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Destination Spain

After a lovely two weeks knowing more of France and my cousin Serge is now time to head to Spain. A 7-hour drive with 35 deg C temperatures turned into heavy rain close to the border with Spain and lots of traffic passing Biarritz, great to see the coastline and the mountains in the background, but this is where taking the toll roads would pay off! Mind you, the non-toll roads is where you find the small restaurants selling great food and coffee!!!

Destination Spain - Basque Country And Cantabria. Before heading South to Andalucia.

My Sat-nav has not been updated and the Spanish roads are full of dangerous curves as this is mountain country, also many new roads and new roads under construction. More of a spaghetti of roads, then the road network I have been using in France. Welcome to Spain!
I had to reset my destination many times as Sat-nav got confused to which road I was travelling on.
The junction coming off the main road may have 3 choices and even on a turn, there could be a split into other directions.
Hitting the wet mountain road, become very slippery on the sharp corners, possible diesel on the road from the many trucks that take this route. I soon found myself over steering and had to back the power off to gain control. Is a good idea to travel in the morning and for 2 hours at a time or take plenty of coffee stops!

I was getting tired and it was dinner time, so I took the next slip road and found a place to park for the night. It was next to the motorway but free.

Wild Camping Tolosa
Wild Camping Tolosa

Soon as I was parked up I took a walk along the river Oria, more of a small canyon and on the other side was tall apartments going towards the town. It was Sunday evening and it had stopped raining. Being Spain the Spanish were beginning to come out to the evening air and take a walk or were meeting with family and friends in the many squares.
I continued walking and found the beautiful Medieval centre of town, with narrow streets and tall buildings that had a nice feel about it.
The town is called Tolosa and is in the Basque country and is off the tourist trail, which is part of the charm visiting. I was glad to visit and to know the town, it's good that the Basque people can keep their traditions alive. I highly recommend a stop and some time to visit here.

Tolosa is a town and municipality to the south of Donostia-San SebastiƔn in the Basque province of Gipuzkoa, Spain. It is located in the valley of the river Oria and is overlooked by Uzturre, a local iconic mountain

The next morning I drove through the town of Tolosa and stopped the other side of town (The more modern side) and found an art deco restaurant called Fronton that had a great feel and sold a good coffee. I drunk my coffee before setting off to Bilbao, a 2-hour drive. On route more mountains with high peaks and winding roads with many trucks and more motorways being constructed high overpasses built from concrete. So high it does not look like it can defy gravity. The Basque country is very industrial and probably need to build new roads to take the heavy loads.

Diesel in Spain 1 euro/liter and I am still getting 40 mpg.

Trucks and high motorways 

Arriving in Bilbao, I thought I had arrived in a Colombian city, it's not a place on my list to visit, but glad I did! Even the radio station "Tropical" was Colombian playing Colombian music and adverts for local Colombian businesses. I was heading to Bilbao to meet a Colombian friend for lunch, I arrived early as she was at work until 1 pm, so I tried some of the many tapers bars as I had only had coffee for breakfast. I tried the Spanish omelette with tuna "tortilla" made with potatoes, onion, and tuna. It was very tasty and washed down with a cold beer. That bar had no water, so I walked down the street and found a bar and had a coffee, this is when I started noticing many Colombians living and working in Bilbao. I met my friend who is also Colombian and we went to the corner shop and bought plantains. Then to her apartment where we chatted and she prepared a Colombian dish, chicken cooked in tomatoes and onion Sauce, rice and fried plantains. We only had two hours for lunch as it was time for her to return to work.

After Bilbao, I continued along the notorious Atlantic coast of Northern Spain, Bay of Biscay. I found a nice spot for the night right on the Cantabria coast with small rugged bays called "Playa Isla" with sandy beaches.

Playa Isla

I arrived when many people are now leaving as its becoming the end of school holidays. It rained heavy most of the night, but it is nice sitting in the camper looking across the Atlantic.

Play Isla
Play Isla
I woke up to clear skies, calm and clear waters. Where a few people are canoeing and snorkelling. I will stay here for another night, time to relax from driving, washcloths and update Blog!

Spain has a lot to offer the backpacker. From remote mountain to vibrant cities and seaside towns. Not to mention the food and culture.

I met with my beautiful Argentinan friend who knows her coffee. Who is a master barista and works at Moderno Coffee & restaurant in Suances and she kindly showed me around, Santander. Not a city I thought of visiting but was worth knowing.
A large port with a walkway along the city to the coast where there are beaches. The old city is full of tapas bars and restaurants that get busy at lunchtimes.

It was a cloudy day but hot. The afternoon turned to rain. The north coast is known as the green coast. I don't mind the rain today as I had a great day.

Free parking - At the building Festivals de Cantabria in Santander.

That afternoon I drove 1/2 hour to a seaside town Suances at Camping Suances. The next day turned out sunny and hot so I walked along the coast at Playa de La Concha. The sea here has big waves and is known to sufferers. It's also where the Ria de San Martin de la Arena meets the sea.

Playa de La Concha
Suances at Playa de La Concha

Buen Provecho!
Spanish food and its culture with it are one of the hundred reasons I like to travel here.
Even "Pinchos" snacks have more flavour that you can't find easy back in England. Also, the culture here when eating at a table. Where these eating places can be found almost everywhere. Enjoying a glass of red wine with a meal. Wine in Spain is food and not a drug, drink it to enjoy it with a responsible attitude.

Tapas - when you order "una cana" a draft beer or a glass of wine. You can eat standing at the bar, that is a way of socialising and enjoying a little moment in life.

Cooking breakfast and lunch in the camper has been a pleasure. Lunch is a 2-hour affair and biggest meal of the day.
The tomatoes are the biggest I have ever seen and taste so good. Local oranges and tomatoes are full of juice as they have been sun ripped, not grown in polytunnels and been cold stored for supermarkets.

It has been good to meet two Spanish only speaking girls in my first few days in Spain, as it has made me use the little Spanish I know. Also to remember the Spanish food names that are only used in Spain

View MAP for all my camping & food stops in France & Spain


  1. All those roads sound daunting, hope you fine tranquillity soon.

    1. Hey Steve Thank you for your comment and concern, those road's are fun and part of the travel experience.

  2. So good to be true ! good food and nice views ; ) enjoy . Sandra C

  3. OK now I know how your trip in the north was! (Steve H.)


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