Day fifteen: Ron and I took the subway to the University station, involved a transfer from green to pink line, but it was no task for world travelers. We got a Citron C4 Picasso, which is a van that held all our luggage. It was a tense drive to get out of Barcelona, but we made it onto the highways, 4 lane for the most part through beautiful country.
We saw a lot of agriculture and many wind farms and solar farms generating electricity. It appears the Spanish are way ahead of the US in switching to alternative energy. It was a six and a half hour drive with the last hour in the Pyrenees Mountains. In Ron’s words, “This is beautiful…. Look at those colors….. Look at the sun on those mountians… I’ve never seen such beautiful mountains.”
Then when we arrived at the Parador in Hondariba, a fifteenty century castle. “This is no Hampton Inn.” I will leave the pictures that I will be posting over the next several days to fill your eyes with the magnificent place that we find ourselves enjoying. Ron’s only complaint is that the coffee is not hot enough and they serve hot milk for his cereal, but he is induring.
Thu 05/15/08 (day 16)
Day sixteen: Today we got getting lost out of the way. An hour drive to Bilbao turned into an hour and a half of high frustration. Finding the Guggenheim in Bilbao was not as easy as the desk clerk assured. Once we found it finding a parking place was almost as hard. There is a lack of signs and a lack of parking. The building lives up to its billing as the architectural achievement of the 21st. century. It is something to see; it’s like a silver ship in the sun, painted by Picasso, sailing up the Ria de Bilbao. Once you enter the museum the art displayed is a disappointment. Most of it is devoted to Surrealism and it leaves a lot to be desired. The second floor was closed for a rework; maybe that was what carries the interest but everyone that we spoke to was as disappointed as we were. We made our way back to Hondarribia and had wine and cheese on the patio before getting ready for dinner; restaurants don’t open until 8:00 pm. You’ll see in my pictures; the view from our room…. that’s France on the other side of the harbor. This place is a piece of paradise.
Day seventeen: We decided to have an easy day, get up late and not do any long driving. At eleven we drove over the boarder to Saint Jean de Luz, France for lunch; about a fifteen minute drive. After we walked around the town we ventured into what appeared to be a welcoming restaurant; before sitting down I asked the waiter to help me identify what another customer was eating. His response was one of a “French Smart Ass”; we collectively decided not to spend any money in France and went back to Hondarribia for lunch and a walk on the beach. Hondarribia is a wonderful place to stay if you find yourself in northern Spain, it is beautiful, close to many other attractions and friendly. Each morning Ron and I get up and run along the sea wall as the fisherman head out to sea and back through the town as the shopkeepers are opening their stores and the grocers are putting out their fresh vegetables. I think I could live here if I had a better Internet connection.
Day eighteen: Twenty minute drive on N1 to San Sebaastain, Spain, a beautiful sea side town. We entered from the south along a tree lined Boulavard along the Urumea River. It is a very European city larger then we had expected. Being Saturday morning it was crowded and hard to find parking, but after sitting in a Que for fifteen minutes we made it into a garage and were able to park. We were issued a ticket as we entered and as we left we place our ticket into a machine and it asked for our fee, we placed the ticket in another machine as we came to the gate and it opened to let us out; no humans involved, easy and efficient. What a country! The old town was busy and clean, we stopped at an Internet Cafe and were able to check email and communicate home for 60 cents. Lunch in Old Town, with a waiter that spoke perfect English, some shopping and we were back on our way to Hondarribia. Ron has assumed the role of driver and I am acting as navigator with the help of Nita and Avie. So far we have made it back to our beds each night so I guess we are doing well