Mototour 2007 - day 6

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June 6th 2007
Published: January 25th 2008
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Day 6: Dune du Pilat to Mundaka
Distance: 328 km (of 8,667 km total)

We woke up in a thick fog 😞 Most of the dune had totally disappeared in the clouds. Realizing we wouldn't be able to see much, we decided there was no point in climbing up this morning either. There was nothing to do but pack and leave for Spain. No stop in beautiful Biarritz either, since the weather wasn't that great. Then we thought we'd stop by in San Sebastian, but the weather was still not that great.

Upon entering Spain, the scenery changed: We saw tightly-packed apartments, laundry spilling out of balconies and windows of high-rise apartments against the backdrop of the beautiful Pyrenees mountains. We kept on going until the weather cleared up and we ended up in Gernika for lunch at a gas station restaurant called Ariane. We had Basque-style tapas: tortillas, baguette slices with diverse toppings, ham and omelettes with mushrooms.

On stopping for gas there, the attendant was really surprised that we had filled up our tank by ourselves. Motorists normally wait until they are served at gas stations - helping ourselves was inappropriate, almost like reaching for change in the cash register or something. Another strange thing we noticed was how the bartender casually and routinely swept food off his counter onto the floor. There was a large garbage bin ready and waiting just below the counter, but the procedure was to move everything to the floor first, mush it underfoot and spread it around, before getting the waitresses to clean it up.

We asked the bartender about a camping location and he told us about Portuondo Camping in Mundaka, a few km west of Gernika. We left Gernika without knowing it was actually the Gernika Picasso used as a theme for his famous work of the same name. The city seems small and quite new - nothing remarkable. We learned later that there is a very interesting Peace and War Museum about WW2 and the Spanish Civil War; that the city was leveled during WW2 - hence the new buildings.

The camping grounds in Mundaka had a friendly atmosphere, and proved to be great! Off season, it wasn't filled up yet, but there were enough visitors to chat with here and there. Mundaka is otherwise known for an international surfing competition held every October.

There were 2 British girls at the grounds, traveling in an antique Ford Anglia, who had just come back from a 6-months trip to India. They were “car-backpacking” from England to Spain to visit a friend. They hadn't quite landed from their India experience - friendly, carefree, very dropped-out and as accommodating and undiscriminating as you can get. After settling down and before it was time for dinner, we took a walk from the grounds to some of a harbour and island in the Mundaka “suburbs”.

The British girls invited us to share their dinner which consisted of couscous and beans with green olives - actually not bad at all.

In the midst of the friendly atmosphere, there was an older caravaning Brit, whom Zak found annoying and had avoided conversation and eye contact with. He had jumped past us during the check in, and Zak never quite forgave him for it. He must have sensed it, because no matter how much he tried to be friendly after that, he just kept sticking his foot in his mouth.

Some young Germans were partying all night, and at 2 am. when someone finally shouted, “Hey guys, shut the fuck up!” to a German singing horribly off-key. He instantly replied, “OK!” and that was that. Such is life in camping grounds.

An Australian couple we met had just come from Portugal and gave us a camping map of Portugal. They told us about a chain of camp grounds called Obitur which had consistent quality.


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