Our terraced house is in Villanueva de Gallego (www.villanuevadegallego.org, about 4,000 inhabitants), 15km north from Zaragoza. Thus, we are right between Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia.
- We have a calcium water cleaner and osmosis system .
-The watering of the gardening is programmed (but please water the rest of the flowers :)
- Clothes drier
- Electric guitar, Spanish guitar, acustic guitar, bass and disco lights (always be respectful to our neighbours, they are our friends too). Use them if you can and enjoy
- satellite TV
- To cook: BBQ, paella pan, electric cooking iron, etc
- Outdoor tennis table
- 3 bikes in total, we can get more if needed of various sizes
- We may swap our car, an Opel Insignia Tourer. Two bikes fit if only two people travel in it. Manual gear.
- simple items to work out: 2 ten-kilo weights, floor pads, crunch ball
- the community garden includes a mini basket court. We have got a basket ball
- three deck chairs to take to the swimming pool or into the car
Our house combines the advantages of village life with the accesibility to well-known areas of Spain. If your plans are for the whole family, local festivals take place in August: typical Spanish fiestas, with free or cheap music bands at night and plenty of bullfighting and activities. Thus, you can combine short trips to some of the major cities in Spain with relaxing walks and country life in between, and a swim in summer (1st June - 30 Sept). Both the bus stop and the train station to Zaragoza, Huesca and Lleida are less than 1 km walk so you can get home from the Delicias (Train and Bus) Station of Zaragoza, and so from the Zaragoza airport, or go anywhere by bus or train.
Our area, Aragón, blends many European cultures: Iberian, Celt, Roman, that of the Visigothes, the Arab invasion in Spain, the Romanic, medieval architecture style and so many others.
The Basilica of our Lady of Pillar is one of St. Mary's world pilgrimage centres . This is why, stangely enough, there are two cathedrals in the nearby city, Zaragoza. One of them was built in the 12thc and includes romanic, gothic, renaissance and baroque styles.
The north of Spain is full of Romanic, medieval churches. They were built along the Way of St James in medieval times. In Aragon you can walk a piece of it travelling from Canfranc (Somport border to France) past Jaca and Puente La Reina (1,30 drive from home).
Nearby cities to visit are:
ZARAGOZA (15 km, regular buses) has amazing sights. The painter Francisco de Goya was born near here and many of his paintings can be seen around. Contemporary museums include permanent and temporal exhibitions. The buildings of the International Exhibition of 2008 are also worth visiting. There are big malls in Zaragoza. Before getting home, eat the wold-famous tapas downtown, bar crawling around 21h where you will see all the locals having fun with their friends after a long working day, even on weekdays, especially in the summer.
TERUEL (172 km by motorway south) is a beautiful, medieval city, 850 metres above sea level, so it is really fresh in the summer. Beautiful mudéjar towers. For children, the dinosaur theme park www.dinopolis.es is worth it. You can end up having a swim in the reservoir of San Blas, 10 kms away from Teruel, on the way home.
ALBARRACIN is a very small village with such weird architecture that it is the second most visited village in Spain.
The village of ALQUEZAR (eastwards) is medieval. Many foreigners go down its river, the Vero, in scuba suits. Going up the river with river shoes is fun for families. Combine it with a vistit to a vinery east of BARBASTRO, and a visit to 20th century shrine of Torreciudad.
JACA, northwards, almost all the way is free motorway. Beautiful romanic cathedral, and citadel with a former moat where some deer live. Near the ski resorts Candanchu and Astún there are lovely hikes with high summits. The central Pyrenees are drier than the western ones but much steeper. The borders with France (Somport and Portalet) can be reached by car in less than 2 hour drive. Before reaching Formigal, a ski resort in the valley of Tena, there is the Lanuza reservoir. We have canoed there and it has astonishing sights.
I haven't spoken about EJEA DE LOS CABALLEROS, capital town of the Cinco Villas area. Beautiful churches. Many Europeans go bird-watching there. Beautiful medieval villages are UNCASTILLO and SOS DEL REY CATOLICO.
The castle of JAVIER and the monastery of LEYRE make up a beautiful trip to the autonomous community of Navarra. In it there is the theme park www.senadaviva.com. It combines natural life with rides.
TARAZONA also has a beautiful cathedral. Not far is the Moncayo, a mount worth climbing (whole family), and the monastery of Veruela, where classical concerts are given every so often.
Holidays for children include visiting THEME PARKS. There is the Parque de Atracciones in Zaragoza with water rides. In the high Pyrenees there is www.lacuniacha.es where wild animals, especially mammals, can be seen while hiking about 6 km. www.pirenarium.com makes up a general introduction to the Pyrenees.
HUESCA is only 50 km away north, on the way to the Pyrenees. It is a small city with a beautiful park and a cathedral. You could even go by bus. The reservoir of La Sotonera is on the way and many people go windsurfing or canoeing there.
If our home is to be the headquarters of a long stay including some getaways, I recommend:
BARCELONA (3-hour drive, paying motorway), or instead spendig the day at the beach in SITGES. We love Gaudi's architecture.
SALOU (international beach resort in the province of Tarragona, 2,30 hours drive, most of it paying motorway). The city of TARRAGONA was the capital of the Roman empire in Spain. Its amphitheatre, next to the sea, is gorgeous. They are very close.
MADRID (3-hour drive) Absolutely stunning, especially the gardens of the Royal Palace, not far from the 20th century cathedral of our Lady of Almudena.
PAMPLONA (one and a half hour paying motorway northwest, and therefore fresher) with a magnificent citadel. Ernest Hemingway made this city famous worldwide for taking part in the festivity of San Fermín. This inspired his novels Fiesta and Death in the Afternoon.
Further away (1 more hour) you can choose BILBAO with the gorgeous Guggenheim museum.
SAN SEBASTIAN was a holiday resort of wealthy people at the beginning of the 20th c. with its luxurious buildings around La Concha Beach. It has been more visited in the last few years. The Jazz festival at the end of July is gorgeous, and the city is famous for its seafood tapas, beach, sculptures...
Further south, going past Teruel (3 hour drive from home) you can visit VALENCIA and eat a TRUE paella.
We have all the touristic brochures published in English and French recently about the region of Aragon, since we both are language teachers and use them with our students.