Coastal Majesty & Misery.

Tuesday 21st November

Another lazy morning.

Finally left Catori at just gone 12 and drove into the centre again. After finding a great parking place on the other side of the town with the view to walk up and over the fortified peak and into town we had to abandon those plans as we did not have enough coins on us for the payment meters. I tried three machines non of them seemed to want to take a debit card no matter how hard we tried or how many buttons we pressed in any order. We ended up back in the same car park as yesterday, retraced our steps through the old town but this time everything was open. We had a coffee in the Plaza de la Constitutiòn and then headed into the main shopping area.

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The architecture is magnificent if you look UP with grandiose four, five and six story apartment blocks from different eras each topped with ornate turrets or stone carvings. No one builds like this anymore, it’s all about maximum profit nowadays and no one is willing to pay the cost involved creating these works of art for future generations to enjoy.
We wandered the wide avenues and saw the stunning cathedral.


At about 4.30 the breakfast of two croissants had worn off and the lure of the tapas bars became strong. Six tapas and two drinks later (between us!) our appetite was satisfied.

 


We needed Gin, Beer and a few other essentials so decided to find the nearest Lidl. Two were in town, neither had parking so we set off to the next nearest 4.5k away. Margret must have been having a Blond moment as no sooner had we set off and the 4.5k became 9k. With nothing much else to do a 9k drive did not seem too unattractive. We found Lidl did the shop and all went well. That was until we realised we needed petrol. I punched in ‘nearest petrol stations’ into Margret and a Repsol one was only 0.5k away. Oh happy days – we set off and as soon as we hit the main road the 0.5k became 8.9k and took us back down the motorway to San Sebastián, turned us round and sent us back up the motorway to nearly where we had just come from but 0.5k away AS THE CROW FLIES from the Lidl. To make me even more annoyed, it turned out to be a motorway service station at 35 cents a litre more expensive than fuel at a normal garage. To top it off the way back was another 4K further up the motorway only to turn us round to send us back down the motorway again. In total just over 20k to get to the “nearest” petrol station. Hay-Ho it’s only time & money! Needless to say we abandoned the idea of getting back into town for our night time San Sebastián experience preferring to drink the Gin we had just brought.

 

The Aire was quite full. Catori is third from the right on the bottom row.

Wednesday 22nd November
We have been away two weeks today. We left San Sebastián after yet another lazy morning (we really are making the most of it). We opted to take the scenic route after studying the maps and the sat nav and all looked good. To start it was with an absolutely stunning coastal drive along the N364 and wide sweeping bends climbed onto high lofty vistas with panoramic views down and up the coast before descending down to pretty fishing villages each with its own beach and many with an island to boast about too. Throughly enjoying the drive I was glad that I had chosen the route rather than sticking to the main A roads. Sorry there is not many photos but I am driving solo and Angie is following in the smart car so grabbing a shot is a rare activity.

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  • If you ever get the chance to drive the N364 from San Sebastián to Deba, DO IT . Then make sure that you DO NOT TAKE the GI638 to Burmeo. It quickly turned into a test of skill and perseverance over logic. The views dissolved and we set off on a twisty narrow road hardy wide enough to take two cars Side by side let alone a motorhome. Then came the hairpin bends barely wide enough to get round and certainly not on my side of the road, tiny villages to squeeze through and shear drops.
    It was a test of nerves and no enjoyment whatsoever excepting the stunning village of Lekeitio with its pretty harbour, sandy beach and teardrop shaped island accessed by a causeway at low tide. We would have loved to stop off if we could but parking was non existent as far as we could see so we pressed on much to both of our disappointment. What seemed an eternity passed and when we finally emerged onto better roads I breathed a sigh of relief. So we made it to Bermeo and quite frankly it is a bit grim. It has a harbour and marinara of sorts but the town is just a muddle of very narrow one-way streets barely big enough to get the smart car round. The Aire is free but a glorified car park next to a play park and cemetery. If you really want the GPS it is n43.42306 w 002.72556 

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We came here because of the stunning drives around the coast mentioned in the guide books and having done one of them on the way here, and seeing not a lot, for most of the last part of it, it has been a disappointment. Tomorrow however we aim to take Sunny for a 12 min drive to the Ermita de San Juan de Gaztelugatxe church set out on a rocky peninsula and apparently this is the most photogenic and photographed bit of coastline in the whole of the Basque country. We will grab a few shots and then come back before heading off to Santillana del Mar (apparently the prettiest town in all of Spain) just west of Santander.

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We WILL be taking the A roads for most of the way!

 

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