Travelled : 80 miles
Visited : Santander and Bilbao
Stayed : Suances and Bilboa, Spain
The ferry back to England is booked and its time to move. We head north out of the National Park toward the coast. We find a spot to empty and refill our water etc in a service station just out of the park before continuing north. Its getting late and we need a campsite. On reaching the coast we hunt through our books and find a campsite in nearby Suances. We arrive to find it closed last week for the season. It has a nice carpark in front and a view of the sea, so wild camping it is.
We spend a quiet night, the camping area is on a peninsula and there are several large homes along the road and most appear closed for the season as well. Up early we note it’s a bit chilly as we head east along the coast to Santander. The drive along the coastal highway is very picturesque, the weather has changed and some of the small valleys are filled with mist, the headlands bathed in sunshine.
Arriving in Santander we move along with the morning traffic past the port and on to the harbour entrance. Luckily enough we find a parking spot on the water’s edge. As we enjoy our breakfast a car load of young men arrive, quickly followed by a car load of Police. Anyway over the next hour the young men are searched, then interviewed, then the car is searched. In fact this process occurred a couple of time over the hour. Some of the young men go with the Police obviously to help with their enquiries.
We spend a couple of hours sightseeing before continuing east toward Bilboa. Its a relatively short drive along the coastal freeway and the Bilboa signs appear. We have a booking on the ferry tomorrow and our plan is to scout the port, then find a supermarket. Bilboa is a sprawling city spread along the Rio Ibaizal. Our dual carriageway soon becomes 4 then 6 lanes, too late for the GPS by now. Suddenly we cross the river and find we are heading out of the city. Its another 8 kilometres before we find an interchange to turn around and head back into town and have another go at the local freeway system.
Anyway we find the port and the ferry terminal, enter a waypoint in the GPS and set off to find a supermarket. The Carrefour Supermarket carpark becomes our wild camping spot for the night. We eat at the adjoining McDonalds (we normally just have a coffee) and use their wifi for an hour before calling it night. Next morning its back to the ferry terminal to check in and wait in our allotted queue, as you do.
The passage from Bilbao to Portsmouth is relatively rough, we have a cabin but twin bunks and neither of us have a great nights sleep. The food on board is atrocious and the alcohol expensive. Have you ever heard of a hamburger being a mince patty between two hash browns !
Anyway we wait for almost an hour to disembark, then another 30 minutes or so getting through Immigration. Its now the late afternoon and we know the M25 is waiting to finish off the day.