Basque Country

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

248 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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  • Day668

    Adios España!

    April 25, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 14 °C

    We toured Spain for just over 100 days from January to April. For a fortnight we volunteered at an organic farm in the Sierra Nevada and for a week we stayed in a villa near Ronda with our friends Cath and Paul.

    Vicky, having spent less than 24 hours here previously, was particularly dubious about what we'd find. Neither of us liked the idea of spending much time in high rise resorts occupied predominantly by sun seeking brits who demand full English breakfasts and a good chippy. Whilst we did find areas like this, they were easy to avoid and we discovered so much more in this beautiful and characterful country.

    We are very fortunate to have been able to spend so much time in one country, but Spain is a big place with very different areas and so we'll just have to do our best to summarise our thoughts on it succinctly!

    So, how will we remember Spain?

    🗑 Things we'll be happy to leave behind:

    Scary speedbumps and huge kerbs - we don't like speedbumps at the best of times but the ones in Spain seemed gargantuan. Unless we slowed down to about 10kph they would scrape the underside of van and flip the back end up, so anything that wasn't bolted down would find itself in mid air!

    Lunch time shutting - although things seemed to get better the longer we spent in the country, Spain's shops has the longest lunch time closing of any we'd so far found in Europe. From noon or just before, the town centre shops remain closed until 5:30pm or later. The large out of town supermarkets are open but we missed the interactions with small shop keepers, because we found it difficult to adjust.

    Parking vs camping - Spain has campsites and it has aires and wild camping spots. You are allowed to camp in campsites and but only park in the others, meaning that in the vast majority of places we stayed, we weren't allowed to leave anything outside, such as chairs, drying clothes, mats, the bike or canoe. It was our choice to avail ourselves of the free accomodation and we can see the sense in the regulations, so did adhere to them (many didn't), but it meant we felt more restricted than in some other countries.

    👍 What got a thumbs up?

    Great bins and recycling - All domestic refuge and recycling is disposed of via communal bins so we were never far from a place we could empty our rubbish. There are also standard bin colours throughout the country, which made things easier for us.

    Free places to stay with free services - we spent a grand total of €74 on parking and services and 60 of this was for 2 nights secure parking in central Barcelona. There were some beautiful wild camping spots and plenty of free areas de autocaravanas whose services remained accessible throught the winter. There were only a few urban areas that were struggling to cope and had 'no van' signs up.

    Good quality roads - having spent last winter in Italy, we were super impressed by the quality of the roads. On the whole they had smooth surfaces, were well layed out and other drivers were reasonable. The low population density meant we often had the highway to ourselves. The only difficulties we encountered were the pull offs used to cross the carriageway (like roundabouts with the main road running through the centre), these were fine once we got used to them. Torrential rain in March also caused road closures and meant you needed to keep your wits about you.

    Eating out - we really enjoyed the tapas culture and it was cheap enough for us to eat and drink out regularly. The food wasn't spectacular like it had been in Italy, but it was tasty and changed with the regions, so there were often new dishes to try. Bars would open from 12noon or 1pm and everywhere gave the option of alcohol free beer, sometimes on tap. Excellent for when you are keeping an eye on your weight and health.

    Access to Nature - Spain has a huge number of national parks, regional parks and natural parks, all with good parking and walking trails. The countryside was beautiful and often stunning. We loved watching the numerous Griffon and Egyptian Vultures, as well as spotting more birds we'd never seen before, including a Wallcreeper and Iberian Magpies.

    Cleanliness - on the whole we found only small amounts of litter and rubbish. Some areas had a problem with dog mess, but we saw a lot of street cleaners and litter pickers in towns and cities and they made a big difference.

    Open throughout winter - in other countries, many shops, attractions and services shut down out of season, but apart from a few hyper touristed areas such as the Costa Brava resorts, places remained open.

    Low population density - where the UK ranks 10th highest of all European countries in terms of population density, Spain comes in at number 34. Sure, there were places like Madrid and along the south coast where the high rises seemed endless, but for the most part it was sparsely populated and very easy to find some rural patch of peace and quiet, even at the beach.

