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Criss-crossing the Camino: 5 weeks in Northern Spain (and a bit of France)


Sep 24th, 2017, 05:19 AM
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Criss-crossing the Camino: 5 weeks in Northern Spain (and a bit of France)

This July I spent 5 weeks, mostly in Northern Spain. The first half was solo, by public transportation. The second half my husband joined me and we had a rental car.

I have posted a version of this trip report (with photos) on my blog at: http://andiamo.zenfolio.com/blog

The photos alone (and there are a LOT of them) are:
Basque France: http://andiamo.zenfolio.com/p432218271
Basque Spain: http://andiamo.zenfolio.com/p494569692
Castile y Leon: http://andiamo.zenfolio.com/p551756686
Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria: http://andiamo.zenfolio.com/p326887656
Navarra: http://andiamo.zenfolio.com/p59243952

The itinerary was:
London (2 nights)
Bayonne (4 nights) – day trips to Biarritz, St Jean de Luz, St Jean Pied du Port
San Sebastian (4 nights) – day trip to Hondarribia/Hendaye
Bilbao (3 nights) – day trip to Portugalete/Gexto
Santander (3 nights)
Burgos (3 nights)
Leon (2 nights) - leaving Leon we rented a car and did:
Astorga and Ponferrada en route to
Lugo (1 night)
Santiago de Compostella (2 nights)
Ribadeo (and Cathedral Beach) (1 night) Cudillero en route to
Oviedo (1 night)
Potes (1 night)
Santillana del Mar (3 nights) – day trips to Comillas, San Vicente and Altimara Caves
Laguardia (1 night)
Olite (2 nights) – day trip to Ujue, Monastery leyre, and Castillo Javier
Maddrid (airport) en route we stopped at Barderas Reales Desert

While I did a big loop that covered most of the Camino del Norte and Camino Frances, I did not do it in what most people would consider a logical sequence - but there was a logical reason for this. I can take a 5-week vacation but my husband can only manage about 2½ weeks. In previous years I’ve gone one or two places, then he’d fly over and we’d go another place (last year I went to the Baltics, met him in Italy and then we went to Greece, the year before I went to Malta, then we met and went to Italy, year before that I went to Norway, Poland and we met in Italy – you get the idea). But since this trip was to be just Northern Spain (with a few days in the Basque corner of France) I decided to do the larger cities on my solo portion (he prefers more rural areas, plus the cities are easily connected by bus) and then we rented a car for the second half. Thus I ended up crisscrossing the Caminos and doing more of a figure eight than a loop.

While I’m not a fan of one – or even two – night stays, sometimes they make sense and that was the case with this trip. Never felt rushed, felt I had a good amount of time and saw the things I wanted to see.

The first two days in London was just for logistical purposes – great airfare, I know London well and love to visit as often as possible if only for a few days. There was no way I could get from the US to Biarritz without long layover/convoluted routes costing far more. (And had the same experience last year when my destination was Estonia). Anyway, I love London, know my way around, stay in the same hotel so it’s a pleasure to have a day or two there to start my trips. My husband flew Aer Lingus to Madrid and we flew that together on the way home.

When I set out to put together an itinerary of Northern Spain including Basque France I knew of the Camino de Santiago but certainly it was not a focus of the trip. It was just coincidence that my trip was to be five weeks and that’s exactly how long most people take to walk it, if they do the entire route. But as the trip took shape I realized I would essentially cover most of the two most well known/well traveled Caminos, the Camino del Norte and the Camino Frances. And while I didn’t ‘walk’ either of them (technically) I did walk a total of 315 miles over the five weeks (the Caminos are ‘about 500 miles’, though you can get your certification for having walked it with as little as 112km/70 miles), and much of that was on one Camino or another. (My best day was 13.3 miles, worst was only 5, averaged 9.3 miles/day). But I traveled from place to place by bus and car and did my walking on day trips, and most of that exploring the cities, towns and villages rather than walking between them. As it turned out though, virtually every place I went was on a Camino – mostly those two main ones, but there are many more “Caminos” and I certainly found myself following the yellow arrows/ yellow scallop shells on blue background signs everywhere I went. Surrounded by pilgrims. It really became a focus of the trip much more so once I was there (as opposed to the planning stage) and I think made the whole trip more fun and interesting. They say the Camino ‘calls you’ and I certainly heard it, almost daily, saying ‘here I am’.
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Sep 24th, 2017, 05:30 AM
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Overall I enjoyed the trip immensely, saw some wonderful and amazing places, am glad I did it, probably would do the same itinerary again knowing what I know. In general I think 5 week trips are more enjoyable split between two or more distinct cultures/areas, and while this was a whole five weeks in just one third of one country (plus few days in Basque France which was pretty similar) there was quite a variety of landscape, weather and architecture which ranged from cool, green Galicia to the hot plains of Castile y Leon to Europe’s only desert.

