Beautiful cities and winter temperatures
On November 13 we leave from France and cross the Pyrenees at Canfranc. This used to be a very large and busy railway station between France and Spain. Due to the different track widths in the two countries, all passengers had to transfer here. A lot of trains passed by here because of the troubled conditions in the Basque Country in the west and Catalonia in the east of the Pyrenees. After the fall of Franco and the peace agreements with ETA, etc., the station was no longer needed and it was left for decades.
A lot of work is currently being done to restore the old glory of the station and to improve the general infrastructure in Canfranc, also because of the winter sports opportunities in the area.
Incidentally, the drive through the Pyrenees was beautiful, through small French villages and along beautiful mountain roads, high over the mighty mountains of this massif. We enter the tunnel of Somport and after a few kilometers we are suddenly in Spain, before the borderpost we already turn towards Canfranc Estacion. We spend the night in a parking lot that is desolated in this season and that is covered with a thin layer of snow here and there .
The next morning we wake up with a lot of snow on our car. The entire city and the surrounding mountains are dressed in a winter rug.
We are on our way to Salamanca, Monday 18-11 we want to start with a course of Spanish in that beautiful old university town.
But first we drive over the plateau of the Spanish states of Aragón and Castilla y León. It is a high plateau and we notice that the temperatures at this altitude (800-1,100 meters) are unexpectedly low and we have to keep on our sweaters and turn on the heating.
Our second night in Spain is in Zaragoza, en route we stop at the Mallos de Riglos and Agüero, very special rock formations that rise like pillars next to the villages of Riglos and Aguëro. Nice to walk around when the weather permits. For us, the time was too short and the temperature and wind were not attractive enough to take a walk …
In the evening we walk through Zaragoza, a city that you often see on the map of Spain, but that is rarely visited. We are surprised by the beauty of the large square and the beautiful buildings.
It is apparent that the painter Goya (Francisco de Goya) plays an important role in Zaragoza, he was educated here at the Jesuit College and made his first paintings in this city.
When night falls, everything is beautifully lit.
The next day, driving the Spanish plateau, we pass Fuendetodos, the birthplace of Goya, a small village, not particularly beautiful, not very special, but a characteristic village of the highlands of Aragón.
In the evening we arrive in Segovia.
Segovia appears to be a beautiful city, also one of those forgotten cities of Spain, in the summer it is way too hot and only few visit the inland outside the summer.
The aqueduct of Segovia is fantastic, it runs from the outskirts of the city all the way to the old walled city, you can well imagine how water flowed through it during the time of the Romans.
The city has a beautiful cathedral and an old town with a castle, definitely worth a visit.
We drive on to Salamanca and look for a campsite on the campsite in Maria de Tormes.
On Sunday I (GJ) do the necessary maintenance on the car and work on our blog, tomorrow we will start our Spanish lesson.
see blog Learning Spanish in Salamanca
A last piece of Spain
Tired but satisfied we leave Salamanca, that week of Spanish lessons was intensive, but it made us both realize that the Spanish we learned as youngsters is still a beautiful and interesting language, we have picked up a lot and especially our speaking has improved.
On Sunday 24-11 we drive further west, Ciudad Rodrigo and the surrounding area are the last pieces of Spain that we visit, then we cross the Portuguese border.