Boring bits first: 21Nov13 travelled to Bristol Temple Meads and met DW. Bus from Station to Airport. Flight from Bristol to Barcelona El Prat.
Fun stuff: Collected by AW from El Prat and then a monster three hour drive in darkness into the west. Now, darkness isn't normally a problem, what with car lights and the overhead lighting on the motorway. Except that this time we were mostly on, well, strange country roads. In fact if it wasn't for help from The Assistance Rabbits Somewhere in Spain we'd have ended up truly lost. Thank you, Assistance Rabbits!
We arrived at out first night's lodging sometime around midnight. In the dark the place looked remote, sinister and brooding. Inside wasn't much different. How wrong could I have been. The building is a converted monastery about 25km from Zaragoza set upon a huge horse-shoe shaped hill. It is a hotel now but during the Spanish Civil War was fought over several times before becoming the Nationalist HQ for that part of the Aragón front. El Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Magallon is the name of the place. It is utterly fantastic with comfortable rooms, excellent food and all manner of SCW associated things. It is also ideally placed for an exploration of the Aragón front.
View from room 22Nov13
Zaragoza can be seen the horizon.
Slightly different view to show the horse-shoe shape of the hills in Aragón.
As described by Orwell in 'Homage to Catalonia'
The small building was a penance pit for naughty monks.
No doubt the Nationalists fortified it.
El Santuario front
El Santuario rear
As a Nationalist HQ El Santuario was heavily defended.
Remains of a HMG post.
Artillery was sited in the area bottom LH corner of picture
The hills in the far distance were held by the Nationalists.
The Republicans, including Orwell, were dug-in just beyond that far line of hills.