And so……. just like that, we are in Spain!!! No fanfare on arrival, no Passport Control, just a mediocre toll gate. I feel there should be more fuss! It’s a bit of an anticlimax really.
It was a shame to miss our usual stop at Urugne, St. Jean de Luz. The Larouletta Campsite is always a good place to recharge and do a bit of laundry (domestic detention). St. Jean is a great introduction to Basque Country. A perfect cross between France and Spain. The shopping is good here, some very stylish boutiques. The food has a real rustic, charm. It’s hearty and based around whatever seasonal fresh local organic produce is available, meat, fish and vegetables. The simple dishes are always beautifully cooked, honest, wholesome and tasty. I love the Basque style of cooking. St. Jean de Luz, a short bus ride away from the campsite, is a superb place to visit. We are missing it out this trip but don’t if you can help it, it’s really well worth a couple of nights. The contrast of the beautiful turquoise watered harbour with the purple mountainous backdrop of the Pyrenees is really quite special. The days are cold in the morning and hot in the afternoon. You need a change of wardrobe halfway through the day!
Our first stop this trip is well over the Border and into Spain, San Sebastián. A very firm favourite. The Pinxtos Capital (Basque style Tapas). I look forward to our annual visits very muchly.
Tapas or Pinxtos as they are known here are not just a casual nibble with a drink, they are more of an art form. The more upmarket the bar the more elaborate the Pinxtos. It’s quite a spectacle to see row upon rack of these little gastronomic wonders piled up in every bar and bodega, just waiting for you to grab a plate and dive right in. Hot ones, cold ones, fish, meat,cheese, whatever. Fill your boots and feast with a large Carafe of Vino Tinto de la Casa, Crianza, Rioja, whatever your pleasure. There’s something to suit everyone’s palate. I am in Tapas heaven!!
We use the Aire by the University in San Seb. It’s a short walk to the sea front and has a doggie friendly sandy beach for Dylan. The crescent shaped bay of Playa de la Concha is really lovely. Best seen at low tide. The small harbour, Aquarium and old town are at the far end. It’s a decent walk from the Aire but very flat and the scenery takes your mind off the distance. Just beware of the dedicated cycle paths. They are lethal, I nearly get taken out every time I come here. The cyclists hurtle around faster than the cars.
The historic centre of the City, Casco Viejo is delightful. Try and see it by day and by night if you can. The old town sits below the towering headland of Mont Urgull topped by the Castillo de la Mota and it’s massive statue of Christ. The castle is now a museum. The old town with its narrow streets, arches and squares is very charming. The Baroque facade of the Basilica de Santa Maria is quite a surprise tucked between the side streets. At the heart of the Casa Viejo is the handsome square, Plaza de la Constitucion which served as a bullring back in the day. The new part of town is to the south of the city, Centro as its known. There are still a few interesting buildings here and of course, the shops but believe it or not, I stay away as I prefer the character of the old part.
At night, the town comes alive. The old buildings are beautifully lit. The heaving bars spill out onto the streets. The place is full of music and incessant chatter and well, life! We pulled on our togs and ventured out for a Tapas adventure.
You don’t realise what’s going on out there when you’re tucked up in bed with a book! We had a great date night out on the town then wandered back to the van, slightly worse for wine, one step forward and two back.
The weather next morning was grey and cloudy and considerably cooler. Just as forecast. We decided not to hang around. May as well put some miles in. It’s such a shame not to explore more of the north coast as we started to do last year. It’s rugged and very beautiful. Plenty to see. No point if it’s raining and cold though and that’s basically what the app says it’s going to do. And so we head off once again, over the mountains in search of the sun!
I’ll let you know where we end up when we land!! Just hope they have a washing machine!! The joys of life on the road!
TTFN chums. Have a great day wherever you are and safe driving to our fellow travellers who are hot on our heels. Remember the planned blockades in France on the 17th of November.
Peace and love ❤️