It´s nice to be somwhere where wine is as cheap as water

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February 12th 2010
Published: February 12th 2010
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I was quite amused that truckstops in France are complete with full bars and wine on tap. Drinking and driving is illegal (obviously) but European truckers still need their midday drink.
Finally have arrived in España, but first have to recount a little fro, Bordeaux. After another crepe breakfast Laetitia drove me from Le Mans to the toll booth leading to the main highway to Bordeaux (all major highways in France are tolled, and at very expensive rates; not to mention gas is about 1.30 euors/L, but at least the toll stations make great hitchhiking spots) and she didnt even have time to get back into her car after saying bye before Sammy, a trucker from Belgium heading to Toulouse, picked me up. Like everyone who I've met from Belgium, he spoke great English which made the ride fun.

At another toll station on that route it had been about 10 minutes of waiting (the longest yet) when a French authority truck pulled over. The man who got out spoke no English and it seemed like he was telling me off, but then I realized he´d seen my ´Bordeaux´sign and was trying to tell me that most trucks don´t continue on the main highway after that point (becuase it´s too expensive) and instead take the older smaller road. Took it as proof that hitchhiking is encouraged here, and waiting where he

Antoinette, Fiona, Louis and I in front of a sculture of horses (of course!)
told me I had a ride within minutes going almost all the way to Madrid (although I decided to take it slowly and enjoy France a while longer).

Bordeaux was great. Couchsurfed with Antoinette in a southern suburb called Grandignan and had a great two days with her and her 13 year-old niece Fiona and 4 year-old nephew Loius. Despite no one speaking English, we got by fine in Spanish and broken French and they made me feel like a part of the family. Food and hospitality were incredible and we had a great time touring the city and the Atlantic beaches to the west. Also climbed a giant Sahara type sand dune that spans about a kilometer along the beach. It has been pretty cold, but Europe in the winter is great because of the lack of swarming toursits and overpriced everything. Also, to pass on a really simple but delicious typical french crepe dinner: put a cooked crepe in a pan, put a few thin slices of ham in the center, crack a raw egg on the ham, add grated cheese, maybe a little salt and a bit of real (non-sweet) whipped cream, fold, flip, leave in

Nina this one is for you, mmmm chocolate shoes
the pan until the egg is softly cooked, and enjoy! Rico.

Now I´m writing from Donostia San-Sabastian, a beautful city built around a bay in the mountains of northen Spain. Here I´m couchsurfing with Mikel in his appartment on the top floor of a building overlooking the entire city, the bay and the beaches. A few locals are swimming but I consider that a little loca, considering it snowed yesterday and is about 2C at the moment. The architecture here is a mix of Spanish-English-French because of the many attempts at colonization, and this area is the last remaining place where Basque is spoken, a language that I´m told has a mix of Northern African and European origins, and is nothing like Spanish. Donostia is also interesting because of how it is reminicent of St. John´s Newfoundland. The fortresses that once guarded the cities are built in a similar fashion, and apparently there are some ties between the people of Basque country and ´Tiera Nueva´ because of the fishing trade. If you´re ever in Newfoundland and hear "apaizac obeto" used as a greeting, it´s Basque.

Tonight its tapas (or pinxtos as they´re called here) and a spanish-style celebration

Beaches around Arachon, about 40 min west of Bordeaux
of the second day of Carnaval 😊 Fiesta!

Additional photos below
Photos: 14, Displayed: 14



Giant sand dune, still need to google the explanation

On top of the dune, jungle looking forest on one side, blue Atlantic ocean on the other :)

Me on the dune.
More beachMore beach
More beach

Another deserted beach near Arachon. These beaches are packed in the summer.
Bordeaux to San SabastianBordeaux to San Sabastian
Bordeaux to San Sabastian

Notice the Canada-like snow in the background. Apparently this never happens here, and there were about 6 accidents on a 40km stretch of highway.
San SabastianSan Sabastian
San Sabastian

The view from the couch where Im sleeping - CS is awesome :)
City FortressCity Fortress
City Fortress

View from the fortress atop the mountain at the entrance to the bay. Now its a museum free to the public.

Took this for anyone interested in the Basque language as a comparison to Spanish. One language is lost on average every 3 weeks from the world, Basque still has about 100 000 people speaking it but being up against Spanish and English doesnt give it the best odds.

Sculptures built into the rock.

13th February 2010

Cheap wine or expensive water?
13th February 2010

I am loving the looks of Spain!!
Hey chica! wow I can't get over those sand dunes!!! I googled them..i believe they are called Dune du Pilat or The Great Dune of Pyla. I read it is the largest sand dune in Europe and is still growing! The pine forest on one side and Atlantic Ocean to the other is a beautiful shot. I guess this is just a (very) small preview of what you are going to see as you travel into Africa :-) XOXOXOXO
14th February 2010

Great pictures and wonderful description of your trip, Alyssa. I can't wait to hear more.
14th February 2010

Wine is cheap, waters not expensive :p actually a can of coke is more expensive than a bottle of wine in some places. And Oriana thanks for looking up the name, the forest-dune-ocean transition was pretty nice to get all within one photo, will probably only get the latter two in Africa :) Thanks for the comments! xoxo
18th February 2010

I miss you!<3 Peter found an orthodox church where he wants to go and pray for you!lol Just wanted to tell you that and that I'm so proud of you, just be safe! Post again soon!

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