We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Shahrad, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Shahrad is from Iran, and submitted the following report about his trip to Zaragoza, Spain. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo travel rating: 1.5 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages spoken: Spanish
Reasons to Visit Zaragoza
I’ve been to Spain many times. I’ve visited Madrid, Barcelona, Leon, Oviedo, Riano, etc. But Zaragoza holds a special meaning for me because it is the home of a prestigious annual exhibition that I usually participate in. Zaragoza, the beautiful city between Madrid and Barcelona always attracts me for its beautiful neighborhoods and, of course, friendly atmosphere.
I had no intention to participate in the exhibition this year. But, on a special night, I thought to check my mileage credit and see if I had any chance of being eligible for an award ticket. I usually take Turkish Airlines and, since I had made so many trips to Hanover for personal reasons, I had collected a considerable mileage rate. I entered the Miles & Smiles section in Turkish airlines website and submitted my information. Suddenly, I saw that I was eligible for an award ticket to Europe, and thought, what a great opportunity since I can travel for free!
The nearest city to Zaragoza for my route is Barcelona. You have to take a free shuttle to Terminal 2, after arriving in Terminal 1, take a train to Barcelona Sants, which takes about 20 minutes, and then obtain another ticket to Zaragoza from the main station. An hour and a half later, I found myself standing in front of the most beautiful cathedral I’ve ever visited. I declare that El Pilar is much more fascinating than Notre Dame in Paris. Nevertheless, I can’t deny the magnificence of Notre Dame. El Pilar’s design is based on both Christian and Islamic architecture. The inside is full of breathtaking sculptures. The atmosphere is so divine it could turn an atheist into a believer. For me, it changed me to a believer, but a believer in human abilities. The stunning capabilities of human nature, which led him to create this amazing place, just to present this supreme beauty to the world. I had the same feeling when I was at Musee du Louvre. The sculptures were somehow alive, they were only missing a beating heart. And my heart was pounding fast as if I had met my lover! Amazing!
My hotel window would open out to the main door of the cathedral. On my left I had the Goya statue in my sight. What a breathtaking view. I made myself comfortable, and started resting a little. After a few minutes, it started raining followed by the beautiful chorus that could be heard from the cathedral. It was heavenly. You know, I’m weak towards beauty, and the intensity of that moment could lead me to redemption.
After the ceremony, I celebrated the rest of the night in a restaurant. We drank Amber beer (every region in Spain has its own typical beer and Amber is Zaragoza’s specialty) followed by dinner. I tasted the most delicious raspberry liqueur accompanied by a plate of profiteroles. I had the time of my life spending a great night among fellow artists. Then we departed. I had to walk all the way to my hotel. What could be better than walking under the enchanting moonlight and feeling the slight breeze on my cheek while thinking of the day to come.
The next day I had to be sober because it was a big day for me. I had to do a drawing workshop before my eager audience at the Artelibre studio. But who could avoid the typical beverage of Spain, Sangria? However, I was determined. I had my breakfast at a cozy restaurant and then went to El Cortes Ingles, the biggest chain store in the whole of Spain, to obtain some gear for my next voyage, and some gifts for my dear ones back home. This store always issues a daily discount card only for tourists, upon submitting your passport. Then, I went to my favorite restaurant, which happened to be near my hotel–a buffet which charges you only 12.5 euros for everything you eat, and I mean unlimited everything! Since three years ago, the price had increased by only 50 cents. Spain is one of the cheapest countries I have ever visited, much cheaper than my own country.
One of the most delicious foods of Spain is Chorizo. A red sausage made from pork. Every time I come to Spain I must buy some. They are irresistible. Usually, they serve it with Sidra, a hard apple cider which is mostly found in the northern parts of Spain.
The next morning, I had to check out. I glanced at the Goya statue for one last time, made my way through the mystical early morning fog, and said farewell to the birthplace of one of the most amazing artists the world has ever seen.
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety – 1 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language – 3 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 1 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 1.5 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult)