4th March to 8th March
After an early morning walk with Rita along the riverside at Aguillar we packed up and headed towards Santander as we had chosen Lierganes, Cantabria as our destination for the night. We did not know too much about this village apart from it had a free motorhome stop over and judging by our map it sat on the outskirts of the Parque National Macizo. Two things surprised us on this journey and the first was that the weather was at a complete contrast to the last few days and was positively sunny and warm.
Travelling up the A67 whilst the sun blazed lighting up the snow capped mountains
The second surprise was to find ourselves in the middle of a street market where we had to squeeze through the middle of the stalls parting the crowd as only a 3.5 tonne motorhome would! As we crawled through the market it was interesting to see people’s different reactions, some just darted out of the way, others seemed to make no effort at all and strolled nonchalantly in front of us while others waved and encouraged us to keep going signalling that the motorhome car park was at the other side of the market. It was one of those motorhoming moments where we wished we had taken some photos from our cab view point but needless to say we missed the opportunity instead focusing on getting to our destination.
After a quick walk around the market we decided to make the most of the glorious sunny weather and sit on a terrace of a local bar. Here the friendly elderly barman served us beer and wine, each round coming with a free tapa of course.
Unusual dreadlock hanging plants were evident in most gardens around the old village, Lierganes.
On the following morning we walked around the old village centre and then up on of the surrounding hills to an old church. We both agreed that Lierganes certainly warrants it’s title “one of Spain’s most beautiful villages’ and the nearby area was quite striking with it’s hills and rocks proving popular with walkers.
Sharon and Rita up in the hills outside Lierganes.
Once we had circled Santander we picked up the coast road at Laredo and it was our intention to drive from here to San Sebastian stopping enroute at Lekeito for the night. This coast road is fantastic, as every few kilometres the road winds back down to a massive bay where another coastal town lies. Everyone of these towns looked amazing with the crisp waves crashing into the cliff lined bay or beach. We had chosen Lekeito as it had a large free aire and we were not disappointed with either the town or the parking place. Old three/four storey buildings lined the marina and harbour, giving way to a sandy beach. Also, as we were back in the basque country, the back streets had that ‘gritty’ feel reminiscent of most Spanish basque towns with small battered bars all showing the independence flags and young to middle age people sporting a timeless new age look that seems popular in this region (think Swampy hair cuts, several large looped ear rings and black clothes). I, personally, always feel drawn and attracted to these people and towns, and being in Lekeitio felt no different.
Lekeitio bay early in the morning
Sunrise catching the marina at Lekeitio. This town was similar to many on this coast and we would like to think we would visit here again.
From Lekeitio to San Sebastian we passed through what is known as the Costa Vasca which encompasses the seaside towns Deba, Zumaia and Getaria and this route continued the dramatic travelling theme from yesterday. Unfortunately though the weather was yet again changing and in fact we arrived in San Sebastian in the pouring rain. San Sebastian had been chosen as my 42nd birthday destination, and this was to be my third birthday in a row whilst on the road.
San Sebastian holds good memories for me as I had passed several nights here when I was enroute to Portugal some years ago now. However this visit proved to be very different and unfortunately I seemed to have collected a ‘birthday cloud’ which hovered over me during our visit. It was a shame really as we has all the ingredients in place for a good celebration, the weather was sunny on my actual birthday, we were in a vibrant town and our parking situation was safe, if not a little far from the old town but for some reason I could not raise myself to enjoy the occasion and we made do with a walk along La Concha beach stopping at a few bars and eating lunch in a restaurant in the neighbouring suburb next to to where the camper was parked…………
A rare Birthday smile! A selfie taken on the promenade at San Sebastian.