Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Do the bus stop.. (Zaragoza, San Sebastian and a hint of Pamplona)

So it´s been awhile since the last update... Last time we wrote, we were stuck in the Barcelona Bus Stop en route to Zaragoza. We got there about 7 hours later. The road from Barcelona to Zaragoza was good. The landscape alternating between dry land studded with olive trees and grape vines, through to thick greenery. It was quite hilly too.  The plan was to buy tickets for the next day as soon as we arrived.. but stupidly we headed straight for the cabs and forgot our plan. This led to more bus dilemmas the following day.. but we´ll get to that later.
We arrived at Zaragoza late on Sunday arvo / early evening. I am likening Zaragoza to a destination similar to Adelaide. It´s not neccessarily a pick for tourists.. like Sydney or Melbourne (Barcelona or Madrid) would be. But you might just decide to visit..  It´s the capital of a region. And its a City of Churches.

When we arrived the whole town seemed to be closed."Ah.. must still be siesta time" we thought. "It´ll open up soon". It  didnt really though. Being a city of churches, we think the whole place was shut due to it being Sunday (holy day). Nevertheless we had a roam around and took some great pics as it had some pretty spectacular buildings (churches). One building in particular is a famous place for pilgrims to visit, as it is believed the Virgin mary visited there in 40AD. People go there to kiss her marble statue. And a different  skirt is placed on the statue every day. Meh.. ok, but not really our thing.

 There´s not a whole lot else to say about Zaragoza. It was pretty. And it was quiet. And we got an early night in a lovely hotel which was fairly cheap. (Although I should add we were staying in the old town so maybe its more lively elsewhere).

The next day we checked out  and headed to the bus station at about 1pm. We wanted to go to San Sebastian... and these buses go via Pamplona. With Running of the Bulls (San Fermin) starting the next day in Pamplona, buses were busy. And we couldnt get on one for 4 hours. It was then a 4 hour trip. When you add this to yesterdays 3 hour delay and 3.5 hour trip, we have spent a lot of time waiting around bus stops and riding buses in the last few days! We´ve realised the rest of the trip may need to be planned further in advance to avoid long waiting times. This time we were more clever though, so we went and found a spot outside for some sunbaking and reading... before moving inside to a bar.

The road to San Sebastian was beautiful. Pamplona and San Sebastian are quite far north in Spain so we were close to France and right near the Pyrenees. Beautiful mountains and cute little towns all along the way. This area is the Basque region, which covers part of Spain and part of France.. so its a slightly different language and culture to other areas of Spain.

We met Kristy & James and Shelley (kristy´s sister) & Wade in San Sebastian at our apartment. When we arrived Shelley and Wade announced they got engaged in Paris 5 days earlier so it was celebrations all round!
Our apartment in San Sebastian is HUGE! Bigger than our house, potentially bigger than Mum n Dads. It overlooks a lovely little plaza, and has views over La Concha Beach, which is a little horse-shoe typed bay. Gorgeous! So far, Adam and I both think San Sebastian is our favourite place. Beautiful town with a great feel and an amazing beach.

Now.. we havent spent a great deal of time in San Sebastian, because about 16 hours have been spent in Pamplona for San Fermin Festival (Running with the Bulls). Ahh.. more buses (but only an hour each way this time)!!!
But I am not allowed to tell you about Pamplona - Adam wants to fill you in tomorrow!! All I will say is that he is alive and well.. so if you´ve seen on the news that an Aussie was injured then dont worry - it´s not us!

So Spain is nearly over for us.. and here is another few bullet points on my thoughts:
- I am sick of Tapas and am really looking forward to sitting down to a full plate of food instead of all the picking!
- Despite Zaragoza being quiet, I am glad we went there as we have seen some very different sides of Spain... cosmopolitan Barcelona, Resort Town San Sebastian and Quiet Cultural Zaragoza.
- Spanish people are nice.. particularly in Pamplona where they were happy to chat away to us even though we couldnt understand each other!
- The climate is beautiful!
- We could definitely live in San Sebastian and are currently brainstorming ideas on what we could possibly bring to the town (job wise). Dont worry - we have been doing this in every place we visit!

The boys are currently in the pub next door watching the World Cup (again!!), so us girls had better get in for a drink. We´ll be back tomorrow with another sunny update from San Sebastian... and all the details of Pamplona!


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