Of course there is even more to see than I did, places I wish I’d had time to get to. And even in this small patch of northern Spain, the scenery and weather was different north of the mountains than south. But the food, the general ambiance, etc. – despite part of it being in Basque ‘country’ it was all pretty culturally similar. In fact, to me anyway, Basque France was clearly France and Basque Spain clearly Spain rather than feeling “Basque”. Only main difference I felt was the language. In Basque Spain everything was in Basque and Spanish. Elsewhere in Spain and in France it was Spanish (or French) but with English ‘subtitles’.

Language – I am terrible with languages, always have been (the only course I every flunked was French). But I type out ‘cheat sheets’ of common words and phrases and try to use local language to at least ask if they speak English or state that I don’t speak Spanish. Since I’ve been to Italy so many times I’ve found I can at least read at bit of Italian though I can’t say/understand much. Same with French. But in most of my travels I’ve found people in Europe do tend to speak at least a bit of English. This trip I found the least English spoken than just about anywhere else I’ve been including other parts of Spain. Still, I got along fine, everyone was willing to help. My best experience was the woman in Hondarribia who did the ‘chicken dance’ to tell me there was chicken in the sandwich I was buying. A few people essentially implied ‘if you don’t speak Spanish it’s your problem’ but most were more than willing to pantomime what they were trying to say and to try to understand me.

Weather – I’ll admit I am more weather – especially sun – dependent than most people. Maybe it’s just me, maybe it’s because photography is such a central focus of my trips (and with photography “it’s all about the light”). I can take it cool or hot and don’t much care, but I need sun most of the time. I guess that’s why I love Italy and Greece and Provence and southern Spain so much. Well I knew there was more of a possibility of rain in the north, after all it’s the ‘green’ part of Spain and places don’t get green without some rain. But I had quite a bit of rain/clouds. Of my 34 days only 14 were all or mostly sunny (and those mostly in Castilla y Leon, La Rioja and Navarra – only a handful of totally sunny days in the far north of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and Basque country). Not all the rest were complete washouts, but ‘partly sunny’ often meant only an hour or two.
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Sep 24th, 2017, 07:20 AM
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Lovely photos, but if you want to continue to extend the Santiago trail, there are even more starting points in France and even in Germany.

I have visited two of the starting points in France. First I went to Le Puy-en-Velay (also chosen by a huge number of Germans because, hey, it's a long walk from Germany):


And just recently, I visited Vézelay, another starting point:


So many people seem uncertain of what to see next when they visit Europe (after having seen Paris, London, Bruges, Rome...) that this could be an interesting theme for choosing places to visit.
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Sep 24th, 2017, 02:09 PM
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kerouac - I agree that sometimes it helps to have a focus for a trip - other than just a geographic area. That's why I think my trip really benefited from the Camino focus even though I didn't go in order to do the walk. Doing parts of one or more Caminos or visiting the various starting points is a great idea.

Driving in Northern Spain – Roads were excellent and well marked (though the route numbers didn’t always match up with the maps, and they tended to change – and then often change back again). Drivers were mostly rather courteous – not as fast as in Italy, no imaginary third lane like we found in Greece, less tailgating than in France. We lucked out and got a Fiat 500, which we’ve had on several trips in recent years (and which we like so much we are seriously thinking of buying one at home).

We didn’t have GPS and didn’t get lost (at least not seriously) or for very long (or in ways that GPS would have helped). We actually intended to get a local SIM card so we could use google maps but the store we planned to get it in the day we picked up the car was closed and then we found we really didn’t need it. Before the trip I had google-mapped directions to all the hotels, and picked the hotels largely with the criteria that they be pretty easy to find (and have parking) and printed all that out and I had a couple of paper maps that I had purchased on Amazon.

We found every hotel with no problem although in Santiago we missed turning down the street and then had an awful time getting back to it. In Oviedo we found the hotel easily but then drove to the churches and got lost finding the hotel on the way back. And getting to the car return at the Madrid airport was a horror but that was due to construction and lack of signage and GPS would not have helped in that case. Everything else was a piece of cake.

