The apartment is in the old part of the city and is literally at the back of what, to me, is one of the most striking, and slightly perplexing, churches in Zaragoza. Iglesia Parroquinial de Santa Maria Magdalena is of the Gothic-Mudejar style of architecture and was built between the 13thand 14th Centuries. The Mudejar element of this style of architecture is decidedly Islamic. Which is to be expected given the Muslim invasion and occupation of Spain between 711 and 1492. The outside of the building is covered in classically Islamic tiles. But it’s the symbols on these tiles which perplexed me a little bit. There are crosses and crescent moons. Again, to be expected given the cross pollination between the Islamic invaders and the Christian indigenous population. However, it’s the profusion of octagrams  which I found odd. Their overall geometry reminds me very much of the Star of David. Maybe that’s just my imagination. Maybe I shouldn’t see that as odd because, Christianity and Islam both stand squarely on the shoulders of Judaism.

There are a few churches in Zaragoza with this type of architecture and adornments. Perhaps the most prominent and well known example is Iglesia de San Pablo. An amazing looking church.

I’ve spent my first two days in Zaragoza generally exploring the city, especially the La Magdalena district where I’m staying. I really like the vibe of this district. It’s full of quirky little shops and bars. From Flamingos Vintage clothing store, to a tiny workshop that I found where an old woman sits and weaves, entirely by hand and seemingly on her own, a multitude of traditional baskets and other home products made from reeds. Watching her at work reminded me of my Pappou Pavlo who did the same thing for much of his life.

Flamingos Vintage on Plaza de Ignacio Jordan Asso

And then there’s Entalto, the café/bar literally across the street from where I’m staying on Calle Mayor. It’s run entirely by women, all of whom are festooned with tattoos. The regular customers are an eclectic bunch to say the least. Many are fashionable hipsters but, probably outnumbering the hipsters, look like they could be homeless. They’re not homeless (at least, I don’t think that they are) but they could be. It’s an awesome atmosphere with ongoing chess games out on the street terrace, usually played by the patrons who look like they could be homeless. The food is an amazing mix of tapas, platos and cakes. All utterly delicious.

The very cool entrance to Entalto on Calle Mayor
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