Un País Nuevo: The Basque Country.

 

 

El País Vasco. Late August. No more scorching sun. The heat of the Andalusian landscape and the dry climate is beyond us now. The camera shots are mainly when it’s dry and when the sun is out. It takes time to put on the waterproof case!

Didn´t they say before that the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain? Not entirely true. We escaped the campsite early this morning to bright and blue skies. However, we were wary of the storms ahead. Yesterday saw us leave the Heminway Hostel. With a day´s rest, we were just finding our feet there.

Day 29 Stage 22: 
Pamplona – Etxarri Aranatz (45km)

Brendan blew a tyre. Again. Third time so far. He found himself stuck on the motorway. 25km to the next bike shop. Tim came to the rescue with a spare and although a different size tyre and tube size (25mm), it was enough to get us over the line and to the next town. We found a very reasonably priced campsite. Three of his tyres have now blown. Eight tubes used. However, we are learning a lot about bikes and gaining much more confidence.

Day 30 Stage 23:
Extarri Aranatz – Azpeitia (55km)

Tough climb today but there was no rain and no heat.

The people we have met here are very proud to be Basque. They don´t see themselves as Spanish at all. Some interesting conversations regarding history and politics.

We are monitoring the weather forecast. Not looking too good over the next couple of days. We´ll be cycling very slow and probably getting very wet. We will be hitting France soon and considering we both have limited French, communication is going to be difficult. We think we´re going to be counting on meeting kind generous people more than anything else.

In the meantime, all valuables, electronics and dry clothes will go into plastic bags in panniers. Confused as to how we got here? Sometimes when we´re tired, we forget where we´ve come from too. Tomorrow we will move from Azpeitia to the coast and move eastwards towards San Sebastian. Brendan walked this route on his camino adventure two years ago. If you´re confused on where we´re going, check our route page for more details. We are often confused and take wrong turns but luckily Google maps gets us back on track fairly quickly.

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We departed Córdoba on August 1st. Hitting San Sebastian was a real landmark moment because it was the first time we reached the coast and it was also our final stop in Spain before moving into France. The moment was quite surreal in the fact that we were also on schedule and that it marked the beginning of a new month.

The following day would see us move through Irún on the border and into French territory. Biarritz and Vieux-Boucau and further north into Bordeaux. We´ll fill you in soon!

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Crossing the border was almost a seamless transition. We were expecting a big sign or something saying ¨BIENVENUE A FRANCE¨. Nothing of the sort. No customs, no police or patrol, no walls or fences… At least not visible on the roads that we took. There was a sudden change in terms of sign posts and getting used to the French alright. The many roundabouts caught us off guard too but we quickly found our way.

Click here to see Brendan just as he crossed our first border!!!

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