The first half of the trip I went from city to city by bus. Alsa buses go everywhere in Spain, are cheap, comfortable and while it takes a bit longer than driving yourself it is way less expensive (especially when it’s just one person) than having the car, parking, etc. I booked all the reservations on busbud.com and some of the buses were full so I’m glad I had a reservation, but this was summer, I think other times you could have just bought your ticket when you wanted to leave.

General impressions: lots of street music in every city. Benches! – now that’s one thing that Spain does better than most countries. Every city had lots of benches.
Siesta seemed longer (12:30 or 13:00 till about 17:00 in many cases) and more ‘complete’ than in most parts of Italy or France where it seems to be more like 14:00-16:00). And
Beware of DCC everywhere in Spain – usually they asked (and plenty of the time it’s just done in Euros) but several times they snuck in the conversion without asking).
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Sep 24th, 2017, 02:27 PM
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Great trip report and very helpful
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Sep 24th, 2017, 10:05 PM
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ttt for later
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Sep 24th, 2017, 10:14 PM
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Lovely photos Isabel!!
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Sep 25th, 2017, 04:12 AM
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Really nice report and photos remind me of our trip in an open top car.

busbud looks interesting but still needs a lot of data to be loaded, no use for southern italy. I think rome2rio has a big edge here.
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Sep 25th, 2017, 04:15 AM
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You do know the St James relics floated into the harbour in a stone boat. So nothing to do with trying to find an economic opportunity for this poverty driven part of Spain ;-)
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Sep 25th, 2017, 06:25 AM
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This is wonderful! I am reading your blog as well. We are planning a trip next spring that will include many of the places you visited. We are deliberately paring down the total number of accommodations and intend to base 5-7 days in one place in order to explore different areas. Based on your recent visit, can you give me your opinion on where you would stay if you had to choose one town in each of the following pairs?

Burgos vs Laguardia
Leon vs Oviedo

Again - we plan to visit both cities in each pair, but only stay in one of them. Would love your thoughts!
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Sep 25th, 2017, 08:06 AM
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Started by reading your blog first and, not to jump the gun but I am startled you did not find any meals to your liking in this part of Spain. I realize tastebuds are different, but northern Spain is one of the few places in Europe I go for a purely gastronomic vacation, and while I feel a real need to research restaurant choices in most other part of the world, northern Spain is one of the few where I feel confident that with just a little basic info & a willingness to ask locals along the way, I will end up with spectacular food.

Maybe part of the difference is that , when in Spain, I go with a big lunch, and a minimal dinner, and I travel with a hearty eater. But I generally find Galician food light and wonderful.

Is it possible that following the Camino landed you in lots of touristy restaurants? When I went to Galicia, I avoided everything about the Camino, and the one time I landed n a town with lots of people with seashells on their heads, it turn out to be the town with the least promising restaurants -- lots of cheap fried food.
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Sep 25th, 2017, 11:56 AM
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cheska and Jamikins- I'm glad you like the photos and hope the report is helpful

bilbo - I thought rome2rio was just an info site for planning purposes. Can you make reservations through them? Anyway, busbud was really pretty helpful, I think they added a euro or two to each reservation, but the tickets were cheap enough I didn't care, and it was very easy to use. So maybe they will expand to other areas.

AtlTravelr - if I had to choose I would pick Burgos and Leon. Loved all of them but those were two of my favorites of the whole trip. But I also loved those two hotels so that could be influencing my feelings. But also, we didn't have a car while staying in either of them so I'm not sure how easy parking and driving would be. I don't think either of those cities is that bad (we did drive out of Leon, picked the car up as we were leaving, and it was easy to drive out of). I know the hotel in Burgos (El Cid) had parking but since I didn't need it I didn't pay attention to the logistics of it. For both Laguardia and Ovideo I choose hotels specifically for ease of parking and driving and while that was fine, the hotels themselves were not the best of trip (not anything horrible, just not the best). So not so short answer - I would definitely visit all four towns and if I worked out the driving and parking for Leon and Burgos I would choose those towns. More going on, just lovely places to be in evenings, etc. (although great sunset from Laguardia).

massimop - actually I did not say that didn't find any meals to my liking. I loved the pinxos in Bilbao and San Sebastian and loved the desserts and coffee everywhere. Just that I found it hard to eat 'light', and especially low salt. Also, everyplace can not be your favorite, if you are going to compare or rank then something has to be at the top and something else at the bottom. And yes, we were in relatively touristy places most of the time. I'm sure if we were with a local who could take us to the best restaurants it would have made a difference - or if we had a budget that would have allowed top notch dinning - but unfortunately we didn't.
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Sep 25th, 2017, 12:07 PM
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"You do know the St James relics floated into the harbour in a stone boat. So nothing to do with trying to find an economic opportunity for this poverty driven part of Spain "

And don't forget the bit about the dragons in the sea. That adds plenty of credibility to the story.
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Sep 25th, 2017, 12:11 PM
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Sorry if you felt I misrepresented your feelings. When you wrote in your blog "But generally food in Spain was way less satisfying than Italy – but also less satisfying than most other countries I’ve been to. Probably my least favorite trip in terms of food" I was just startled by such a negative report of the food of this part of Spain.