    Fuel costs - we travelled several thousand kilometres in Spain, but it didn't break the bank because on average we paid €1.19 for a litre of diesel. We could have bought it for less, but chose to pay extra at stations with van facilities and those that employed people at the pumps. Spain's youth unemployment is high at 36% and this was one of the ways we contributed to the economy.

    Horse culture - ok, so this was more a thumbs up from Vicky than from Will, but we may well have seen more horses in Spain than in all the other countries we've visited put together! We saw a lot of men riding, as opposed to just women and girls we'd expect to see in other places and many of the horses were of arab descent, making them a joy to watch.

    👀 Overall observations:

    》The weather was mixed while we were in Spain. Although undeniably warmer than in the UK, we had our share of snow, sleet and ice, even experiencing one night at -12.3°C; the coldest temperature of our trip. In March it warmed, but the rains came, causing landslides and road closures. This being said, we still got our fill of southern sun!

    》Before we entered Spain, Will had learned a good amount of Spanish on Duolingo. However, this was Mexican Spanish and the language it is most similar to, Castilian Spanish, wasn't the first language in the regions of Catalonia or Galicia, nor was it the only language in Basque. It was interesting to see the changes, but they often made communication and comprehension more difficult for us.

    》As we left Northern Spain and entered the central band, we were shocked by the vast areas of exposed, dry earth that seemed, to our eyes, almost like desert. Many of the reservoirs we'd seen were well below expected levels and had been for some time. We feared the further south we went the worse it would get, but to our relief the mountains and the change from sea to land brought about more precipitation. The soil type also changed and plants were able to get a foothold. We found the these changes fascinating and thought provoking.

    》The police had more of a presence on motorhome aires here, than in any other country we've visited. The Guardia Civil would often drive by on a morning and evening, noting down number plates and checking on the state of the aire. They were friendly enough and we were never made to feel unwelcome.

    🤔 Our Treasured Memories:
    (In no particular order)

    ☆ City visits: bar nights in Barcelona and Madrid and spontaneous street dancing in the latter. Will fulfilled his ambition of visiting the remarkable Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and we were both captivated by Seville's Alcázar.

    ☆ Stunning Sierra Nevada mountain landscapes covered in almond blossom. Vicky will always remember riding through it!

    ☆ Charming Alpujarran white villages

    ☆ Tapas culture

    ☆ Sand, Sea and yes, Sun. Will got in plenty of swimmimg, snorkelling and even a little surfing.

    ☆ Countryside walks and the wildlife we discovered on them

    If you've managed to get to the end of this lengthy outpouring, well done! As you can probably tell, we think Spain is brilliant. Sure, it has some drawbacks, but these are outnumbered and outweighed by the huge list of wonderful experiences the country has to offer. We felt very relaxed living in the van here and if it wasn't for the impending heat, we would have found ourselves very tempted to stay!
    Gracias España!
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  • Day7

    Drive from Barcelona to San Sebastian

    July 4, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 20 °C

    We hired a car to drive across the north of Spain for the next five days. Three of those will be in San Sebastian and surrounding areas, and the other two will be in Santiago de Compostela.

    The drive from Barcelona to San Sebastian takes about five hours. It is across a range of different territory, from dry flat plains, lush agricultural land, to green forests closer to the northern coast.

    We took a diversion early in the trip to visit the famous monastery in Montserrat. It is located high on the mountains about an hour from Barcelona. The original monastery was founded about 1000AD, but it has been added to and restored ever since. The basilica here houses the famous Black Madonna, which is an icon to which many pilgrimages are made for religious purposes.

    The real attraction of the place is the extraordinary location, perched as it is on the side of a rocky mountain with amazing views all the way to the outskirts of Barcelona. It is a peaceful and awe-inspiring place, no doubt the reason for the monastery being built there in the first place. There are still 70 monks living there, as there has been for centuries, although they were outnumbered by the tourists by 50 to 1 easily when we were there. We could have spent more time there, but the drive was still largely ahead of us so we left after about an hour or so.

