Monday 27th July - Back to Spain, San Sebastian
This was more like it - the hotel in San Sebastian that is. I am sat up writing this in a bed so large there is a walkie talkie on each side for contacting your bedfellow - should you be so lucky enough to have one that is. The Spanish tourist offices had come up trumps, both here and in Barcelona, so on that basis I could only but recommend them. I had struggled to find anything decent for under 200 sovs searching the internet with a budget that was half that and the Astoria7 was just the job.
Anyway I had awoken in Foix to a dull overcast day, my first since leaving Salon la Tour, which always looked like threatening rain. Actually no I was disturbed prior to that several times in the night by anyone on the floor above me going to the loo as the plumbing runs right through my bathroom in pipes that, well I've seen fatter straws. I take it the incompetent buffoon who plumbed my flat had moved to Foix.
Of course rather than get a move on whilst rain was merely threatening
I delayed my departure till it started. Just a steady drizzle until I hit Lourdes and then it poured. When waterproofs leak why do they always do so first around your gonads? The sensation is not a pleasant one - akin to small syringes of icy water strategically injected around your nether regions. Eventually the area succumbs and it is just like plopping your arse in an icy bucket. Finally at Dax it abated and in an attempt to expedite the drying of my own dacks I hogged the hand dryer there.
And of course it was a boring ride - nearly 400km with all but the first hour on the autoroute. My waterproofs billowed up to the size of a sail and made a helluva racket that even my new helmet, ear plugs and riding position failed to completely drown out. As maybe apparent, not a motorcyclists dream day. If yesterday had been motorcycling's yin - weaving through magnificent mountain scenery on twisting tarmac they should have used for Donington under an azure blue sky, then I guess this was its yang. (Or is that the other way round?) And that was how you took it. The rough
wasn't that great but the smooth was more polished than a Nick Foster presentation.
San Sebastian is a cool place and a foodie's heaven. Pintxo bars crowd the streets of the old town providing the best tapas, in the world apparently. Hard to doubt that, I had the best seafood tapas I can remember. King chip sized calamari that melted in your mouth and octopus without any of the vulcanization process to which it has normally been subjected to. There are a plethora of michelin star rated gaffs too, but grazing round the bars was far more inconspicuous than sitting on your Jack Jones in one of those I figured. Thrown in for good measure, delis selling delicious looking fare intermingled with the pintxo, bar and restaurant scene.
I preferred the “2nd” beach here to the main one which was known as La Concha. The latter had an idyllic outlook towards the Atlantic, shielded by two perfect headlands but it was a narrow band of sand contained by a high sea wall that looked too, well town bound. For me the most enjoyable part of all though was a walk around the headland separating the two main beach areas which I did at dusk.
Simple pleasures - walking around in clean cacks with dry dacks and in jeans 'cos its a bit parkier here to the tune of about 10C. I was incredibly content and walked around with one of those stupid smiles that would convince you I was up to something.
I have a short 100km hop to Bilbao tomorrow to see the Guggenheim and then on Wednesday I will ride to the Picos de Europa, which is about 200km from Bilbao, before turning tail back towards Santander (another 100km). My ferry back then is at 9 pm. I'll try not to miss it...
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