You have given the impression you've traveled to many countries, and I know very few people who would rank this part of Spain as the gastronomic low point of Europe, even if it wasn't their favorite.

I've never eaten in high priced restaurants in northern Spain so I don't know if you would have liked to food better.

But if you "loved" the pintxos it appears you did get a chance o enjoy some of the highlights of this part of the world when it comes to eating.
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Sep 25th, 2017, 12:34 PM
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I'm so glad that you clarified your comments about the food in Northern Spain as I had the same negative impression as massipop. Your report is so beautifully written and your photographs are outstanding.
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Sep 25th, 2017, 01:07 PM
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OK, well glad we cleared up the food issue. I have to admit I'm not a foodie - and other than sweets - which were great here - I am more of a 'go to a market and put a picnic together' type than a connoisseur of fine dinning. So don't go by me on the food front.

So here's my take on the France part of the trip. This was my 9th trip to France, a country I really love. It wasn't my favorite place in France but I admit up front that I am very influenced by weather in terms of how much I like a place, and the weather for these four days was pretty awful.

Day 3 (Days 1 and 2 were London) – flew Easy Jet from Gatwick to Biarritz – fairly short, painless flight. A good number of the passengers were clearly on their way to start walking the Camino, Bayonne is the main town with decent transportation connections to St Jean Pied du Port. Biarritz airport is between Biarritz and Bayonne and actually the two towns kind of sprawl together into one area. There is a great bus system that takes you from the airport to either town center and then also runs between the towns. I loved that the buses were pastel stripped (it’s a ‘thing’ there, found on beach umbrellas and everything else). Also very cheap, 1€. The buses run every 20 minutes or so and it takes about half hour.

I checked into Hotel Cote Basque, which has seen better days. Not horrible but could use some spiffing up. I guess that’s what you get for 64€ (not including breakfast). The location is good, right across the street from the train station and the bus stop. I was taking daytrips to Biarritz, St Jean Pied du Port and St Jean de Luz, so for those reasons I’d choose the same location. It’s about a 10 minute walk to the main town and 15 to Place de Basque which is where the TI is and also the intercity buses to San Sebastian. The area around the train station is very worn and kind of dismal. The hotel and surrounding area are not someplace you’d want to linger, but if plan to be out all day it’s an OK place to crash. There is an Ibis Styles across the road which I would look into were I ever to come to Bayonne again, but I wouldn’t say don’t stay here.

Bayonne - I took a walk around Bayonne which is actually quite interesting. All half-timbered houses and a river running through it and a fairly impressive cathedral. Unfortunately it was very cloudy and gloomy and most of the stores were closed. The few that were open – and a good number of cafes, restaurants, bars – looked promising. I’m pretty sure on a lovely warm, sunny afternoon with everything open Bayonne is lovely but most of my time there it was pretty cool, cloudy, incredibly windy – and those things influenced my feelings. I got a couple sunny hours over the four days but mostly it was lousy weather.

I did go into the Cathedral and it’s cloisters and that was really quite impressive, some nice stained glass and painted ceilings, the cloister was pretty – but overall not on a par with many other cathedrals in Europe – or even on this trip.

Day 4 – Biarritz Cloudy and cool again but I definitely wanted to see Biarritz and it certainly was easy and cheap to get to. The A-1 bus drops off right by the TI Office in Biarritz which is in a cute pink castle like building (with a free WC across the street). Got a map. By then it was raining. A block towards the ocean is the “Marie” (town hall), which had a free Wi-Fi sign. The internet in the hotel had been not working since I got there so I was happy to duck in out of the rain and check my email. Still raining. Stood under the arcaded covering till it let up. Walked down to the beach. Must be nice when all those ‘Biarritz Stripped’ beach cabanas are up. It was so windy I could hardly stand up. Trees blowing sideways. Huge waves.