    The rest of the drive was only interrupted by a stop for a late lunch. The route took us through Pamplona, where the running of the bulls festival (San Fermino) starts tomorrow.

    We arrived in San Sebastian, located in Basque territory, about 7pm to be greeted by our kind Airbnb host, Gloria, who is a young Spanish girl who owns a very nice apartment in the centre of town, right near the magnificent beach. The beach here in San Sebastian is known to be one of Europe's best and very well patronised by French and British tourists in the summertime.

    Gloria has given us a list of Pixtos (a Basque word for Tapas) to try and which restaurants to find the best ones. They look delicious and we look forward to trying them all.

    The drive through northern Spain took us through some high country, just alongside the Pyrennees mountain range. It was challenging to get used to the left hand drive. On one occasion I instinctively took off into the left lane rather than the right lane and gave some innocent Spanish driver a near-death experience. But generally it was fine. Sam kept his head down most of the time. The speed limit was 120 on most of the freeways and the traffic was travelling at about 130. The roads were fantastic, although they were many toll roads and I had to pay a toll on at least five occasions, which added up to about 30 euros.
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  • Day8


    July 5, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    We are in Basque territory. I had heard of this area before but did not realise what it really meant. The Basque people were displaced when the border between France and Spain was drawn up after the war. The Basque people were just forgotten about. They had lived in their own country in this region for centuries. They have their own language, culture and history. They insist they are not Spanish or Catalonian (another group in Spain wanting their autonomy, centred in Barcelona). The Basque people are proud of their heritage and they live in a semi-autonomous area which bridges France and Spain. San Sebastian is the name General Franco, the Spanish dictator, gave this city, but the Basque people call it Donostia.

    The Basque people have their own version of Tapas. They call it Pintxos (pronounced Pinchos). They are proud of this amazing way of presenting food and the chefs in the Pintxos bars are very competitive. The idea is that customers move from bar to bar, having one or two pintxos from each location. It means that people move up to 12 times to have dinner. The streets of the old city are packed with this crowd every afternoon and night, all seeking the best pintxos. It is amazing to see this take place. It's like the whole city is having a progressive dinner.

    The pintxos are only a couple of euros each, and the variety is extensive. It is difficult to capture the atmosphere in photos but here are a few in an attempt to do so. This finger-food is a fantastic way to provide food for a large number of people. They take the idea to the extreme and the taste combinations are very adventurous - too adventurous for Sam. He couldn't bring himself to try any. He thought the octopus legs and fish eyes were lurking in every pintxos. Sam lacks courage when it comes to trying new foods.
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  • Day8

    San Sebastian

    July 5, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Sam and I set off to explore the beautiful coastal city of San Sebastian. It sits on the Bay of Biscay in the Atlantic Ocean. It faces north and the aspect of the city is magnificent. The beaches in this city are said to be among the best in Europe and, from what I have seen here and elsewhere, I don't doubt it. The beaches have beautiful sand and they are horseshoe-shaped with boats and ships dotting the waterways. There is a shipping harbour and a river that goes out into the sea.

    There is a fort on each headland of the horseshoe shape, and two hills which can be climbed for a splendid view of the city. The views are quite breathtaking. Sam and I spent a few hours exploring and climbing the headland. The fort has areas called batteries, and one of them is called the Battery of Napolean because he took the city of placed his army in the fort. About a decade later the Spanish reclaimed the city in another battle and the French surrendered in that very fort. There is a sign that marks the spot. It is incredible to be walking in the very place where such major historical events took place.

    There is a museum in the fort, and the chapel is in the centre of the fort right on top of the hill.

    This city has about 400,000 inhabitants and it reminds me of Newcastle in terms of size and scale.
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  • Day8

    Atmosphere and Culture

    July 5, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    The atmosphere and history of European cities reached out and grabs you and drags you into its spell. It is captivating to learn about the culture and history of each new people, the Basques being a new people and culture to me. They are respectful and do not behave drunkenly or disorderly. They obviously respect their culture and what it means to their families. All the families seem to work together in their communal projects, including the restaurants and shops.

