I was thinking I would write 3 posts about this travel: 10 first days in Spain/10 more days/ and then 10 last days. But when the experience is so intense, it doesn’t give you time to stop and write about it. You live it first, and tell yourself that you’ll write later. So here are 20 days (a little more) combined together into one post:
I made of Bilbao my home for a month. Yes the weather was crazy because I am not used to so much rain in summer. And in Bilbao, you just wake up and accept the fact that you don’t know what the dice would bring that day. It ranged from grey skies and heavy rain to experiencing the hottest day of the year. But still, all in all, I couldn’t be more satisfied and I sure hope I get to go back and spend more days enjoying the city.
These are just some highlights of my time in Spain, because the experience can’t be put in one blog post, not even ten..
San Sebastian: (Donostia in Basque) is probably my favorite city from the whole trip. A small coastal city very close to France (20km from the borders). Although very touristic, I loved the cool chill vibe it has. We had a good day, walked all the way down the coast to Playa de la Concha. The deep blue sea was mesmerazing, smoothly kissing the sky at the horizon. Then we hiked up Monte Urgull enjoying the extended green scenary. We rested a bit on the top enjoying the view overlooking the bay with Santa Clara Island in its midst, and Yachts floating all around, then took a few more steps up to visit the status of Jesus.
After a quick lunch in the streets of the old city, we walked to Peine del Viento/The Comb of the Wind sculptures. That place offered me one of the best feelings I have ever experienced in my life..
Back in the city, we watched street artists’ performances while waiting for the festival’s commencement.. I never thought that the sight of gigantic men hitting kids with big baloons would be fun, turns out it is!
The day ended with us sitting on a cliff, eating pizza and enjoying a very beautiful sunset. We stayed a little longer to watch the music shows, before taking the bus heading back home, to bilbao..
PUNTA GALEA-SOPELANA also known as the day we walked 10km over 2 hours in the sun, and then when we finally reached the beach, the sky turned grey (more like black) and it started raining. The views along the way were beautiful though. And although I didn’t get to swim there, due to the weather and the red flag, Sopelana is one of my favorite beaches in Basque Country. I loved the ambiance of adventure it has; surfers in the sea, parasailers in the sky, bikers cycling by..
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe: If I have to pick up a single favorite excursion from my time in Spain it would be this day. I enjoyed the hike up, down, up again and reverse. It was tough and sweaty and leg wrecking, but also breathtaking. We stopped to rest at the tip of the mainland, soaking in the view, which was made even more beautiful when we found the cutest little setting of a wedding waiting to happen. Re-energized, we climbed up the 230ish stairs leading to a majestic church on the top. The legend has it that if you climb the stairs, and then ring the church’s bell 3 times and make a wish, your wish comes true.
We sat having lunch, enjoying the view and interesting conversations before heading back. I was impressed to learn that a few years back this place was barely visited, and then it got featured on GOT as the Dragonstone, and now it’s a very important touristic attraction, with hundreds of tourists visiting every day.
That day was also the start of Aste Nagusia: Txupinazo, aka eggs/flour/alcohol/you name it flying all around. That sure sounds like a lot of fun, but it’s just not my kind of fun. I skipped it and stayed for a swim at Bakio’s beach.
Aste Nagusia: nine days of festivities, and what happens in Aste Nagusia stays in Aste Nagusia…
Guggenheim Museum: The building is great to start with, and the exhibition I enjoyed most was the one of Joana Vasconcelos. I found it so playfully feminine and provoking with a witty humor. The Chinese exhibition though was too creepy for me.
Walking out of the museum, I had the best brownie I have ever tasted in my life. It tasted like happiness!! And sharing it with my friends I was like “I’m sharing happiness!” (so cheesy I know, but also true).
Oma Forest: The forest that is also a work of art. The trunks of trees are painted with geometric shapes, animals (mostly birds) and human figures (mostly eyes). With one image painted on separate multiple trees making up a puzzle, some require you to stand at a specific point in a specific position to be able to see them. And it’s fun chasing the pieces with your eyes, trying to have the complete image revealed to you.
Santander: While we didn’t actually get to see the city because we stayed on the coast all day, the sea lover in me can’t complain about anything really. We walked to The Magdalena Peninsula and around the Palace, before walking back to the beach and then up to the lighthouse and the most beautiful cliff view with waves crushing on the rocks, then to the bus station. It was a whole day of walking. And during that one hour and a half walk back to the bus station up and down hills, my pinky toe hurt so badly. You wouldn’t expect a tiny thing to hurt that much, but oh how it does! I had made poor shoe choice, and by the time I sat on the bus it was bleeding. It was a very beautiful day though, started with rain and ended in the warmth of sunset.
This exchange was a blast. I met wonderful people. People that I want to keep in my life forever. But since that’s a little far from possible, they’ll just live in my heart and memory. Cheers Bilbainos! You are truly missed!