Smurfy Semana Tres: Spain

July 2010, by Gini

North Coast of Spain

It felt like toll after toll, euro after euro and then the tolls became really cheap as the booth guy greeted us with an hola! We were in Spain.

First Spain stop San Sebastian! We took the huge Igeldo hill up to the campsite and were very lucky to get in with a nice spot! we later realized weekends aren't a good time to be moving campsites! it was completo the next night - Lucky! So we set up our little pad and even did our first load of washing! after relinquishing five euro - sting!

The next day was a jam packed day to say the least. Knowing it was only 5km to the city and all downhill we ignored our pleading calves and had a fancy free glide all the way to bottom on our bikes. Greeted with the most beautiful beach I have seen, golden sand, beautiful bodies reflecting on the wet sand as people walked around the perfectly hole punched cove. We resisted the urge to jump into the water straight away and walked up through Monte Urgull Parque to the large statue of Jesus and breathtaking views, we weren't disappointed and now we deserved our much needed swim as temperatures had reached over 30 degrees.

A swim, suncream, sleep, swim, spanish omelette roll, cold beer, swim later we were hungry and in need of some tapas. After a cold but refreshing shower later we left our beach attire with our bikes and took to the cool dark streets in search of food. It didn't take long to start enjoying the little morsels of all sorts of seafood with a small beer or frizzy wine for company. Tapas originated from the once covered beer jugs (to keep bugs among other things out) when food was placed on top of the beer jugs, a few centuries later and we have large plates of tiny bite sized tapas on display to choose from. YUM.

The return cycle wasn't as easy to say the least. We were on our lowest gears and it still wasn't low enough! but we managed to struggle up the hill a kilometer at a time to work off all those tapas. In the morning we took in another view from the theme park on the hill before driving over and out of San Sebastian from our Igeldo hill. Cruising on the freeway in the hot hot sun we pulled off somewhere called Exalde and drove around and around looking for a spare park so we cool ourselves down in the sea. We finally spotted one outside the campsite as it was full. After a dip and a beer in the park while watching what we think were Mexicans and Spaniards partying it up large with extended family we retired for the night to watch True Blood in the parking lot! Not the wild camping we were used to, perhaps more like town camping. With a small car incident the night before we were keen to get going in the morning and drive the nice north coastal route, with blue sea and green bush at every turn.

Llanes had a campsite before the town and was right on the sea front cliff so we parked up and were quickly surrounded by old and new VW vans all with our own views of the ocean. It was a basic camping ground with old school saloon bathroom doors but it was in a prime position. With it's private swimming bay a minute walk past the cute kittens on the baby grottos we enjoyed the warm sun followed by the freezing water. Azrael in our company (the cute adventurous black kitten) evening and morning we relaxed and watched the fishermen do their thing.

The second night we popped into town and sat down at a Sideria and ordered flat cider which came in a simple wooden pump cabinet with a button which pumped the cider from the bottle up and out of a tap into a glass half a metro below. It created a bit of air in the drink and we later found out after the waitress laughed at us that you are only meant to pour a little at a time, as Tom got carried away with the button and nearly finished the whole bottle on the first go! We both didn't really like the cider, it isn't at all sweet like the English cider we came to enjoy, a taste I expect which takes a while to acquire. We even managed to have some sidre cheese by accident! A little odd but tasty after a few slices.

After saying goodbye to Azrael - I did try and sneak her into Smurfy! we continued on the coastal route on and off the highways to the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage destination Santiago de Compostela. We passed a few exhausted camino walkers with iconic seashell hanging from their packs along the way. We relaxed for the rest of day at the campsite with a yummy camp made lunch (yummy bread with no ends!) and met a lovely german couple who also had a VW van with a funky fox on the side who pulled up next to us. The next day we walked into town which was only 2 km away and wandered through town looking for a Yoigi sim card (which had a good deal on data - a Tom thing) oh and the famous Cathedral which thousands of pilgrims flock to every year. The outside was amazing with moss and plants growing from every crack and dark looming gates before you enter the building. The square outside was swarming with christian singing groups, school groups - many people from all different walks of life all here for some sort of spiritual belief. After we passed through the queue and saw the inside which had a lot of gold leaf on every square inch of the alter we stopped at a nice restaurant for a much needed Sangria and octopus - more our kind of belief - fine wine & food.

We really enjoyed the North coast of Spain but the water is quite cold! It had a lot of lovely beaches scattered along the coastal drive where we did manage to stop off a few times for a quick dip. We got on the road quite early (for us) after our week in the North of Spain so we could get to Porto in Portugal in good time. We even managed to see an EU sign marking when we crossed the boarder this time! Portugal here we come!

G
San Sebastian Spain here we come!

San Sebastian Spain here we come!

The biggest beetle we have ever seen!

The biggest beetle we have ever seen!

Gini and beach

Gini and beach

First stop, Tom was only meant to get two for both of us! oops!

First stop, Tom was only meant to get two for both of us! oops!

Sun goes down and we must start the ride home

Sun goes down and we must start the ride home

Our little cove for swimming

Our little cove for swimming

Azrael our kitten for a day

Azrael our kitten for a day

The Cider cabinet

The Cider cabinet

The walk home

The walk home

Back again for more hugs - I want a cat!

Back again for more hugs - I want a cat!

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral gates

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral gates