    The culture here does not revolve around massive shopping centres like it does in Australia. The individual shops are all side by side and provide a specialty and they don't try to do everything.

    The historical buildings are all architecturally attractive and they are preserved carefully. There are a couple of modern buildings that have been architecturally bold, like the concert hall and the museum, but they blend with the old rather than create any dissonance.

    The city is a place where one could spend weeks just getting to know and relaxing into its beauty and charm. Its are pity we only have a couple of days.

    I sat for an hour this afternoon and listened to the best busking violinist I have ever heard. I spoke to her when she concluded her time and she told me in a strong accent that she was Russian and here on two weeks holiday. She was clearly a professional and she confirmed that when I spoke to her. She plays in Russia and teaches older students. Her English was poor but when she played it was like we were in a recital in the Opera House. It was a blessed hour in the town square. Many people were stopping, captivated by the surprising quality from someone merely busking. Hundreds of people walking past felt compelled to dig into their wallets to put money into her violin case. How could you not?
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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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  • Day666

    Listorreta, last day in Spain!

    April 23, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    It had been a long day, but the sight of the parking place at Listorreta lifted our spirits. Set in a Natural Park the rest area with a 2 place van aire was a green haven, surrounded by oak, ash, elder and hazel all bursting forth with bright new Spring leaves. A central meadow area sat behind a wooden post fence, speckled with buttercups and an array of other wildflowers. Picnic benches and brick bbq areas were provided and used by a trickle of people during our stay. What a lovely peaceful place to spend our last few nights in Spain!

    There were plenty of walks in the surrounding woodland (a beautiful black horse came along one of them each evening to canter in the meadow). We'd planned to do a hike but late on our first morning, a British van pulled up and we met Sandie. Sandie had retired and together with her old Springer Spaniel Rosie, they'd been travelling in the van for a year. We made coffee and tea and sat out on one of the picnic benches putting the world to rights. Rosie was deaf and fairly blind and we were really pleased that Poppy got on well with her, even having the confidence lay down in the long grass and enjoy the sunshine.

    Sandie was very easy to talk to and we got on so well that we occupied the picnic table again in the afternoon- this time with red wine, sangria and strawberries. When comparing motorhoming experiences we found she had written a book: 'A Blonde, a Dog and a Motorhome'.

    Although it wasn't what we had planned, it was a fitting and enjoyble end to our time in Spain/ beginning of our journey home, to be sitting in a meadow surrounded by familiar woodland trees and chatting to a friendly Brit. It seemed even more fitting that overnight it began to rain and a steady drizzle persisted as we filled, emptied and said goodbye to Sandie, who was also making her way towards the UK, although over the course of a month instead of a week like us.
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  • Day55

    Donostia-San Sebastian

    October 27, 2016 in Spain ⋅ 🌫 57 °F

    Although it was a 5 hour train journey from Barcelona, we decided to go to Donostia-San Sebastián in northern Spain to get a taste of the Basque culture which is very unique. The Basque people actually at one point wanted to be independent from Spain (like many regions in Spain) and continue to retain their identity with their own language, traditions and more importantly food! This is also why this city has two given names: Donostia in Basque and San Sebastián in Spanish.

    This region is well known for it's culinary expertise. We enjoyed going to typical Pintxos (pronounced Pinchos) bars where a wide array of tapas would be displayed to choose from. The selections are heavily focused on seafood as San Sebastián is located on the coast but you can also find some good meat as well. We enjoyed trying both hot and cold Pintxos like veal cheeks, octopus, and sea urchin to name a few. Everything we ate was so unique and different and definitely very fresh!

    San Sebastián reminded us a lot of California with its beaches, surfers and chill atmosphere. It was a nice stop to explore this unique region in Spain and we highly recommend it for any foodies.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Euskal Autonomia Erkidegoa, Baskenland, Basque Country, País Basc, País Vasco, Euskadi, Pays Basque, Paesi Baschi, パイス・バスコ, 바스크 지방, Baskarland, Baskerland, Страна Басков, Baskien

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