Spain
Biscay

Here you’ll find travel reports about Biscay. Discover travel destinations in Spain of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

146 travelers at this place:

  • Day963

    Over the Pyrenees to Elorrio, España!

    February 14 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Ahh, España! We are sitting on a wooden bench just a little way down the hill from Martha, overlooking a grassy bank and the white, salmon and ochre painted apartments of Ellorio. It's a well kept area and the sounds of school children playing waft through the air. A gentle breeze is the only thing stopping us from taking our jumpers off and Vicky is even going so far as to bare her legs in a skirt because the sky is clear and sunny and at 18°C it feels warm!

    We are glad to be able to relax as the 150km drive over the Pyrenees wasn't the easiest. With a ferry to catch from Santander in a few days, our time in France had come to an end, so with Will at the wheel and Vicky co-piloting, we left our rural riverside picnic area. Before long we hit the built up environs of industrial looking Bayonne, then seamlessly passed into hectic Biaritz. After this we climbed through the hills to touristy looking Bidart. It was from amongst this white walled resort that we had our first glimpse of the huge Atlantic rollers that attract so many surfers. The Pyranees were still just a distant outline as we left behind the high end surf shacks, signs for Rip Curl and Quicksilver and the boards strapped atop roofracks. Dual language road signs were a good indication we'd entered the Basque region of France, but we concentrated hard on what the sat nav (Aunty Satya) was telling us, not wanting to take the wrong exit at any of the gazillion roundabouts. Will managed to pull over at a roadside boulangerie and pick up our last French stick, returning to the van with the piping hot baguette wrapped in a twist of paper.

    Part way through the town of Irun, Satya announced that we were in Spain and sure enough the language on the signs had changed and little red polka dot flamenco dresses were hanging on rails outside shops. There was no noticeable border, not even the EU symbol announcing entry to a new country. The roads were good and the fuel stations busy, as people took advantage of the lower prices in Spain. During the course of the morning, we'd slowly been nudging the van's blower from hot to cold. By now it was as cool as it would get as the outside temperature had reached 21°C!

    The Pyrenees had been looming gradually larger on the horizon. We began to snake up hillsides and follow the course of rivers to avoid the worst of the climbs. Our ears popped repeatedly as the green hills ahead made it look like we'd soon be surrounded by countryside, but their interlocking bases disguised the meandering ribbon of development following the valley floor.

    As we were overtaken by a motorhome with a hazard plate over their bicycle, it jogged Will's memory and he realised we needed to fit ours in order to comply with Spanish regulations. Luckily we still had it set up from when we'd toured Spain this time last year, so it didn't take too long to get it in place once we'd found somewhere to pull over. It was getting on lunch time so we found a fuel station a bit further on and after topping up with LPG and having the attendent fill our diesel tank, we settled down to a quick van lunch before getting underway again.

    The route wasn't straightforward, with rarely as much as 10km between roundabouts, exits and turnings. Finally we dropped down the other side of the mountains into Antzuola where we were greeted with the comfortable sight of clothes drying on lines strung within the integral balconies of multistorey apartment blocks. It just wasn't something we'd seen much of in France. Intermixed with towns were huge industrial units, but also some signs of the countryside like the shepherd sitting on the crash barrier watching his small flock graze a lush field.

    Finally, signs guided us to the free motorhome aire in Elorrio. While we sat in the cab, looking out on the open aspect of low rise blocks with a part forested hill behind, we felt relieved and elated that we'd made it. After a cuppa and some choux pastry treats Will had bought for Valentine's Day, we sat out on the bench together, taking in the different language of the occasional person who passed. After a while, Will (who still had energy), went off to explore the town. We've become used to French opening hours but as he wandered past the closed shutters of shops on the quiet, paved streets, he realised it would take more than a few days to adjust to the Spanish siesta! A few bars were open within the ochre hued buildings, but he managed to resist, knowing there was some bubbly chilling in the van fridge for later that evening.
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  • Day964

    Elorrio, Day 2

    February 15 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 11 °C

    Day 2 at Ellorio dawned clear and bright. Night time temperatures hadn't even dropped to single figures so our heating soon clicked off once the sun rose above the hill. We enjoyed a slow start to the day, leaving our coats behind and wandering down to town around half ten.

