Royal Palace of Olite

This morning, we rounded off a breakfast of croissant and coffee with a stroll along the gorgeous river of Zaragoza. I took this picture below. I'm waiting for the postcard requests to come flooding in...

Basilica de neustra señora del pilar and puente de Pierre (castle thing, and bridge)

Basilica de neustra señora del pilar and puente de Pierre (castle thing, and bridge)

Then we hit the road to Pamplona. I started reading lonely planet and discovered some medieval towns we could visit on the way, for lunch. We do that, and eat a feast in a medieval pub for 6 euros. This is my kind of Kingdom.

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Matisse was being so friendly to the men in the pub, even though they told me (in Spanish) that she looked like a boy and should have earrings. I would have seriously decked the man, but I hadn't had my coffee so I didn't have the energy. I'm not phased about people thinking Matisse is a boy, she is a baby. But insisting I decorate her with earrings, and cause her pain.... That really gets my goat. 

Matisse smiling at the men that thought she was a boy. 

Matisse smiling at the men that thought she was a boy. 

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This is the Royal palace of Olite, and is apparently one of the best preserved castles in the land. It was an old world feast, it felt as though the drawbridge would lower and knights in armour would come rolling out on white horses. Oh look....

Knights in armour, sans white horses.

Knights in armour, sans white horses.

We explored the castle. There was a school excursion of, probably 100 kids tearing through the place. All the boys were pretending to be ghosts, and the girls were waving at Matisse.

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I was loving exploring the castle. Maybe a bit too much. I started conjuring up fantasies of living in this kingdom. I felt so happy and at peace in these walls I started to wonder if maybe I had, in a past life of course. 

Matisse also seemed pretty chilled. Maybe she was my past life child, 

Matisse also seemed pretty chilled. Maybe she was my past life child, 

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Hanging gardens. Lions and giraffes used to live here... 

Hanging gardens. Lions and giraffes used to live here... 

Across Spain (and France, I think) there are old castles and palaces available to stay in, a five star luxury experience. They are called paradores. It turns out, this is one. So we hire a decadent room. Now I can live out my fantasy for the night. The medieval kingdom one, that is. 

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The best bit about this castle, is that it is part of a functioning small village and barely seems to be a tourist attraction at all. Everyone strolls around oblivious to the fact their village is amongst the picturesque walls of this palace. There was not another English speaking person in sight. The paradores had lots of Spanish guests though, and they screwed their noses up at Karl and I in our thongs. They made no attempt to hide it either. Hilarious. 

'football' in the square 

'football' in the square 

We watched some soccer practise in the main square, checked the quality of the local bakery and generally just enjoyed the charm of Olite. Strangely, at dusk, an onslaught of mothers with prams came out of the woodwork. And most of them were fagging on, hanging out in the main square. They looked like cronulla or Palmerston mums, in their track suits and bling, not to mention their 2003 Christina aguilera hairstyles. I didn't take any pictures. They would have bashed me. 

Medieval street

Medieval street