Date: 6-7th October 2019
Travelled: 159 kms from Pamplona to Bilbao in the Basque region of Spain
Stayed: Private aire €15 all services. N43.26025, W02.96401
Budget: 121 days @ €78 per day
We serviced the Hymer early and rolled out of the aire straight into the service station next door. We fill the Hymer with diesel and the LPG system as well. We bid a sad goodbye to Pamplona we really enjoyed our couple of days here.
We travel north-west with the Pyrenees on our right into the Basque country.
Some road photos above. We actually had to use the wipers once or twice, the first time since Chaves in Portugal on the 7th August.
From time to time I still have thoughts of our first visit to Bilbao back in 2014. The city straddles Rio Nervión for 14 kms as is passes through a narrow steep valley into the sea. It has a series of interconnected freeways running either side of the Rio at various heights (given the steep terrain). Using an old GPS we got lost here three times on our last visit and the thought of a wrong turn has me a little nervous.
We have no problems in 2019 and arrive at the aire without a problem. We pre-booked a site via email, in return we get a front row spot with a fabulous view.
Map of Bilbao, the icon on our parking spot
We follow the river for a km or so looking for the Guggenheim.
We visited the Guggenheim in New York several years ago and really enjoyed it, but the Spanish version left us very disappointed. Anyway we find a little tapas bar and try the tortilla again and a couple of shared plates and a consolation drink before catching the 58 back to the Hymer.
As we have a ferry back to England tomorrow we start the day by getting a couple of housekeeping issues out of the way. We take the Hymer for a run to fill with cheap diesel (well cheaper than England) and the supermarket for some treats for the ferry.
Back at the aire we tidy up before walking to the bus stop and taking the #58 back to the city. Our guide book recommends walking the Casco Viejo (the old town). Thirty minutes later we wander into the labyrinth of old stone laneways that are the Casco Viejo.
We enjoy a second quiet evening with a wonderful view of Bilbao. But we are up early, have a coffee and driving around to the service point in the dark (8 am) and do what needs to be done. It’s only a 30 minute drive to the port and we stop in a Lidl car-park just before the port and have a relaxing breakfast knowing we are only 5 minutes from the ferry.
Spain, a quick summary
We spent 34 days in Spain, driving 3159 kms, staying in 24 different locations. Whilst diesel is cheaper and food less expensive than England and Ireland, our daily costs expenses only reduced by a couple of Euros during the period. Ending up on expensive tollways didn’t help. We certainly ate out more often than usual, we love the tapas. We had some unhappy experiences during our last tour through Spain in 2014. I suppose we are now more experienced and careful about where we park and stay, hence we always felt safe and reasonably confident the Hymer would be as we left it.
Michael and Pam