But it had stopped raining so I walked along the walkway that goes above the beach for a couple miles in each direction from the Casino, which is in the center. The old fishing ‘harbor’ is semi-scenic. There are a number of large rock outcroppings, two of which you can walk out onto (except they had closed gates due to the high winds).

Biarritz is one of the surfing capitals of Europe and, as a former surfer (decades ago) I was looking forward to watching them. But they had closed the beach due to excessively high winds. Bummer

By the time I got to the aquarium it had started raining again so I went in. Just a ‘so-so’ aquarium, not really worth the €15. But by the time I came out it had cleared up so I re-walked the whole area I had done in the morning. MUCH nicer in the sun. Makes a huge difference.

Back in Bayonne the sun was still shinning so I walked all over Bayonne. The half-timbered buildings are nice. Quite a lot of shopping opportunities. Much nicer than day before, more people out and about, some of the restaurants had outside tables, there were some musicians outside at a few places. What a difference the sun makes.

Day 5 – St Jean Pied du Port Another rainy day but I wanted to see the town and the train is only €7.6 each way so decided to go for it. There are a few trains per day but they are not all that frequent, I’d have a choice of either about 2 or 4 hours there. It’s only one train car, but nice and modern. Took just about an hour, along the river, past farms with cows and sheep, hills in the background.

The town of St Jean Pied du Port is about a 10-minute walk from the train station. I thought it would be one short street with a backpackers hostel and a couple stores and the ‘Camino office’ – where you get your ‘passport’. It’s actually a fairly long street, with about 20 hostels, plus a few hotels and quite a few shops and restaurants. And not everyone there was a hiker. There were quite a few ‘regular’ tourists as well. Makes sense as it is after all a UNESCO world heritage site.

The town is quite picturesque, even in the drizzle, with the river running through the center, a cute stone bridge and a little church with a clock tower.

I walked from one end of the town to the other (both ends have stone entrance gates) and was planning on starting to walk the Camino for an hour or so (and then back of course) but then the drizzle turned to actual rain and it didn’t look like it was going to clear up any time soon, I decided I could just make the next train which I did. Rained most of the way back.

So I have officially seen the ‘beginning’ of the Camino. The Camino office was crowded with a line to get a seat and have your paperwork filled out. Lots of stores to buy walking gear and clothes (I guess in case you decided you forgot something), plus of course places to buy a scallop shell on a string to hang off your pack. Little blue signs with the scallop shell on them pointing the way (starting at the train station and going through the town). And the town was cute too, and the train ride up there was scenic. Too bad it was such crappy weather.
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Sep 26th, 2017, 01:36 AM
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Day 6 - St Jean de Luz - Woke to – yes, more rain. And windy, and even colder than the other days, the high barely reaching 60F. So much rain I had to use the umbrella, so windy it broke the umbrella. There were a few times when it wasn’t actually raining but most of the day it was. I can deal with rain – or cold – or wind – just not all three at once (in July!) and that’s what this day (and the previous three days) had been. But I took the train to St Jean de Luz anyway – “What else had I got to do?” There seemed to be a train almost every hour so I wasn’t worried about getting back, but once I got there I did check on what my options were and it turns out there would be train in just over an hour and not another one for five more hours! Yikes. Anyway, despite the weather I opted for the six hours as one was not enough, and it did stop raining for short periods.

I can see why it’s a popular destination, lots of cute Basque looking buildings on one main shopping street and several shorter off-shoots, a long (probably) lovely beach, a fishing harbor with colorful boats. A castle like structure out in the harbor (hard to make out as the castle was the same color as the sea and the sky – all dark grey). I walked around in the rain when I first got there, thinking I’d probably go for the earlier train as it was NOT fun with the wind, the rain and the cold. But then just as I was about to go to the train station (nothing in the town is more than a ten minute walk from anything else) it stopped so I figured I’d stay, have a nice long lunch in a restaurant (tons of places offering €20 three course meals). So I walked around window shopping and taking photos till I got hungry, by then it was almost 2 pm but I thought nothing of it, the restaurants all looked full, people eat long late lunches in Europe. Well I picked a place, and it was good, but by the time I finished my first course (fish soup) the rest of the diners were finishing up and leaving and they brought me my second course immediately and I could just feel them wishing I’d finish quickly so they could close up. I ate my steak and potatoes and salad, and desert (Basque cake – not bad but not amazing either) and was out of there in 45 minutes with them literally locking the door before I was out from under the awning. So much for my two-hour lunch.

