Blogs from Basque Country, Spain, Europe

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Europe » Spain » Basque Country October 16th 2013

We decided to go to Basque country next, We left the cities behind and headed for the mountains. Anna had found the name of some tiny town nestled in the Pyrenees and we spent a day getting there through different connecting buses. While we were waiting for our final bus, the sky opened up. I hadn’t seen it rain for a long time and the cool air and gushing water felt soothing. The sky was electrified with lighting and water started overflowing over all the footpaths and soaking everyone who wasn’t quick enough to get under cover. Our bus ride felt a little hairy, driving on tiny roads overrun with huge puddles while thunder rumbled overhead. It was dark and foreboding when the bus pulled up and announced that we were in Siresa. The bus driver ... read more

Europe » Spain » Basque Country October 10th 2013

Hi a long gap because after writing a long blog before we left Oliva my connection went down and I lost it all We finally left our lovely beach Sophie was very sad but we had had to curtail her walks because she ran so much she became lame. After the storm the seas were dying down but a lot of jelly fish were washed up as big as dinner plates transparent with a violet frill. Any way we set the sat nav and checked the route to make sure it avoided Valencia and it did. We planned to stay at a site in the sierra Prades at 900 mtrs. We followed the directions and were heading towards the Prades but it was not a route I would have chosen. It took us right up into ... read more

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » Orio September 24th 2013

Saturday and Suzy moved out of what I call Spain into the Basque Country. The scenery changed very quickly from yellow scrub land with few trees to more Alpine looking views. Alpine chalets replaced the normal housing and if I hadn’t known where I was I would have sworn I was in either Switzerland or Austria in the Alps. The journey was slow as there were roadworks along the way. Three lanes of the motorway petering out to two and then down to one causing gridlock. Suzy moved at less than 5 miles per hour. The roadsides were covered with heathers which in the intervening weeks since our holiday started have turned deeper purple and the leaves on the trees taken on a more Autumnal look. The greens replaced by vermillion. Our planned stop for the ... read more
The Basque country
The mountain passes in the Basque country

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » Bilbao September 6th 2013

This past weekend I went to Bilbao with my friend Aliyea. Bilbao is a town in the northern part of Spain, in Basque Country. Our adventure began with us taking the Metro at 7am and trying to find our way to the train station. After an interesting ride that involved Aliyea being the target of an attempted robbery (this always happens to her), we finally found ourselves on the train. Ten train stops and a Subway sandwich later, we had arrived in Bilbao. Luckily for me, Aliyea studied at the University of Deusto over this past summer, so she knew her way around. We ended up staying with a woman named Tete (her real name was Teresa), who was the host mom of her friend over the summer. Unexpectedly, Tete fed us lunch. Unlike America, lunch ... read more
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Europe » Spain » Basque Country » San Sebastián August 18th 2013

San Sebastian to Bilbao to Burgos 13 to 17 August 2013 On arriving in San Sebastian we left all the ‘bon jour’ and ‘merci’ behind and entered Spain so now hearing ‘buenos dias’ and ‘gracias’. The Spanish language was a lot more familiar to us after travelling through Sth America for 3 months in 2011 and learning Spanish back in Brisbane. We found a suitable park and rode our bikes into the city centre. Wow, we were struck by the busyness and summer celebrations that were going on in the centre of town. There were people everywhere, listening to the street music, watching the street puppet show, the painter at work and the unusual live statues as well as the clown blowing up balloons. Walking through the narrow streets we also saw peaceful demonstrations for political ... read more
Bilbao in Basque Region Spain (5)
San Sabastian in Basque Region Spain (8)
Bilbao in Basque Region Spain (1)

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Europe » Spain » Basque Country » Bilbao July 23rd 2013

Absolutely massive lightning storm last night, but made for a nice morning - smelled fresh, like rain. Spent the morning mainly down at the Cathedral. And honestly, it was nice, but there was something I just didn't like about it. I can't quite put my finger on it, but mainly it just seemed too nicely put together. Like all of the character had been rubbed out of it, and all the tourists were given this cleanly scrubbed thing on a platter, just to look at, but not touch. There just wasn't any life there - which is ironic considering the church is something like a 1000 years old. Leave things be I say. Not everything is better cleaned up. Lingered in Burgos until around 2ish, when I caught yet another bus North, for the 3 hour ... read more
Looking Up
Very Literal Art
Burgos Dome

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » San Sebastián July 22nd 2013

When I got back home from Seattle, I went straight back to work as there was a lot to do and I had only 1.5 weeks, then headed off for San Sebastian, Spain, for the European Conference on Psychological Assessment. This time, I managed to finish both presentations before heading off for the Congress, so much less stressful . I flew through Frankfurt, where I met Dennis who works with my former employer and is also working on his PhD, to Bilbao, from where we caught a bus to San Sebastian. Our hotel was conveniently located between the university, where the congress would take place, and the beautiful beach. Of course we had dinner outside and not far from the beach. Dennis and I had both signed up for a pre-conference workshop, where we also met ... read more
View towards the Old Town
Monte Igueldo
San Vincente Cathedral

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » Vitoria July 14th 2013

Vitoria is the capital of the Basque Country (Bilbao being the metropolis). Vitoria is only a few hours away from Bilbao and the bus service was frequent. We are told that it is often overlooked by the tourists. That is unfortunate, as it made for a very nice day trip! We took strolls down the old town's center. It actually has two cathedrals; the original one is from the 13th c. (and is, technically, no longer used as cathedral), while the second one is a recent, not yet fully finished, construction. Vitoria would be especially of interest to a visitor who enjoy religious architecture and art. I very much enjoyed the museum of religious art located in the new cathedral, the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art of Álava.... read more
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Europe » Spain » Basque Country » San Sebastián July 12th 2013

San Sebastian is a popular beach and sailing destination, located a few hours away by bus from Bilbao. On the day at which I visited, unfortunately, the sky was overcast. The whole city appeared gloomy and brooding. Still, it was a nice trip. We went for a short boat trip, so that we could appreciate a view of the city from the ocean. The tapas in San Sebastian are well-appreciated for their elaborateness. They are certainly precariously tall! My friend Felix enjoyed them very much. So, it would seem that their reputation holds true! We gave a go to the aquarium. It was quite nice. If you've seen the entry on this blog about Long Beach (California) and about Zaragossa, you know that I am partial to going to the aquarium.... read more
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Europe » Spain » Basque Country » Bilbao July 11th 2013

Ah, Bilbao. Home of the Bilbobus, the Bilboboat, and the Guggenheim museum. We stopped there for the third of this list. It was worth the stop! The architecture of the museum is splendid (and quite photogenic, I would say!). I also enjoyed the collections inside, although they were not quite as nice as the building that hosted them. I am sure that the curators are hard a work here, though! The old town of Bilbao at first looked rather crummy and disappointing, but after some wandering about we did find some ok places. We decided quickly that we would not be spending more than one day in Bilbao, and headed for day trips on the following day to San Sebastian, right on the water, and to Vitoria, the capital. This was my first contact with the ... read more
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