Basque-ing in the sunshine!

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November 2nd 2012
Published: November 12th 2012
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Getxo windmillGetxo windmillGetxo windmill

Now a restaurant
Our weekend in Bilbao was a bit of a damp squib! That's for the next blog though!! For now, we'd like to tell you about our sunny day on the Basque coast in Getxo, just 20 minutes outside of Bilbao on the Metro.

In our hotel we had picked up a touristy card which told us about an old harbour in Getxo. There wasn't a lot more information but we thought we would go out and have a look, especially as the rainclouds had parted and let the sun out to play. It was also an excuse to see what the Bilbao Metro was like. We had breakfast near the large Moyua roundabout and then ventured down the escalator into the underground world of public transport.

To our horror there was no station called Getxo! We took a gamble and bought a return ticket to Bidezabal which, coincidentally, was the last stop on the next train to depart. Before long the train emerged from the dark and sunglasses were needed again. Note to self - when leaving the train don't leave your baseball cap on your seat. Some local resident is now the proud (?) owner of some Brighton & Hove Albion memorabilia!!

When we got off the train we had no idea where we were going. Sometimes those days turn out to be the best ones. We could see the sea so we headed downhill towards the water. On reaching the shore we had to decided whether to turn left or right. We chose right and were soon walking up to the cliff tops and the nearby windmill. It was a bit breezy to say the least but the sun was shining and the paths are wide and well made. The windmill is quite impressive but we imagine the restaurant prices are a little too high for us. It just looked that sort of place.

A little further up the hill are some old ruins. The gates are closed and the tower is shamefully covered in graffiti. It's a pity as we would have liked to explore further. Instead we continued past the lighthouse to the mouth of Getxo estuary. The views were wonderful. The big problem for us was knowing whether or not to continue! We decided not to follow the path further around the golf course and so we retraced our steps back to where we had started.

That turned out to be the correct move! Had we turned left initially we would have missed the wonderful coastline. Now we went that way and found our way through a housing estate. The path eventually led to a clifftop cafe where a lone saxophonist was practising in the woods. I think he thought he was alone! We found a way down to the bay and that took us through a lovely whitewashed fishing village. Nearby we called into the Tourist Information Office and got a map. It seemed we had just walked past the old harbour which had drawn us here in the first place. We retraced our steps and were very disappointed to see we had walked right past it without even noticing. That's how invisible it is!! We're not really sure why there is a picture of a merman on the harbour walls though!

After a beer and some pintxos in a very busy pub, we set off along the seafront. It was beautiful. In the tourist office they had said something about the architecture of Getxo. We didn't really understand what they were on about at the time. The next hour of walking along the coast saw us pass many information plaques which drew our attention to the large stately houses. Each was of a different architectural style but most designed in the early 1900s by the same British architect with the name Smith. Maybe we shoudl have paid a bit more attention to give you more information!!

At the end of the bay, past a couple of marinas, was a small park with a Naval memorial standing proudly above everything. At its base was a statue of Neptune which was quite intriguing. From there it was just a short walk on to the Puente Colgante, or Hanging Bridge. This is now a World Heritage Site and it was really interesting to see it in operation. A small platform hangs below the bridge carrying foot passengers and couple of vehicles over the river. It saves the hassle of building a bridge!! If you don't fancy it, you can always get a boat across.

That was pretty much it in Getxo for us. It seemed ironic that the Welcome to Getxo sign was on our way out!! When the sun is shining in the spring, I suspect we might well be back.

Additional photos below
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14th November 2012

Basque Country coast
As you say, it is a pity some people arrive at Bilbao but do not have any information about other places to go. I live and work in Sopelana, a little further if you continue the coast line and pass Getxo. Wilder and quite different. And it only takes you 40 minutes from Bilbao in the metro (this time you have to take the one named Plentzia and get off in Sopelana) You can also enjoy the sightseigs of the cliffs, surf , paraglide, or walk along and relax. I am here for any further information you may need. Come and visit!
15th November 2012

Some wonderful pics :)
If I ever do get back to Europe, I would love to tour Spain. Apart from a quick whistle stop tour of Barcelona, I haven't seen much of this amazing country at all. The Basque Country looks simply sublime and it would be nice to get away from this heat for a while :)

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