Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sometimes Your Plans Just Change on the Fly

Wednesday, 13 May, 2015:


Today's planned leg was simple and straightforward enough. No visiting of Spanish American football luminaries and stops in Santander and Bilbao before arriving in San Sebastian/Donostia for the night.

Of course, we could not possibly leave Gijón without breakfasting first. After all, it is the most important meal of the day!

Just outside of our Hotel Principe
de Asturias we found this treasure

Quaint but solid food


Time to load up the car one more time.

The Michelin Man coming . . .

. . . and going

More touring of the ancestral homeland

Lush country

Lots of tunnels and bridges along
Spain's northern coastline

Los Picos de Europa

More of Los Picos de Europa

During the first half hour of today's drive we actually talked and listened to each other for once. We agreed that Santander sounded like another big city with nothing miraculous to see so we opted to keep driving a bit farther.

Instead we opted to stop here

We had heard a lot of good things about this sea port village from my sisters, cousin Geli and from Daniel Castañon. Thus we took a chance and got off the Autovia.

Nice architecture . . .

. . . and a CASTLE TOWER too!

A required Sidreria,
not open

Noble buildings

An old church was found and explored

Common color in Asturias

I like the City Seal

We should be members given the
number of kilometers we are racking
up in Galicia and Asturias

We have to get to
Donostia/San Sebastian by 20:45

A quick mention about this dual named city in Spain's Basque Country before we get there.

It is known as San Sebastian in Castilian and as Donostia in the Basque tongue.

Can't we all just get along?

A required Sidreria,

Good locals atmosphere
complete with . . . 

. . . vintage Llanes locals

Sidra bottles are always green and
without labels

Dessert anyone?

The Camino Northern Route
runs through Llanes

Laurie loves sycamore trees

Llanes' beach

Yep, we are falling in
love with Llanes

Inlet leading to the beach
we just saw

The inlet can be fiercely defended
from pirates if need be

Man made jetty

Popeye's boat

Wildflowers growing out of
the rocks surrounding the inlet

Wait, those jetty building
cement cubes look different

Thet're painted!

Laurie just had to check this out

Lots of color in Llanes

Of course Laurie liked the
one with the grapes


Wait, Mama Clemente opened up a 
restaurant in Llanes without telling us?

Again, Laurie likes horses

We really liked Llanes and are already coming back but with the idea of staying a few nights.

Meanwhile, we pushed on to Bilbao

This town can scare you
and stop your hiccups

After leaving wonderful little Llanes, it happened again. Laurie and I had another meaningful discussion.

She asked about my trip to Bilbao earlier this year when we played the Santurtzi Coyotes. I told her that it was a nice town with lots of good food spots and the marvelous Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Gehry.

She asked if the city was much different from other large Spanish cities we have visited over the years. The answer was "No."

How about the Guggenheim Museum building? It is fascinating from the outside and does look a lot like Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles that we've seen before?

We opted to skip Bilbao as well and just push on to San Sebastian/Donostia.

Wait, what does it say on the bottom
of that sign on the right?

Here we come

Guernica was the scene of the Nationalist's infamous 1937 Spanish Civil War bombing raid on Republicans aided by the German Condor Legion and some Italian bombers as well.

It was Market Day in Guernica when the bomb runs were made destroying buildings and families concentrated in the market square to buy food.

Guernica's two important strategic sites, a bridge and a weapons factory were untouched in this dastardly raid.

Overlooking the nicely rebuilt city

The old tree of the Basque government

The tree trunk in the middle of this monument had a lot of symbolic importance to the Basque people. The region's various government officials had for centuries convened their governmental meetings under this tree in Guernica.

The symbolic importance of the city of Guernica to the psyche of the Basque people was not lost on General Franco in planning this air strike.

Inside the current Basque Regional
Government House

The tree is everywhere

Nice chandelier in the main
meeting room

Delegates, take your seats

Outside the Museum of Peace

More Camino signs in Guernica

The Museum of Peace houses many relics from the bombing.

A belt in Republican flag colors

Workers UNITE!!!

Bombers in the sky

Preserved bombing rubble

Singed books


Eerie bombers above a copy of
Picasso's Guernica

A mosaic copy of Picasso's Guernica

The bombing happened on a
Guernica square just like this one

An interesting historical stop to say the least.

On to Donostia/San Sebastian!

Our hotel in San Sebastian/Donostia

We finally arrived, time for dinner and a quick look at this Basque city.

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza

Donostia/ San Sebastian beach

A nice public garden

Lion love?

Did Miguel Indurain ride in this one?

Narrow Basque street

Strange new art on an
ancient church wall

St. Sebastian taking a few for the team

Three insane sauces for your Patatas:
Bravas, Diabolicas and Satanicas

I'm good with the Patatas Bravas, gracias!

The Casa Alcalde looked like a good spot


LOTS of delicious pintxos

In Basque Country they are called pintxos, not tapas.

Yes, that IS a pigskin on the ceiling

We did not dare to ask what was stiffen in it.



In another bar having a post pintxos cafè
during the Real Madrid-Juventus game

He was hanging on every play,
obviously a Real Madrid fan

The 1-1 tie (shocking) eliminated RM from the tournament and sent Juventus to the Champions League finals in Berlin against Barça.

The just in from Donostia/San Sebastian
"Is it possible . . ."

Sunset in the
San Sebastian/Donostia Harbor

Another GREAT day for us but I've had it, no more visits to cities with two names.

Next Circumnavigation Tour Stop: Toulouse, France


Olivier R said...

George i think it's Saint Sebastien and not Saint Jerome... And it's "Pintxos".
Donostia means "san Sebastian" btw it's not an "other name". don means saint in basque and Sebastien is Saustin. Donsaustin has been transformed with the time into Donostia. St Jean de Luz in basque is Donibane. Jean in basque being Iban.

George said...

Merci as always Olivier for your input!

It was so much fun seeing all of you!!!