Leaving Spain

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Over the last two weeks we have driven the length and bredth of beautiful Spain. We left Siurana and drove down the Eastern Coast (Costa Blanca and Costa de Almeria). Dramatic limestone cliffs, turquoise water, sleeping in the car and near-misses with the civil guard were amongst the interesting experiences we had.

We left the Eastern coast, driving inland to a world famous climbing area called El Chorro. Here we bumped into some Kiwis (Phil & Tom) we´d met previously at Siurana. They showed us some beautiful routes on the one day we had climbing there. Very reluctantly we moved on to the central western area of Spain, known as Extremedura. Extremedura is a massive area, and as such the variety of landscapes we saw were mindboggling. One day we were watching hundreds of vultures circling limestone cliffs in a gorge, and the next we found ourselves in falling snow as we drove North.

Last week we were in Cantabria (the North West area of Spain), exploring sea side villages, and making attempts at absorbing Spanish Culture - most of which failed pretty miserably! On Friday we drove to Vitoria, in Basque Country, to meet our friends Ander and Olaia. For the last two nights we have stayed in their home, and they´ve shared with us a side of Spain we previously just could not break into! Basically the language barrier makes it impossible for us to know what´s going on anywhere, but with Ander and Olaia, it´s wonderfully easy! We´ve been out for peitxos (tapas in Basque language), drinks, been to Bilbao to see the Guggenheim, they´ve explained traditions, politics, history, how to swear in Spanish... it´s been the such a rich, fun experience. And then there´s the fact that we have had a warm, soft bed to sleep in for the last two nights - muchos lujoso!

It´s now too cold to sleep in the car, so our drive through the Pyrenees to the French Alps is going to be a quick one. We´re hoping to stop in Andorra for some tax-free ski gear on the way.

Its been quite a whirlwind tour of Spain. Over the next week or so we´ll post photos and more stories from our travels over the last two weeks.

Simon and myself with Olaia and Ander - The most welcoming of people! In case you were wondering, Olaia is wearing a wig, and Ander´s feet are enourmous.


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