Basílica del Pilar - Saragossa Roadtrip 2022 Nordspanien
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Road Trip Day 1 – Barcelona-Saragossa

And once again a first day for a road trip. Today we will travel from Barcelona to Zaragoza. And from Miracoli to fried egg.

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On the plane from Palma to Barcelona, a BMI of over 15 is already too much. Not that I’m out and about in those areas … But it really seems like Air Europa ordered a special version of the 737-800 in which they wrote “extra tight seats” into Boeing’s specifications.

So I sat between a permanently phoning Spaniard of North African origin in sweatpants and with gold chain, who found his salvation in talking into or onto his cell phone from various perspectives. Always holding his right armrest. And a Spanish elderly gentleman who probably would have played the dear and wise Don in a telenovela. In real life, however, little dear and wisely guarded his left armrest. So I folded my arms tightly around my body. And enjoyed the resulting heat in the armpit area.

In the course of the flight, however, I was able to make territorial gains. To the obvious displeasure of my fellow travelers. I wonder what actually happens when let’s say less peaceful fellow citizens meet on such a plane….

Jeep Wrangler in front of Barcelona Airport Roadtrip 2022 Northern Spain
Jeep Wrangler in front of Barcelona Airport Roadtrip 2022 Northern Spain

Either way, the flight from Palma to Barcelona is barely more than 35 minutes long … Then it took me another half hour to get to the car that my colleague had kindly parked there for me: a classic Jeep in Rubicon design with a few testosterone-swilling additions. A splendid specimen!

With my big daughter I drove off. And we decided to go to Zaragoza. From Barcelona, that’s about 300 kilometers west to the magnificent capital of the Spanish autonomous community of Aragon and Zaragoza (something like a merger of two German states in Germany).

The path leads through somewhat uniform landscapes, where one of the main purposes of obtaining food seems to be to remove mountains, at least partially, in order to then produce yellow bricks from the extracted sandstone. Scenic let’s say moderately beautiful and the light was on this muggy June – day also rather not conducive to the positive perception of the environment.

Air conditioners are probably not for climate protection …
On the way to Lleida, the surroundings look very poor in parts

At some point we leave because I get hungry. Nearby is a city called Lleida, according to Wikipedia already in pre-Roman times an important place. Had equated that with “beautiful place”, but was a misinterpretation.

Lleida - Bridge over the Ebro Road Trip 2022 Northern Spain
Lleida – Bridge over the Ebro Road Trip 2022 Northern Spain

We drive a little bit through the village. And the further it climbs up to the former cathedral La Seu Vella, the more beautiful it becomes. But somehow the enthusiasm is not enough to leave the car at meanwhile 35 degrees and we decide to continue on more rural roads.

We search Google Maps for a restaurant close to our route with a rating of at least 4.5 stars. Wrong. Then just decide to take a look at the two candidates we have to choose from. And decide spontaneously for the first, a Braseria at the Autovia del Este, the A-2.

I’ll summarize it quickly: The owners have actually created a nice little paradise here directly on the “highway” that you can see shimmering through on the left of the picture. Because of the heat, we had to sit inside.

In the air-conditioned dining room we both ordered the menu of the day for 12 euros, both as starters spaghetti Bolognese, which brought back nostalgic memories of spaghetti Miracoli from the days when KRAFT still packed the bitter and sharp tasting Parmesan (?) – cheese in powder form in the boxes.

Then came sardines with homemade fries on the table of the house decorated with oilcloth blanket. Well fried, to the point and the fries were just great!

For dessert, we opted for ice cream. And received a TK – ice cream cone à la Cornetto in a cheaper version. As expected in Spain, the fries were really good and the sardines were well fried. All in all, completely fine and absolutely fair for the price.

In Zaragoza we had chosen the Hotel Sauce. In fact, the owners mean the sauce, which is actually called salsa in Spanish. It is a 2 star hotel right in the center, which caught our attention because it has a café with its own patisserie.