    Locals went about their morning business, but the wide, pedestrian streets were in no way crowded. We mooched around the Chinese bazaar that sold tools, tea towels and everything in between. These businesses had been a real fixture on our 3 month tour of Spain last year. A few shops spilled out onto the pavement with a stall or two of goods but most were content to let customers come to them. We passed a fruit shop, butchers, fishmongers, a hardware and a few clothes shops whilst looking for the tourist information office, where we could get tokens for the van service point. Our Spanish is very rusty so we were glad when the attendant spoke reasonably good English, despite the main foreign language here being French. As well as the free tokens, they gave us a map of the surrounding area, pointing out a nearby medieval burial site and a rural walk we might like to explore. We asked about restaurants that may offer vegetarian food and they pointed out several eateries where we could enquire, but no specific recommendations were allowed.

    Arriving at Xara (the smallest of the three establishments) a friendly husband and wife team had set up tables outside and a mouth watering array of pintxos (Basque tapas) on the bar. They said they only had one veg dish and recommended the larger restaurants round the corner. We scouted these out but being before 1pm, they weren't yet into the swing of lunchtime and lacked the character and warmth of Xara's, so we returned. As is customary in Basque country, all tapas came with bread. The chef cooked Vicky a special plate of tempura peppers and pointed out the counter top tapas that hadn't got meat, including the ones with ham, because jamon isn't really meat is it?! We sat in the sun with our plates, rioja for Will and an Amstel for Vicky- bliss!

    After nipping back to the van for sunscreen and a bottle of water, we began the walk to find the necropolis. Leaving the town behind on a country lane we heard rustles in piles of dry leaves and soom spotted Italian Wall Lizards sunbathing on a dry stone wall. Argiñeta Necropolis sat on a grassy slope beside San Adrián hermitage; a humble sandstone building with an overreaching terracotta roof, providing shade around the perimeter. The site was low key, with no signs or information boards. A rectangular border of gravestone shaped slabs enclosed 21 aligned sarcophagi, five of them with headstones called stelae. These were replicas but the 13 originals could be seen within the hermitage, by peaking through an iron grating covering a small cutout in the solid, dark wood door. The site is thought to have come into being between the 7th and 9th centuries and the carvings on the stellae are thought to be the oldest examples of Christian inscription in the area, perhaps even the whole Basque country. We were the only ones there and loved being able to explore this peaceful site.

    Back home we took advantage of the warm sun behind the van to apply the second of our VnWTravels decals. We really enjoy writing this blog and creating content for our YouTube channel and Facebook page so we wanted to add our name to the van to make it stand out and hopefully reach more people (even though we are half expecting ranting messages from drivers unlucky enough to have been stuck behind us!)

    The evening was spent watching locals exercise their dogs on the grass bank. Vicky was so happy to have been well enough to get out and explore today. Part of the reason we are returning to the UK is for a procedure that will hopefully improve her health so she can really make the most of our travels!

    On the last morning, she nipped down to Elorrio to fetch bread, passing individuals and pairs carrying mops, buckets, brooms, dustpans and feather dusters, who seemed to be congregating at a hall, perhaps for some big community cleanup. We enjoy seeing gimpses of local life such as this, but most of the time view it through the lens of everyday. Normalising it is perhaps a coping mechanism, because as Vicky walked along past the rustic Spanish townhouses, a sense of enormity about where we were and what we were doing hit her. The excitement and privilage of being able to see this as an everyday experience was overwhelming. Life on the road isn't for everyone, but we really love and appreciate being able to do what we are doing right now.
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  • Day666

    Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Basque

    April 23, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    The last thing on our 'to do' list was a visit to the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. Heading towards this northern city we entered Basque country. Many of the road signs became dual language; Basque contained a lot of 'Z's and 'X's and most wasn't similar enough to Spanish for us to be able to understand it. As well as the language, the terrain had also changed. Steep peaks rose to the skies, many of the summits shrouded in cloud, giving them an air of mystique, like something out of Lord of the Rings.

    Will had done his research and instead of driving into the centre of Bilbao, we made a beeline for the free street parking at the top of the hill, a short walk from the funicular railway station. €6.50 got us two return trips into the heart of the city. The railway had been running for more than a century and was mostly comprised of a single track, with a short section for the carriages to pass in the middle. We were the first on and got to choose the front cabin with a great view of the sheer track leading under an arched bridge to the city below.

    Stepping out into central Bilbao, we were immediately struck by the architectural details on the buildings; fretwork, tiles and colour all added interest. Several bars stood near the station and Laidatxu caught our attention because of the clearly displayed tapas options and prices chalked on a blackboard outside. Tapas (or pintxos as they are known in the Basque region) were layed out on the bar for you to choose. It would have been impossible for a celiac because almost every one contained bread. There were a range of small sandwiches made up of sliced bread or baguettes as well as croquettes on bread and spanish tortillas on bread. We chose 3 each and took them outside with our alcohol free beers. It had been raining and wasn't warm, but we found some dry chairs under a parasol on the pavement and enjoyed watching the world go by. Our menu included strawberries in white chocolate sauce and coffee for desert, all for a total of €14!

