Subject: Jaca and Skiing
Hi, John. I had a list somewhere with URLīs related to the Spanish Pyrenees, but it seems to have gotten lost. I think that in my original e-mail there were a couple of them. http://www.PIRINEOS.COM is a good beginning, although sometimes I find it awkward, you have to know what are you looking for.

Jaca is located at the north of Aragon, in the Jacetania region. When the Reconquista began, back in the 8th century, there were two very small kingdoms that were facing the muslim invaders: Asturias in the West and Aragon in the East, and thatīs the Jacetania region.

There are many romanic churches all around the region, a beautiful romanesque 12th century castle around 1.30 hours driving from Jaca, Loarre (leave for another visit, it really deserves that, quite big, you can wander all around it, and on top of that, itīs free), and the cathedral.

The Way of Saint James comes into Spain through two main places. The most famous is Roncesvalles, in Navarra, and the other one is the mountain pass of Somport. Just there are located two of the ski resorts I mentioned, Astún and Candanchú, and the french nordic ski resort of Somport. It goes down along the river Aragon valley, through the village of Canfranc (pity for the magnificent and Twenties railway station, although the hotel is going to be remodelled) and Biescas into Jaca.

There is always a lot of things going on around Jaca, during winter due to the snow sports and during summer due to the many opportunities to go up the mountains, wandering, hiking, mountain-bike.

The good thing about Jaca is that they donīt rely only on the skiers for their living, and they have kept a distinctive flavour. The military guarnition is quite important in Jaca, and many of its members have been in humanitary missions around the world, specially in Bosnia and Kosovo.

I should send you a list with the hotels, Iīll try to find it. My friends say that the Hotel Conde Aznar is good. Itīs small, not expensive and they have a good breakfast for skiing, although the bathrooms are small. I like a lot a restaurant called Meson Serrablo, good portions, fine salads and good price, and good service. I think thatīs the most important part in a restaurant. There is also a restaurant made as a basque ciderhouse, Casa Paco, very good cider, omelettes and steaks.

If I go there one of these weekends, Iīll go to the tourist office and pick up a few broschures to write more about it. I promise.

Have a nice weekend, everyone Covadonga, in Bilbao (Spain)