It would be unfair to compare France to Northern Spain from a tourists view as they are very different. This area is much more underdeveloped and has a wild & craggy coastline.
However it is still easy to pick out a few gems and the first is San Sebastien, where locals & tourists alike after swimming at the city beach or wandering the old quarter go bar hopping at the many Tapas Bars that fill the narrow lanes. It is ‘necesario’ to try a few of the enticing tapas and naturally a sangria or two before moving on to the next tavern.
The next stop was Bilbao which is a large, busy city and I was quite relieved to find out that there was an Aire on the outskirts of town that not only had a magnificent view over the city but the local bus, whose stop was just a few meters away, would take you right into the heart of the old quarter where we could ramble through the old streets and take in the sights.
From here was just a short tram ride to the Guggenheim Museum which not only had some marvellous exhibits (one by Yoko Ono) but was an attraction in it’s own right!
The next day we returned to visit the fine arts museum that was 5 minutes from the Guggenheim and after a full day came back to the motorhome to find my key would not fit in the door, then I realised this was because someone had tried to break the lock. It only takes a split-second to do an inventory in your mind of all the items that are now more than likely gone such as laptops, ipads, cameras, etc. not to mention all my pictures so far. My next move was to try the doors of the cabin and these were still locked so I opened them and slowly entered the living quarters…..everything was an absolute mess……just how we left it!
Good ol’ Norman had defended his honour and kept the blighters out, everything was accounted for. It takes times like this to make you re-think your arrangements when leaving the van, obviously it can’t be avoided completely but you can, with some forethought, minimize the risk.
As neither of us slept very well that night we decided to leave the coast and head inland to the mountains to the beautiful village of Potes.
We based ourselves in the Caravan Park and had some magnificent hikes to a monastery and the local town.
Feeling refreshed after a few days of mountain life we decided to return to the coast and a fishing village called Cudillero (pictured at top of page).
Lonely Planet had recommended trying the fresh seafood on offer at any of the many harbourside restaurants but it was still too early and we had already had happy hour so we decided to do some exploring instead. Once you travel away from the harbour the main road seemed a little dreary so we ventured into one of the narrow laneways that seemed to ascend into the mass of housing behind the facades.
Barely wide enough to walk through these paths took us up into the heart of the village that most tourists would not see. At one point I stopped to catch my breath and admire the rooftops when we met a man who claimed to be a pilgrim from Belgium on his 800km walk to the Spanish town of Santiago (in the following days we would see many of these pilgrims walking along the road, distinguishable by the sea shell they wore on their backs).
After navigating the maze of alleys we finally made it to the top of the hill and found the view you see above as if it was lifted straight from a chocolate box.
It is now time to head south to Portugal so see you next at the home of great port.