    Very pleased with our lunch, we set off towards the river. We often find the density of people and traffic in cities stressful, but at this moment Bilbao's streets were pleasantly uncrowded. The daylight was dull, but we still had to stop and admire the Zubizuri tied arch footbridge. Zubizuri is Basque for 'white bridge' and its painted cables rising up from the sides of the walkway were certainly a striking feature.

    Crossing over, we walked north east along the bank towards the second artfully designed bridge; La Salve, a tall, suspension, road bridge, at the foot of which was the Museo Guggenheim! The steel plated structure changed in appearance as we drew closer and our perspective of it was altered. Nonetheless, from whichever angle it was viewed, its multi-layered curved sides made for an impressive sight. Will commented that it was the most stunning art exhibit he had ever seen. We knew before we arrived that it wasn't open on Mondays, but as we were more interested in the external architecture, the absence of people queuing outside was actually an advantage. Several open air works of art were visible, including Maman, the giant copper spider arched protectively over the egg sack on the underside of her belly. Ainish Kapoor's Tall Tree & The Eye held our attention as we crossed the low paved footbridge running between the river and a still pool in which the sculpture of 73 reflective spheres was standing on its plinth. Edging round to view different spheres, we found one that showed ourselves in the centre, surrounded by a border of other balls.

    By far Vicky's favourite outdoor exhibit was Puppy, by Jeff Koons, or El Poop as he is affectionately known by locals (the art piece, not the artist). Puppy is a 40ft West Highland Terrier pup made out of thousands of flowering plants! He had moved around different places before the Bilbaoiños decided they wanted to keep him - who wouldn't!

    We spent some time walking around the Guggenheim, even climbing the steps to La Salve to view it from above. It is said to be partly modelled on a ship and this element is definitely best seen from the bridge. We even got to watch the artificial mist being produced and spreading over the calm pool at the foot of the museum. The day had begun to hot up as we made our way back. We picked up some groceries from a fruteria shop near the cable car and scanned our barcoded tickets as we pushed through the turnstile at the little one track station. The car was full of kids this time round, so we and a number of other adults huddled in the end cab, giving us a rewind of the views we'd had of Bilbao that morning. Although we could have stayed in the street, we decided to drive on so that we could relax for two nights in one place, before our journey through France.
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  • Day6

    Bilbao: Casco Viejo

    March 14 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Zurück haben wir das Tram genommen und haben uns noch im alten Viertel (Casco Viejo) umgesehen. Teilweise enge, düstere Gassen und ein paar Meter weiter wieder ein Platz mit Kirche. Die Läden hier haben ganz unterschiedliche Öffnungszeiten. Mal bis 14.00 Uhr und dann wieder ab 17.00 Uhr. Ander schliessen um 16.00 Uhr und öffnen erst um 19.30 Uhr. Da komme einer draus 🤔.
    Bevor es nach "hause" geht mal was für den z'Nacht eingekauft, was gar nicht so einfach ist. Unterwegs hatten wir den letzten grösseren Supermarkt (wo auch Womos drauf kommen) in Frankreich gesehen. Hier in Espania noch keinen entdeckt. Nun dank Dr. Google haben wir hier wenigstens einen kleinen Carrefour gefunden. Dafür hatte es heute in der Stadt alle paar 100 Meter eine Bäckerrei. Leben die hier von Brot und .... ?
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  • Day7

    Portugalete

    March 15 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    In Portugalte hat uns ein älterer spanischer Herr (mit Gehhilfe) angesprochen und uns versucht etwas zu erklären. Als er merkte, dass wir ihn nicht verstehen, hat er uns einfach mit genommen und genau gezeigt wo Dominik sich hinstellen und das ich mich zu ihm (dem Herrn) stellen soll. Dominik soll ein Foto machen. Danach nahm er Dominik die Kamera ab und hat ebenfalls ein Foto gemacht. Jetzt mussten wir die Bilder vergleichen. Bei seinem war die Brücke gerade auf dem Bild und er hat sich diebisch gefreut. Danach hat er sich 2 junge Frauen geschnappt und das gleiche Spiel wieder gemacht. 😂😂.Read more

