Just for once, my prediction in our last post, of an early start and a long drive was correct – well, sort of. We were certainly up early yesterday but not on the road until 12.00 unfortunately. I like to use campsite days as running days so I can take advantage of the showers. I’m King of the Faffers so by the time I’d kitted up, chosen my music, set up my running app, taken a couple of selfies, had a run, taken another selfie, showered, posted my run selfies to Instagram, counted the likes, filled and emptied all of Vince’s bits which needed filling and emptying and finally had breakfast, it was lunchtime! Luckily Gill is far more organised than I am so she’d used the time to plan us a mostly toll-free to route to San Sebastián in northern Spain.
Gill’s route guided us down the N10, a brilliant toll-free Route Nationale which goes down the west side of France to Bordeaux. From there the guide books advise taking the toll route into Spain as the local roads get very slow & congested. Fair enough. Overall it cost about £23 but the ease with which we got here in under six hours was well worth it. After paying a very reasonable €7.20 at the machine for 48hrs parking, I then had to help a Dutch fella and a Scot to pay their own fees as the machine only seemed to speak Basque. I think I’d made it work more by good luck than skill.
After a restorative cup of Tetley’s we headed out to find a café for a quick bite to eat, and enjoyed a glass of vino tinto with some fishy tapas. We retired back to Vince afterwards to catch up with National Treasure – the Robbie Coltrane and Julie Walters drama from 2016. As we knew there’s no satellite reception this far down (unless you have a huge dish) before we left, we downloaded lots of box sets and dramas for those evenings, like last night, when we’re a bit knackered from being on the road all day.
This morning we had a rude awakening, or would have done if I hadn’t been up early. A bus driver banged less than politely on the door to tell us we were parked in a bus slot – which seemed a bit odd as we were sandwiched between two other motorhomes. The driver duly took me round the bays in my jim-jams to show me the sign we’d missed the evening before. Why he was wearing my jim-jams remains a mystery. I quickly fired up Vince’s engine and reversed smartly into another bay while the driver was rousing the other miscreants – there were very few spaces available so I thought first come first served and up the Brits!
Our day today was rather special. As you know from our last post, we were a bit down after the cancelled ferry, the rotten weather in France, and er… France. So waking up on our first day in Spain with the sun shining, lots of solar electrons fizzing into Vince’s batteries, and the prospect of a lazy non-driving day ahead, made us feel much more positive about life in general.
San Sebastián, or Donastia as this beautiful seaside town is also called, is a favourite resort of the Spanish. It’s easy to see why with its beautiful curving beach, the Playa de La Concha as its centrepiece. We walked the full length of the promenade round to the Monte Urgull, a hill overlooking the port with a castle at its top. The long uphill slog to the top was rewarded with amazing views of the bay below, and the tall statue of Christ towering above. We stayed there for a long time just basking in the spring sunshine and soaking up the views.
However. As you know, our thoughts are never very far from the next meal so we eventually hot-footed it back down the hill into the old town to find some eats. I say ‘old town’ but it’s not old in the tradition of higgledy-piggledy cobbled lanes with hidden courtyards and crooked houses. San Sebastián was pretty much destroyed by those fiendish English devils in 1813 (I can say that as a half-Scot) so the town was rebuilt in a more modern, but still attractive 19th Century style. As a bonus, the grid pattern makes it easy to navigate too.
We found a little restaurant offering the menu del dia at not exactly cheap prices, but after France, it seemed exceptional value! Three courses, wine and bread were €18. I know we’ll find better deals but this was in a popular resort right by the seaside so we didn’t feel we’d done too badly. Despite my frequent references to our fondness for a sunset cocktail or two, we’re not too used to swilling down a bottle of Rioja at lunchtime so our slow walk back along the bay may have been a little more wandering than we intended. Luckily it was a couple of miles to get back to Vince, so with a few shady stops along the way to watch the waves, we were de-squiffied by the time we saw him in the car park. It’s just as well; he gets all disapproving and stern with us when he sees us giggling too much and obviously the worse for wear. He should have been a Presbyterian.
Our plans for tomorrow are a bit loose at the moment. Our parking fee here covers us until 6pm so we’ll probably have a late start and continue our journey south. If our direct ferry hadn’t been cancelled our plan was to blast down to the south-west corner of Spain then meander slowly up the coast to the Pyrenees before sprinting through France for home. As we ended up sailing to France unintentionally we see no reason why we shouldn’t stick to Plan A and head south west, but now Gill has recovered from the sea-sickness we’re more amenable to sailing home from Spain. This wins us back the week we lost at the start of the trip if that makes any sense? It does to me. Kind of.
Meantime, I’m setting my alarm early for tomorrow morning’s entertainment as several motorhomes have pulled in as I write. They’ve pulled into the bus bays 😀
PS Don’t forget you can click or tap on any pic to enlarge, chat soon! xxx