Monday, April 5, 2010

Lunch In Spain

On Saturday night, I decided I wanted to go to Ainsa, in Aragon, Spain for Easter Sunday and my Birthday.  It's about an hour and a half drive from us over the Pyrenees. I had heard that the Bielsa tunnel, was going to be closed for repairs from the 6th April to the 21st June.  The Bielsa tunnel is one of the main routes to Spain, through the Pyrenees and although there are other major routes to Spain, with the Bielsa tunnel closed it would take a big detour and an awfully long time to get to Ainsa. So I decided to go before they closed the tunnel.

There were several other reasons for my decision to go to Ainsa.  Firstly the drive there is spectacular, Ainsa sits in the heart of the protected Odesa National Park. Ainsa itself is beautiful, it is a medieval city, once the capital of the medieval kingdom of Sobrarbe, it was the birthplace of the Kingdom of Aragon and it was home to the palace of the first Kings of Aragon, which is still there in the Plaza Mayor.

Apart from that, it also has some excellent restaurants, one in particular 'Callizo' is very good.  On Saturday we called and tried to book a table for two, we were pushing our luck calling at the eleventh hour and for Easter Sunday, surprise, surprise, they were full, but we decided to go anyway.  We could always see if they had a table on the day and if not well, we could find somewhere else.

After being woken up with a lovely cup of tea and  receiving a beautiful new handbag as a birthday present from lovely MG, we leisurely got ready, no rush, Spanish restaurants serve lunch until 4pm.  The weather was not good in France, overcast and drizzly but the weather forecast for Ainsa was good, once ready, MG, Crusoe and myself set off.....

 Climbing into the mountains on the French side

It was difficult trying to take photos, whilst MG negotiated hairpin bends

The Summit

Into the tunnel

Out of the tunnel and into Spain, the weather is much better on the south face

The scenery is changing

Views from Ainsa

Plaza Mayor

No chance at the restaurant, it is now in the Michelin guide 2010, with a Bib gourmande and was full of discerning French diners

We wandered around a bit

And joined the Spanish for a tapas lunch, washed down with local red wine

The local taxi service

After lunch we ambled round

MG loves these chimneys

And I like archways

And open doors

Ancient doors

Narrow cobbled streets

The twelfth century church

All in all, a lovely day


  1. That does indeed look like a lovely day. Gorgeous photos! And how super to wake up in one country and decide to have lunch in another :)

  2. Thanks for the lovely photos. Almost as good as being there!! Ok, I'm lying about that...jealous is what I am :)

  3. What a beautiful way to celebrate your special day. Thank you for including us in on your lovely journey. I wish you a belated Happy Birthday.

  4. Great photos - looks lovely. Must make a note to visit next time we go to Spain.

    P.S. Belated Happy Birthday.

  5. Gorgeous! Great photos and a great way to celebrate! Happy Easter and Happy Birthday to you!

  6. Looks like a lovely day and a handbag to boot! Not too shabby :-)

  7. Oh Dash JOYEUX ANNIVERSAIRE!!! What a truly wonderful day you had. I'm a bit further away than you from Spain but I do so love the drive... I've been meaning to drop by and am going to stick you up on my side bar now I'm not in such a rush.
    Thanks for looking at my website... It's really kind of you!

  8. What a gorgeous place!

    I love a good selection of tapas and being able to sit out in the sun with tables full of locals must have been great fun.

    Sounds like a lovely birthday.

  9. Oh what a lovely way to spend an Eastery birthday and I loved all the photos. However you missed out a crucial one - a photo of the bag, silly.

    Come on - show off your things


  10. oh Dash..i loved seeing this..having never been there this was so fun to see... and crusoe...what a cutie-pie...he got to go too?

    i cried when i read the story of how you got him....that's the same story about Buddy. we never meant to get him that day..we saw the ad and said, well, lets just go look...and i walked in and saw him, picked him up, and that was it. love at first sight...YES ! the best decision i EVER made in my life....13 years and 4 months 1 day of PURE HEAVEN ! gosh, i miss that doggy. it is so depressing here without him.barely hanging on till we get Teddy...

    i love your blog...are you from the united states living in france or are you french? was just wondering....

    sending love across the sea...and a Happy belated Birthday to you...

  11. oh crusoe o.k.?

    have you ever been to the united states/california?

    i have never been to europe...never wanted to leave buddy :- (

    hanging on over here ...2 weeks to go....


  12. small world, dash..

    i lived for 30 years in a small town called cambria...right by hearst castle...about an hour and a half south of big sur ( i LOVE big sur) on the coast right on highway one.

    i now live in san luis obispo,ca about another 30 minutes south on highway one...about half way between san francisco and los angeles....

    if you come out here...we could meet up...

  13. Oh, Dash, what a wonderful way to spend your birthday! Getting a new purse is always something I adore. I agree with FF, you need to show us a picture of it.
    Happy Birthday to you!

  14. OH OH OH OH OH
    How beautiful!!!!!!!!!! I could cry with envy... to have this sort of beauty nearby is such a blessing... gorgeous photos too... both before and after the tunnel!!! fabulous post dear Dash.. hope your birthday was just as wonderful as these views.. xxx Julie

  15. Such stunning photos... always. Your journeys are so beautifully captured. x


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