So after 5 horrid weather days I was really thinking about if this trip was a good idea or not. Cause I am just not cut out for five weeks of nasty cool weather. My mood is so sun dependent. And the two ‘things’ I most like to do on a trip – just BE there – sit in a café or on a bench, wander around enjoying old buildings, bridges, plazas, fountains, etc. – well that doesn’t work well in bad weather. And the other – exploring new places and taking photos – well obviously that doesn’t either. Fortunately things got better.

Day 7 - On to San Sebastian - I traveled from city to city on the first half of the trip on buses. I booked all of them on busbud.com and everything worked great. Mostly they were on Alsa buses which go everywhere in Spain. I also took them on previous trips in central and southern Spain; they are comfortable, punctual, and economic. In general I would probably say I prefer train travel but in this region the buses really worked well.

The bus to San Sebastian took 1½ hour despite being only about 40 km. The bus stopped in Biarritz and St Jean de Luz – sun was out – even from the bus it looked much better. Also in Heydene/Irun – which from the bus anyway did not entice. But San Sebastian looked wonderful as we pulled in. Bus station is almost right under the Maria Christina Bridge. The cathedral spire was visible so it was a really easy to know which direction to walk, and it was an easy,mostly pedestrianized walk. Lots of Parisian looking buildings. Found the hotel no problem, about a 15-minute walk. And did I mention it was NOT raining.

Hotel Niza is really nice. Beautiful lobby, gorgeous old lift, right on the beach. The single room was very decent size with comfy bed, desk and chair, easy chair, nice bathroom. Everything modern and very clean. Only drawback was the ‘window’ looks out on airshaft, can’t even see the sky. Great AC, easy access Wi-Fi. Great lighting. 76€ These single rooms are very affordable because of the lack of window (and they are very upfront about it on their web site), the regular rooms, especially those with the sea view are much more expensive. The location is amazing.

I went out and walked all over San Sebastian. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. It’s part Paris, part Barcelona, on the ocean with an incredible beach and very long (2km), wide promenade - Paseo de la Concha - with its elegant white iron balustrades and background of well-manicured buildings (of which Hotel Niza is right in the middle). Absolutely gorgeous. The bay of La Concha is beautiful, and the buildings behind it are elegant. The promenade leads at one end to a funicular up to the Mounte Igueldo viewpoint, and at the other end to ’El Muelle’, the little fishing/yacht port, behind which paths wind up to Monte Urguell, topped by the soaring statue of Christ gazing over the city (a kind of Rio de Janeiro aura). Everything is well maintained, there are benches absolutely everywhere, street performers, flowers, gorgeous buildings and the ocean. Did I say gorgeous city.

The old town is adorable, with two pretty, old churches – plus a very impressive cathedral just below the old town. There are several nice squares, Plaza de Gipuzkoa has a little garden with a pond with swans and a waterfall in it. That’s where the bus to Honoradabia leaves from. Classy place for a bus stop. The river is the least impressive thing but in any other city would be a main feature, several nice bridges, nice walks/parks on either side.

I walked from the hotel, roughly in the middle of the promenade, through the old town and all the way around the point that Monte Urgull is on (but didn’t climb up it, saved that for another day). After a short siesta I went out again and explored the rest of the old town, walked along the river from the Maria Christina Bridge to the Alameda Boulevard and back along the promenade.
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Sep 26th, 2017, 03:31 AM
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isabel - thanks for responding to my question! I used your photos to quickly ask my husband "which city, Burgos or Laguardia" and he instantly chose Burgos so we will definitely look to stay there. Still toying with the other city - had originally decided to stay in Leon (and again, love your photos and details on the city) and Santiago de Compestola, but your pictures of Cathedral Beach and Cudillero have me wishing to also stay out at the coast! Again, thanks for your help and for your detailed trip report.
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Sep 26th, 2017, 10:29 AM
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I know how you feel about sunny weather, we just left Switzerland - an unusually cool start to autumn - and I took almost all my photos in the 20 minutes the sun came out in Thun because it looked so much happier then. The water and the buildings look dreary and insipid on a grey day.
Adelaidean is offline  
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Sep 26th, 2017, 02:01 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,234
AtlTravelr - Personally I'd probably do a couple of nights up on the coast in order to visit both of those places plus Oviedo. I think you said you were preferred bases to short stops but I really think it would work better to split the stay and maybe do 2 on the coast and the other 3-5 in Leon (where you could easily do day trip to Astorga and Ponferrada, etc.)

Adelaiden - yup "it's all about the light".
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