And boy, do we look pasty- we need some sun.
After a few weeks with family in UK and me (somehow miraculously) landing a great job for September, we’re back on the road, somewhat unexpectedly ending up on the northern coast of Spain. It went like this:
Me: Where shall we go?
Sam: Where’s the cheapest place out of London?
Me: Santander. I think it’s in Spain.
Sam: As in the bank? Ok, book it.
And so here we are. We landed in Santander and it was such a nice treat- we didn’t know what to expect, having done no research and (for the first time ever) not having our trusty Rough Guide. It was such an interesting place- long stretches of gorgeous coastline interspersed with cafes and pretty architecture. It took a couple of days for our Spanish to kick back in properly but now we’re back into it, it’s as if we never stopped speaking it.
The hotel we stayed at was a definite winner- super cheap and comfy with excellent water pressure (regular readers will be aware of how Sam feels about water pressure.) After a couple of days there walking our socks off, we took a bus to Bilbao- the only thing we knew about here was that there was a football team (admittedly, only Sam knew this.) Now, this is the most amazing place for a weekend break- after 3 days here we rank it way above Barcelona, Berlin, Paris, Nice etc. We’d recommend it to anyone. Bilbao is seriously impressive. The whole city is so diverse- great architecture, modern galleries, fantastic beaches and the coast only 30 mins away, a great riverfront with so many cafes and bars and, most importantly pintxos.
Northern Spain are big pintxos believers- they’re a kind of tapas type dish which are available in pretty much every bar we’ve seen. On weekends, the locals really go to town and do pintxos crawls- effectively going from one bar to another (morning, afternoon, night, they’re not fussy) to drink and eat these delicious bar snacks. We paid an average of 1.5 euros per pintxos, and they were fantastic. The bar is piled high with them and you just get what you want and pay at the end. YUM!
We’ve walked an unbelievable amount- we feel totally reenergised for travelling and it’s as if we’re starting in Ho Chi Minh all over again. We’re not sure how long this feeling will last but we’re enjoying it whilst it’s here.
It’s been really warm the last few days but today was a scorcher so we took the metro 30 mins out to the coast, to the town of Getxo, to visit the beaches there. As well as spectacular beaches, there was a coastal walk (which Sam begrudgingly came on with me.) Obviously the sun makes everything seem better but we had such a great day and managed to repair some of the damage the UK has done to our fabulous tans.
The only downside to Bilbao is the price of accommodation-no matter how hard we looked we couldn’t get anything for our budget- Peru and Bolivia seem very far away when looking on Hotels.com and Airbnb. However, we did manage to get a lovely hotel for 50 a night- not ideal but it’s luxury for us and we are enjoying it immensely!
Tomorrow it’s off to San Sebastian, about 1.5 hours along the coast for (hopefully) more sun and pintxos. I’m sure there’ll be some culture too but it’s mainly for the sun and pintxos.