they are not quite as elegant as this one. 
 Roman mosaics

Gold! Lots of it!

Coins, jewellery, bright, shiny gold!
That was just about it. We were tired and footsore by the time we got to the station and took the Ave back to Zaragoza.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Sunday, 5 February 2017

A royal surprise!

One of my friends works in a cake shop in the Calle Mayor (High Street) in Jaca. Yesterday she posted a message to our Wassapp group: "The king and queen and their girls have just been in my shop!" They were looking for coffee, which they couldn't get there. Later someone from a bar at the other end of the street posted a couple of photos.
Not very good, but personal! The bar is called Las Tres Ranas, and they were taken by surprise! 

The monarchs chose a bad time to come; the weather has been horrible. It rained in Jaca all weekend, and as I left for Zaragoza this afternoon it was starting to snow; silly soft stuff but real snow. 
Apparently they spent the morning skiing in Astún. This is a link to the regional newspaper's photo-gallery. i hope they managed to ski as well as posing for photos!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

San Miguel de los Navarros

One of my favourite sights in Zaragoza is the tower of the parish church of San Miguel de los Navarros. It's Mudejar with a funny wrought iron construction on the top for the bells. It's called "The Bell of the Lost" and has a story. The old city wall ran just close to the church. Outside the wall the river Huerva made the land dank and misty. Zaragoza is often dank and foggy. People used to work out there and in the 16th century some got lost in the dark and died of exposure. Finally they instigated ringing the bell from dusk to night so people could find the way back to safety.
This is an old photo of the church with the city gate (Puerta del Duque) just next to it.

Yesterday we went to a family Christening in the church and were really impressed by the retable, a very fine Renaissance piece made by Damian Forment and started in 1519. 

This photo shows the whole thing, but you can't see the details, and that's what is interesting. You can't say scenes from the life of an Archangel, but scenes from the stories....we spent some time trying to work them out.
Michael and the devil contending for the body of Moses
 Why is it St Michael of the "Navarros"? This goes back to the time of king Alfonso I "The Battler" and the taking of the city from the Moors; legend has it that the Archangel fought on the side of the Navarran troops and tipped the balance in their favour. There are records of the church from the 12th century.

Saturday, 12 November 2016


 The village of Villanovilla in the Garcipollera valley has been almost entirely rebuilt. I think it was abandoned in the 50s with the forestation programme. It now consists of a handful of rather attractive stone-built houses, well-made streets and at least one rather scabby yard, as you can see below.
 The cats surprised me. In this photo you can just about see four ginger ones and a ginger and white one. I saw at least one more ginger puss elsewhere, as well. Is this common? This link will show some of the houses.
A note about ginger cats:
 The ‘ginger gene’ which produces the orange colour is on the X chromosome. Females have two X chromosomes and so need two copies of this gene to become ginger, whereas males need only one. This means there are roughly three males to one female ginger cats. Ginger toms father tortoiseshell or ginger females. If both parents are ginger, then all their kittens will be ginger too.