The pink door leads to the cafe that belongs to the Hotel Sauce.Road Trip 2022 Northern Spain
The pink door leads to the café, which belongs to the Hotel Sauce

We reported to the small reception and told the poor guy that we had booked 5 minutes ago in Booking. By the way, for about 70 euros per room. Another came to the aid of our receptionist. Together they thought about which rooms would be best for us. That had never happened to me before either. I was then advised to park this large car in another parking garage. I had evil forebodings from my last road trip, where the “associated” parking garages were always miles away from the hotel …

We bring the luggage to the rooms and arrange to meet in the café. There, the receptionist, in his current role as a waiter, recommends that I rather drive the car away immediately. So I get behind the wheel and follow the directions to the underground parking garage. By the way, I think this is a real Spanish specialty. We not only have the highest per – capita consumption of concrete here. But also consistently build basements under everything with underground garages. Whether the cathedrals stand over it or whatever is no obstacle for the obviously technically extremely versed building planners.

But now the hammer. I go up the stairs from the underground parking and stand in front of “El Pilar”, in more detail the Basílica del Pilar. Wow!

I have taken countless photos, but with my travel lens, this impression of size is impossible to image without crazy distortions. Therefore, I have embedded two images from Wikipedia for you below. In short, it is a huge baroque church “with colorful domes, a famous altar in honor of the Virgin Mary and frescoes by Goya” (Google Maps).

, via Wikimedia Commons” href=”%C3%Tiles Tiles Roofs Domes Towers Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar Zaragoza Aragon Spain Photo Wolfgang Pehlemann DSC00652

And because that’s not enough, the crazy Spaniards have stomped right next to it the Catedral del Salvador, a “cathedral with Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque elements and a museum of medieval tapestries” (Google Maps).

Right next to it is the Goya Museum. Sure, you can find the works of the famous graphic artist and sculptor, now even without Google. In general: this Zaragoza overflows with museums. If you want to torture your children, just spend a week here. And every day 1-2 museums. Only the Museo del Fuego y de los Bomberos you have to skip, that could really inspire, here is about fire and firefighters, that would be a Rohrkrepierer for child torturers …

And in fact, it’s only a 2 minute walk back to the hotel. From there, after a short break, we head to the Carnivoro restaurant. Along the way we begin to understand why northern Spain is famous for its cuisine culture.

We are received very nicely and placed between a Dutch couple and a French couple. We want to order. But the nice Padron cancels our order because it is much too much. We are hungry, but believe him!

It starts with a colorful light summer salad with grilled shrimp. Very tasty. Right to the point. The mango dressing doesn’t interfere at all, but really punctuates the composition well. Exceptionally tasty!

Then the crispy chicken, just like better chicken nuggets. No disappointment, no surprise. Better than McDonald’s. But no revelation either. Then comes a hallway that I didn’t photograph for you because it looks awful. Which our neighbors all had before us. And we had been puzzling over what it could be. A medium bowl full of medium brown gloop. In which presumably potato sticks swim around. On top float two egg yolks from the quail egg. The service employee then stirs them into the pudding with an incredible amount of effort and love.

The whole thing is actually the ordered “fried eggs in mushroom sauce”. Does not look like it. But tastes brilliant. However, not necessarily the category of light summer cuisine, but a real heavy hitter for Spanish rainy days. We can only manage a few spoons. But are already quite full as the “German bratwurst with 4 types of mustard” roll on. The lowlight of the evening. The sausages are good. But very fine happens. And undercooked. The mustards are superfluous for me personally, but there I am very conservative ;)

So in summary: In the atmospheric street lighting a great place for a nice dinner. Especially outside. But also inside a beautiful interior design and a place that invites you to feel good. The cuisine is definitely good. Has smart ideas. Weaknesses in detail. But look at the receipt: we were still under 60,- Euro. And for that the quality was great! Carnivoro is just a great place to spend a nice evening!

So, that’s it for today. Tomorrow we will continue!

Many greetings, Arnd

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