Run to the sun
Trip Start Jan 01, 2008
45Trip End Sep 29, 2009
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The journey through northern Spain has certainly been varied, since we last wrote we thought at first we had made a huge mistake crossing the border from France. The weather had been awful that day and when which didn't help as the driving vibe changed instantly. The Spanish seem to have a far more 'I'm going for it' attitude to driving than the French, they seem a lot more impatient and it was hard to adjust at first.
The first place listed in our free camping guide seemed nice in the book, a quite car park virtually on the beech, but it wasn't that nice in the pouring rain. It also looked like the towns local hangout for the kids, hundreds were huddled under umbrellas just doing what kids do. Now it wasn't to bad at first and we were just going to rough out the rain for the night and hope the kids didn't stay to late, but we slowly seemed to be attracting attention and a few lads started eyeing up the bikes, I mean right up close while I was in the van cooking! I told them to clear off, well I could have said anything but they got the hint, so it was on to the next stop which wasn't a great prospect in the rain on the mad roads.
The stop we found was in the port town of Ondarroa, there were loads of other campers right on the harbor so it felt allot safer. During the night and the next morning the weather didn't seem to be getting much better so we decided to go south a bit. The weather in the north was pretty lousy, the weather certainly wasn't what we were expecting from Spain. The Basque region is very hilly and forest covered, at the relatively high altitude and the Atlantic front this means lots of rain, we had spent the afternoon in Bilbao but the weather had started to get us down and the race was on to actually find some nice weather.
Further south towards a town called Haro the landscape seemed to be taking a more stereotypical Spanish look, long roads surrounded by open fields, but surprisingly more mountains further south with Snow! The weather held out so we found a campsite to freshen up. So mostly this week we have been heading west trying to escape the rain which seems to follow us and visiting lots of towns along the way which all have there own very distinct identity. The next town, Vincent we visited was fiercely pro Basque. loads of ETA protest graffiti and banners, it was a nice town though and we luckily stumbled upon a spring parade. Then on to Burgos which seems more wealthy where all there old buildings have been lovingly preserved. Then on to Leon, quite a big city and on to Astorga, where we by chance found a Gaudi building, there was also a bull ring next to our free camp spot, . I guess its only open at the weekend which is a shame as I would have like to have gone, not sure if Sharon approves being a veggie, though she tells me they don't kill the bull in Portugal so maybe there will be a chance to go there. In Astorga we had our first act of random kindness, when a English bloke in another VW westy stopped and gave us a dozen eggs because his chucks had laid too many!
Spain has defiantly grown on us, I think we enjoyed France so much the culture shock was a bit much at first, but they defiantly have the right outlook on life with longer days working but with the long lunch break, then followed by lots of socialising and generally enjoying themselves. I think we could adjust to it very easily!
So finally this brings us to our current haven, I think we will spend another day here before we head south through Portugal. The drive from Astorga was long and varied with some stunning roads and scenery, very hilly as we passed along, 'green Spain' but when we finally spotted the sea we knew it was the right choice. As we got closer the clouds disappeared and the afternoon sun shone off the sea, it was the perfect setting we had been looking for.