  • Day7

    Auf der Brücke

    March 15 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Wie meistens auf unseren Reisen wird ein Unesco Kulturerbe oder ein Industrielles Kulturgut besichtigt. Dieses Mal ist es die Schwebefähre in Portugalete. Die Pfeiler sind 60 Meter hoch. Mit dem Lift wird man 50 Meter hochgefahren und kann dann die Brücke überqueren. Schon ein mulmiges Gefühl, da man zwischen den Holzbohlen nach unten sieht. Auch die Vibrationen sind zuspüren, wenn die Fähre unter einem Durchfährt.
    Natürlich sind wir auch noch mit der Fähre über den Fluss geschwebt.
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  • Day6

    Bilbao: Guggenheimmusem

    March 14 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    Wollte schon seit ewiger Zeit mal ein Guggenheimmuseum besuchen. Die spezielle Architektur und auch die Ausstellung hat es mir angetan. Der arme Dominik musste da jetzt durch. Dafür hatte er aussen viel zum Fotografieren. Innen war das Forografieren mit Kamera nicht erlaubt - nur Handy.
    Dafür konnte ich nun endlich auch mal einen echten Picasso, Van Gogh und andere "alte" Künstler in Echt sehen.Read more

  • Day6

    Bilbao: entlang des Ria del Narviôn

    March 14 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    Heute vom Platz aus direkt mit dem Bilbobus ins Zentrum gefahren. Fahrdauer ca. 20 min für 1.35 Euro. Wir haben jedoch den Bilbaopass für 2 Tage gelöst (15.00 Euro). So sind wir nicht darauf angewiesen Spanisch zu sprechen und die Haltestellen auszusprechen. Wie z. B: Mintegixueta 😋.
    Da unsere Linie gem. Plan eine Rundstrecke ist, wollten wir einfach am Ende der Strecke sitzen bleiben und noch 2 Haltestellen weiter fahren. Eine freundliche Dame hat uns dann erklärt, dass wir aussteigen müssen. Der Bus fährt nicht sofort weiter. Dann hat die Dame uns "bei der Hand genommen" und uns auf Englisch erklärt, wie wir zum Fluss kommen.
    Zuerst sind wir geradewegs in die längste überdachte Markthalle von Europa (gem Werbung) gestolpert. Fische, Fleisch und Früchte auf 2 Etagen.
    Nachher gings dem Fluss entlang. Schon bei der Fahrt in die Stadt ist uns aufgefallen, dass es bei den meisten Plätzen auch immer ein Spielplatz hat und dieser auch rege genutzt wird . Einen speziellen für die Fitness hatte es auch. Da wurde ganz ohne Scheu vor sich hin geradelt.
    Und Brücken hat es hier. So viele auf der kurzer Strecke kenne ich sonst fast nur aus Venedig.
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  • Day7

    Bahnhof

    March 15 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Zurück in Bilbao noch den Bahnhof besichtigt. Bis auf das Fenster kein grossartiges Gebäude.

    Etwas muss ich aber noch erwähnen: Die öffentlichen Verkehrsmittel, ob Bus Tram oder Verkehrsmittel sind so was von sauber. Das habe ich noch nie gesehen und ich war doch schon in etlichen Verkehrsmittel unterwegs.
    Auch die Strassen und Plätze, kaum ein Papier noch ein Zigarettenstummel ersichtlich. Auch wenn die Häuser teilweise etwas heruntergekommen wirken, es ist nie schmuddelig.

    Die Stadt ist wirklich empfehlens wert.

    Mit früher Nachtruhe wird es heute nichts.
    Heute Abend haben wir ein gratis Konzert 😋. Die 21 Pilots dpielen ab 21.00 Uhr im Exebition Center. Wir sehen zwar nicht ins Stadion hinein, aber der Soundcheck war gut zu hören😖.
    Also Ohrstöpsel rein zum Schlafen.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Bizkaia, Biscaya, Biscay, Biskaje, Bizcaya, بيسكاي, Província de Biscaia, Biskaia, Μπισκάγια, Provinco Biskajo, Vizcaya, Viscaya, استان بیسکای, Biskaja, Biscaye, Biscaia, Biscaglia, ビスカヤ, ბისკაია, Бискайя, 비스카야 주, Бискай, Provinsia de Vizkaya, Biskajos provincija, Biskajas province, Provincia Vizcaya, Biscagghia, Vizcaya eanangoddi, Mkoa wa Vizcaya, จังหวัดบิซกายา, Biskay, Біскайя, بیسکای, ბისკაიაშ პროვინცია, 比斯開省

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