A Travellerspoint blog

Phase 8: San Sebastian to home

Easter weekend!

sunny 16 °C
View Southern road trip on moustache17's travel map.

You could already see it in San Sebastian that Friday; Easter holiday makers/families taking over the town.
Hotel rooms in SS or one of the other options were now so expensive that it hurts.

So decided in the morning to go home and not add days in Bordeaux or anywhere else.
Keep it for a next time.
The good thing about my flexibility is also choosing on the moment when it is enough and when to head home.
So that was the feeling Friday morning.

It was not smooth ride as I was hoping.
Did the 1150Km in one day but had 45min delay around Bordeaux, 45min on the Paris ring and again 30min around Lille.
But made it in one piece.

So after 4650Km on the road, back home.

The trip was worth it.
Perhaps I did not explore as much of the Northern Spanish coast as I was planning but had a wonderful week with Paul and Ingrid. Lots of fun and that is what counts.

Right now no immediate plans.
Although I made promises to visit a friend in Lebanon and same, feel like visiting friends in Dubai this year. But no dates, no fixed plans yet.
Guess immediate period ahead is getting the garden sorted out.
Looking forward to bicycle season in summer.
One thought is to do one/two day trips in Netherlands - they have fantastic bicycle lanes and excellent small hotels.
Some researching to do in this area.....

So, for those who did - thanks for following me on the trip. Hope one day you will go and explore yourself - worth the effort.

Who knows, one day I may be back......


Posted by moustache17 00:32 Archived in Belgium Tagged home back Comments (0)


Some loose thoughts in Spain....

Guardia Civil
I have seen lots of them - but all of them sitting in a road cafe having a morning coffee and something to eat.
With the exception of one team - they stopped me at a road block outside Salamance at 08.00 for an alcohol test.
Actually they waived me on after a quick "ola", probably too difficult to upset their day.
They probaby had a coffee appointment a bit later.....

It is big
Spain is actually quite big when you drive. Normally other Europeans take a cheap flight and stay around the beaches. Exploring inland shows great diversity. It is too big to try to do even more than what I did this trip. But there is still so much more in the South (done this many years ago and also great - Sevilla/Granada etc). Barcelona area.
Think I will follow up on hibernating some time next winter, provided there is some culture/town around to explore. In any case, many Flemish/Antwerp people do the same (such as Paul/Ingrid) so it should not be too difficult to have company...

Food and drinks are still cheap
I remember from my Las Palmas days in the 90' ies that you had to stop the waiter pouring oversized drinks. They come with the bottle to your table and you have to stop them. Still happens now in quite a few places. Wine is dead cheap. Combined with 2-3 tapa's you really can travel on a budget.
You have to build up though to have Jamon, and Jamon, and Jamon.
Last year and before the trip, I was thinking to buy a full size leg of Jamon for X-mas time. With the overdose here - did let that idea go...

Where does the fencing come from....
Driving along all these motorways, the sides are always fenced off. Against people/goats?
The same existed in Dubai - but higher - for the camels. Heras fencing made a fortune there.
Do not know what Spanish company has the contract but for sure the guy is living in the biggest villa in Marbella!


Beggars are present, feeling it is quite organised.

Language can still be a struggle when off the tourist beaches. It did make me uncomfortable as always when in an area where I do not speak the lingo fluently.


Posted by moustache17 13:28 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Phase 7: (from Toledo) to San Sebastian

This is really a beautiful and happy place - and how I nearly slept in the same room as Ursula Andress.

sunny 19 °C
View Southern road trip on moustache17's travel map.

The hotel in SS was the best during this trip.
Astoria 7 has a film theme throughout the whole hotel.
Rooms are decorated in name of a film actor/actress - and the signs in the hallway.
I know - I know, Ursula was born 1934 and now 82 years old.
But I must admit she was a hot babe in one of the earlier Bond Film - everyone of my age should admit.
The hotel was full so I could not make a pick.
Ursula was next door, I had to settle for the Coen Brothers (directors of the Big Lebowski).
A lot less sexy but sometimes life can be hard.


San Sebastian is truly a fantastic place.
It is so well laid out and has so many green areas.
As well as one of the best city-beaches, great pincho (tapa) bars.
I really loved it and did hours of walking.
This is a must for all of you.

