Thursday 14th May
We’ve no idea what they were making in the industrial units at Zumaia but they were still going at midnight although it did go quiet after that. Didn’t hear anything else until 7am when lorries started moving about.
We followed the coast road around the coast to Donostia but there was a lot of mist spoiling what could have been a very nice drive, must try it again with better weather and arrived at the aire in Donostia by 10.30am. We’d been told that the aire here gets very busy and it is best to arrive early to get your space. We arrived before some people had left! Sue O’Meara was here last week and gave it a really good rating in Camper Contact, if it’s good enough for Sue…
Quick set up, we needed blocks on three corners to gain some semblance of normality and off on foot into the town (should have gone by bike but you live and learn). Our neighbour told us that the weather 10 miles in land is glorious, really hot and sunny, we tried to hide our disappearing suntans.
And look at what we get to see. There is evidence of people in this area over 24,000 years ago but after the British and Portuguese visited in 1813 and ransacked and burnt the city to the ground (they were trying to get Napoleons army to go home) the town was reconstructed and became the capital of the region.
King Alfonso XII of Spain’s widow, Maria Cristina spent her summers here with her retinue and it became a popular tourist destination to escape the summer heat. The weather is very much milder here than in other parts of Spain and it is very popular with the wealthier people from Madrid who have very expensive summer houses here. Above is the Miramar Palace where she stayed and which is now the town hall. Behind this building is the older part of the town.
And more narrow pedestrianised streets with the Basilica de Santa Maria in the far distance. There is a tapas bar every few yards and we needed a break from all the hard walking we’ve been doing. First bar we went into was typical, no seats, you just stand at the bar and choose your tapas from the bar. The food looked fantastic but this must have been the prawn bar, every dish had a large prawn on it and Lucy doesn’t do prawns. I asked the bar man if he had anything without prawns and he pointed to the calamari, another dish Lucy can’t deal with!
A large party came in on some sort of tapas crawl so we paid and moved on.
And here is Lucy in her favourite pose. Just down the road was this bar with food that she could eat. The place was empty so the bar man here could explain to us what we need to do. Grab a plate, find stuff you like, show him your plate and that’s it.From the left going anticlockwise we have tuna and cream cheese in a roll, ham and cheese croquette, cod in batter, cheese croquette, tuna and gherkin and then tuna stuffed pepper.
It would have been so easy to take loads more food, look at it all stacked up and this is just a quarter of what was on display. Behind you can see some of the people from the previous bar who were following us on their tapas crawl.
This is the cider pourer, a large brass like arm which squirts a jet of cider along the bar. I’ve drawn in the cider path to give you an idea of what it does. By now the bar was jam packed with people and even the Spanish visitors didn’t really know what you had to do. Lucy got talking to the lady next to us who didn’t speak any english and Lucy wasn’t about to let on she can speak Spanish. When I got back from the loo she said, “I had a really nice chat with that lady, don’t know what she said though!”
Another side street and tapas bars every few feet.
Walking back we found the bigger shops with all the expensive gear so I made sure Lucy didn’t stop and browse, we don’t need expensive stuff. The church is the Cathedral delBuen Pastor, the spire was very pretty.
Do you remember the first photo on this blog? This is what is on top of the hill, a 12m high statue of Jesus which was hidden by the earlier mist. Next time we come back to Donostia it willl be sunny and we’ll spend more time here.
We left early and made our way to Carrefour, this is likely to be our last day in Spain and we need to stock up with all the things that we can’t buy in France – like wine, water, coffee and cheese. Actually alcohol is cheaper in Spain so we’re not completely stupid, just partly.
We’ve stopped just by the border, still in Spain at a town called Hondaribbia.Being right on the frontier it is a place rich in history. Old houses decorated with coats of arms are encountered when strolling through the old town but what really fascinated me was that the Infanta Maria Teresa married Louis XIV of France here. Being King of France means that you are a very busy chappie so he sent his Minister for Spain to be his stand in at the ceremony.
There are two aires in Hondaribbia, a free aire and a €12 a night aire. Guess which one we are at, it’s 3 miles out of town so we might not get to see the town itself. What we do have is an old fort. Can’t tell you too much about the fort though because it is closed until June.
It looks like they have tunnelled into the mountain top and put in gun emplacements aimed at France and towards the sea. There is a deep “moat” all the way around it with windows on the inner walls. There was a footpath all the way round so we could get sneak peeks in-between the bushes.
There were some big birds flying about, there were five but they wouldn’t stand still. As you can see the sky is nice and blue. By the time we got back to Frankie, had our lunch and decided to get our chairs out the mist came rolling in, the rain started falling and we’ve been watching rivers running down the car park. The weather has allowed us the opportunity to plan where we are going next, all the guides have been out, all the maps and all the apps opened – we haven’t got a clue where we are going!