Where's Frankie?

A brush with the law

Tuesday 12th May

The plan was to leave Caberceno really early, get to Bilbao early in the morning, park up and get a bus into the city and have a good days touring but as usual we were up late and the drive took far longer than we had anticipated. We even changed plans near to Bilbao and aimed for Portugalete, a suburb north of Bilbao and famed for it’s novel bridge.

Imagine two columns with a beam across at high level. Suspend a short piece of bridge from the top beam and just move that bit backwards and forwards. It all looked really easy on the map but in real life Portugalete is a bustling town with a maze of one way streets, steep hills and lack of parking. We did manage to see the bridge in between buildings but couldn’t stop and eventually ended up about to enter a one way street with a police car coming towards us.

Luckily they were very nice to us, smiling until we asked if we could keep going and then turn round, they insisted that we reverse which is always a nervous time for me. It’s amazing how many people will stop and stare and how few will try and help but we got out of it in the end, changed plans again and aimed for the “cheap” aire.

We’ve got two aires listed in our book and Camper Contact, one at €10 per night and the other at €15 per night. That’s 5 litres of sangria so guess where we went. We arrived just after a Dutch couple and managed to get in the gates by reversing in, it was very tight and posts were in the wrong place. There were no signs and no services but we both hooked up to the electric points and caught a bus into the town centre, jumping off as soon as we saw the building we had come to see.

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And this is the roundabout next to our bus stop, that’s what I call a roundabout, fountains, footpaths, trees, benches and sunshine.

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And this is the first glimpse of the building we had come to see, the Guggenheim Museum. Designed by American architect, Frank O Gehry the building is meant to symbolise strength, independence and the Basque country’s industrial heritage. To the front right of the museum you can just make out “The Puppy”, a 60 ton sculpture covered in multicoloured plants. As you can see it all looks a bit green, that’s because twice a year they replant the sculpture and you’ve guessed right, they do it in May and October and were just finishing it off. It takes 20 people 9 days to completely replant the sculpture with over 33,000 mixed plants. Judging by the leaf shapes i would say it was a mix of Begonias, Impatiens and Petunias.

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And this is what it will look like if you hang around long enough.

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Following are a number of shots of the Museum as we walked around it, of course we couldn’t go in, it’s closed on a Monday.

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Once I had taken photos from every angle we headed towards the old part of town, Lucy’s feet were aching so she needed liquid refreshment. The old town was lovely, rows and rows of shops, mostly closed due to siesta time.

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Heres a photo for Lucy’s mum, ground floor of a huge material shop.

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And wasn’t I lucky that the shops were closed. This was very nearly Darcy’s new get up.

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Bilbobus, Give us a ring and we’ll come and pick you up.

We found a bar, they had Licor 43, we ran up a tab that would make Mick Monk’s eyes water but did loads of internetting which we’ve missed for the last few days. We got back on the bus and headed back to Frankie only to be greeted by the Dutch couple with the words “Ve haf troubles”. It turns out that we are not in an aire, we are in a car park and they want us out. I’ve had a drink, Mr Dutchy has had a drink and we don’t want to move so we head to the reception area and have a word.

I left all the talking to my new Dutch friend and he was angry telling the receptionist that we can’t move, we’ve been drinking, he’s going to call the police at which point the receptionist replied, “If you don’t move I will call the Police and tell them you have been drinking”. At this point I thought it best that we quietly walk away and move on. We had been laying it on a bit about how much we had drunk but we don’t want another brush with the law.

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The expensive aire in Bilbao is only half a mile away from the first and what a view. Two tiers holding 90 motorhomes all with electric and water on tap. Free wifi from the office but the iBoost aerial paid off again and we got a great signal inside Frankie. In front of us is the Rio Nervion and just behind the Carthago (the motorhome on the right) is the Athletic Club Bilbao football stadium.

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And then it was night time.


Next morning bright and early we were off site by 11.45am. I had been doing a bit of paperwork, bills to pay, accounts to set up, invoices to print, etc – it’s hard work being a business man in this day and age. Our aim was a small town called Zumaia, along the coast from Bilbao and this is what we found. The aire itself is on an industrial estate and there is still workshop noise going on now at 10pm but immediately in front of us is a cycle path and a river. We took a walk along the path which went for miles along the river, past the town and along the breakwater.


This is the view looking back. The town is on one side of the river and a marina and ship yard on the other.


Through the town there are covered walkways made from London Plane trees as far as I can make out. The town is very nice, the aire is less nice but it is full up and we don’t have far to go tomorrow.

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