I am just showing some random pictures.
If ever you go, check all the tourists guides for full introduction - my pictures are just an impression.


The food was indeed also great and a step up from all the other tapa bars in other cities I have been.

At this point of the trip I start thinking about home.
I normally had to choose another stop - Bordeaux/Pau/Tours, whatever.
However, the Easter crowds are out - San Sebastian was full of people and families so one can expect the other touristic cities will be full as well.
Not much guessing - I had half a look at the hotel prices in these potential stops.....

Also my stomach is getting upset with regularly eating out and drinks..... too much is too much.
It is Thursday 22H now, I will hit the road tomorrow and see how it goes.
Probably head home - stop on the road if tired.
Will see.


Posted by moustache17 13:01 Archived in Spain Tagged san sebastian Comments (0)

Phase 6: (from Salamanca) to Oviedo

All other things but the city.

sunny 18 °C
View Southern road trip on moustache17's travel map.

Oviedo as a stop came up after a few planning changes and basically because of distance again.
To get closer to the sea and the Northern coast of Spain.

I can be very short about the city. Not much to see.
Being Sankta Semana - of course the procession...

However, it had to my taste the best tapa/pincho bar during the whole trip.
"Jamon", at 60m of the hotel was always full of people. Inside and outside.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I was lucky to get a bar stool during afternoon and just lingered at the bar.
The bar owners offered constantly little tasting snacks.
Any type of person, young and old, walked in and out of the place.
Had a few glasses of wine and rum - just watching and letting Spanish time tick away.
Some may see that the picture is a bit blurry but that is purely because that day the lens was bit dirty....

The road to Oviedo was also a very pleasant drive.
Leaving the plains of Spain and into the mountain area gave yet again another face of Spain.
When crossing into Asturias, there were some stunning views;

But also the weather changed a bit - lucky it was at that time only fog and not rains as one should expect in this part of the country...


This is it.
Only a short drive and short stay.
Next - San Sebastian.

Posted by moustache17 12:32 Archived in Spain Tagged oviedo Comments (0)

Phase 5: (from Toledo) to Salamanca

Back on track

I like Salamanca.

It is by now Monday 10th and some +2500Km.

Salamanca is a one-day town.
Unless - as I did - take half a day more to watch the top of the bill cycling of the year; " Paris - Roubaix".
Favourite Tom Boonen did not make it for his 5th but Greg Van Avermaet did win.
He was already the new champion on the block, Olympian gold and few early season wins.
You do not steal the win in this race unless you are indeed the strongest of the pack.
A new champion to follow and look forward to in the next years....

The sites take you 2 Hours to see.
But you keep walking the inner town again and again, so pleasant and nice.
Of course, many stops for wine/Ricard and pinchos..... check - check - check.

You know by now that I do not aim to be a perfect tourist blog. Go and google or wikipedia if you want to get all the history and best pictures.

Just a few pictures on my wandering walks. At random.



For Paul/Pablo; there is a church here named after you so I went and did a quick prayer;

For John, as per your request - no pictures of food and wine. But believe me, there was plenty.

For Vera, no - I did not go and look for the astronaut and frog pictured in the doorway of the cathedral. Too busy watching people on the terraces.

This week is Sankta semana (or something like that - Holy week) in Spain.
When I arrived on Sunday it was very visible.
5y olds walking in black Penitence clothes
type of Klu Klux clan dressed guys in red
a big procession with a heavy 6x2m wooden holy thing carried around by 20 men
Not my thing but it seems to attracts lots of people....
Let me say it is folklore.
Religion has not done very well for the world (peace) over the centuries.
Anyway, everyone his own opinion so;

I hope there is a short impression.
Do go here if ever you plan to visit this part of Spain.

For reference; stayed in NH Puerta de la Cathedral.
Yes, right next to the ..... you guessed it.
A pleasure after Toledo Eurohotels.

So this is it.
Have to go to my glass of wine and Jamon. Getting the last out of this beautiful place.
Tomorrow Oviedo.
Do not ask me why (again).
I have probably played around with 50 options to drive and explore.
Last night, Oviedo dropped out of the box just like that.
Taking me North into the northern provinces of Spain.
Will see what happens next.

Take care.
I will be back.

Posted by moustache17 10:48 Comments (0)

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