Blogs from Basque Country, Spain, Europe

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Europe » Spain » Basque Country » San Sebastián July 7th 2014

Right after the week of my disputation I was at a conference in San Sebastián, the 9th Conference of the International Test Commission (ITC). We had four poster presentations there, two of the posters I had to design. I did that just in time, prepared them on Sunday evening after getting back from the Karl-May-Festspiele in Bad Segeberg, took them – with Achim and Richard’s posters – to the copy shop on Monday morning on my way to work, and picked them up on my way to the airport on Tuesday morning. Richard and I arrived in Bilbao on Tuesday evening and met our Swedish colleague Mats at the airport. From there we caught the shuttle bus to San Sebastián, the journey took a bit over an hour. The weather was horrible, it was raining and ... read more
San Sebastián beach II
San Sebastián city centre
Palacio Miramar

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » San Sebastián June 17th 2014

We started out very early as we had to walk a few blocks to the Maria Christina Hotel to meet our guide at 8am for an all day Rioja wine tour. Our guide from San Sebastián foods was Lourdes and the driver was Pedro. Our group included a young couple from Australia and a gal from Cleveland. Off we went in a large Mercedes Benz van on our discovery journey of Rioja wines. We drove about 1.5 hours through countryside that varied from reminding us of Colorado with the rolling hills by Genesee; to some pretty good sized mountains to vineyards as far as the eye can see. Very beautiful and as much as we dislike long coach rides while on holiday, this was really enjoyable. We arrived at our first vineyard of the day, Muga ... read more
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Europe » Spain » Basque Country » San Sebastián June 16th 2014

Another magnificent day. We awoke and immediately pulled the curtains to enjoy the sea view of this beautiful bay. There was a lot of activity going on early in the a.m. A street sweeper/washer was cleaning the boardwalk and a large piece of machinery was combing the sand (remember space balls movie where they were combing the desert!). The tide is really varied here as in the early a.m. it was very high and minimized the size of the beach as the waves splashed up towards the sea wall. By noon, the tide was so low that it was out away from the sea wall about 100 feet. We ate lunch at La Perla right on the boardwalk and enjoyed 2 glasses wine with lunch and the waitress told us that by 3-4pm the tide would ... read more
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Europe » Spain » Basque Country » San Sebastián June 15th 2014

We arose early so we could eat breakfast before we had to have our bags outside our cabin for the crew to take them to the staging area. Katell arranged for a cab at 9am to take us to the bordeaux st jean gare (train) station. He dropped us right at the car rental side of the station. Unfortunately it's Sunday and they open at 10am so we had to stand outside and wait. I was annoyed we were so early but by 9:30 there were probably 30 people in line and we were #2. All thanks to Jim wanting to be there early, Yeah, so glad he insisted we get there early. The agent gave us a really nice Opal SUV and to top it off the numbers on the license plate is 077!!! That's ... read more
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Europe » Spain » Basque Country June 8th 2014

June 8 - Zubiri to Pamplona We learned a bit more about the daily lives of Spanish families in this region. It appears customary to shut everything down in the heat of the day (I imagine siestas are still the norm) - around 2 pm and open up again at 5. The towns come to life at night - as do the children. We were not kept awake last night by snoring and other bodily utterances, washroom visits or backpack reorgs of our fellow pilgrims - it was children playing outside our window until 12 am - their screams of joy and pain only interrupted by the louder threats from their moms (I'm assuming) to play fair. Tanya and I both love the fact Spanish children play outside a lot - I doubt the vast majority ... read more
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Europe » Spain » Basque Country » Bilbao May 18th 2014

I'm going to write this very quikcly - I'm on the hostel's laptop... For the first time all week, I had a lie-in! Bliss... I still woke up around 10am though, which meant I got to see Will when he came by. He was off to a rugby match with Fernando (who I'm not entirely convinced came home last night), but Fernando had left his wallet at home. Had a very quick goodbye, and then a fairly quick breakfast. The number of children had tripled... As well as Raquel and Victoria, their two cousins and some friends were over. I think there were 7 kids, all under the age of 8 (that's a guess). I very quickly ran away to pack, though I didn't know when I was going - there were buses every hour, and ... read more

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » Bilbao May 11th 2014

So, I'm in Spain! After a rather long wait in Heathrow (I knew we were delayed before the ground staff...), I was on a flight to Spain! Since Vueling is a Spanish company, all the flight announcements were done in Spanish... Good for me to practice, but bad for the Aussie sat behind me! (Lovely guy, told me he'd just spent a few days on Skye. Did say he'd seen it by bus though. Hopefully not Haggis Backpackers!) Anyway, we landed and I only had a little trouble findings the bus into town. Slightly harder was finding the hostel at 11.30pm! Eventually I found it, and went straight to bed after being shown around. Unfortunately, I did not go straight to sleep - there was someone in the bed beside mine who would not stop snoring!!! ... read more
El Metro!
The Transporter Bridge
The gondola...

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




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