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Published: February 12th 2010
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!
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