The end of January saw us off again, on a roadtrip. This time in reverse. With a few slight alterations, a quick glance at the map, it looks more of a straight line heading down rather than the previous journey which included more curves.
Day One – Espalais to San Sebastion
- Past vineyards, small towns, and, Chateaus, more to look forward to on our return when harvesting should be in full swing.
- Not too long on the road saw us head into a cafe for a hot espresso and pastry.
- Pedestrian crossings on roundabouts – what a strange combination!
- Pau was the small historical town we chose to have our lunch. At the end of the below photograph. Popular with locals and we chose the set menu. Most enjoyable.
- The sun was just heading down as we reached San Sebastian, only in time for one last stroll for the day and to find out where the tolling bell sounds were coming from.
- We once again stayed at Hotel Arima, which is situated on the outskirts of San Sebastion. Ultra-modern adhering to eco/organic beliefs and a recycling area in the bathroom for guests. Average cost 58 euros, through Booking.com. [this low cost was due to it still being under construction, the current price is much higher]
Day 2 – San Sebastion – Burgos
- It dawned sunny to start our second day of travel, though the sun’s appearance was to be very short-lived, as fog descended and continued to worsen as we headed towards Vitoria.
- The landscape took on an eerie feel as the light dazzled through the fog every now and again.
- Further down the road and heading out of the gorge not far from Burgos saw the disappearance of the fog. Then we came across this small roadside chapel with a bell tower which looked as if it had been carved out of the rock.
- We were indeed pleased when the sun finally made its appearance with fewer mountains and more flat land.
- We had arrived in Burgos.
- Feeling relaxed was no doubt due to how easy it was to walk around this city, also with the festival feeling as some people wandering around all dressed in traditional costumes, and laughter filled the air as they passed us. Or is it that some places have this intangible “feeling”, which creates an atmosphere that has a positive effect on visitors. If so. Then Burgos is one such place that has this “feel” it also embodies all the best of Northern Spain, the food, the architecture, the culture.
- The Medival entrance, Arco de Santa María, into the old part of town then viewing the Gothic Cathedral.
- This city exceeded our expectations!
Day 3 – Burgos- Salamanca
- Icy roads. 2 degrees start to our day.
- Fog covered the hills softening the harsh rocky landscape. Like tiered lines on the horizon.
- As predicted, the landscape changed and more agricultural land.
- So many places to stop and absorb, too little time.
- As we drove along vineyards dominated the landscape, not olive trees.
- First stop – Segovia.
- Segovia – WOW.
- Best slang word in the English language to describe this city in the middle of Spain.
- Of course, many other travellers have used words such as breathtaking scenery, extraordinary engineering when viewing the aqueduct, well-preserved architecture, and I could certainly add many more.
- Turegano, with a castle on the hill and a country village. A perfect stop for a stroll and an espresso.
- Avila – another unexpected surprise on what was to be a fantastic day indeed!
- A day when daylight and energy run out at the same time.
Day 4 – Salamanca
- Our second UNESCO World Heritage site this roadtrip!
- Where small dogs wear puffer jackets.
- A haircut was required for me, I found a salon which resembled a production line for the removal of grey hair, and the only one opened in town. I left with my hair trimmed in all the right places.
- Instead of the usual cafe to quench our thirst and appetite, we chose to sit on a park bench and eat mandarines. Citrus fruit in Spain is unbeatable!
- Incredible buildings that seem to be utilised by the University, what a fantastic place to study amongst all this history. Well, a tale with a leaning towards Christianity.
- Disjointed was one word that was verbally repeated during our time wandering the streets of Salamanca.
- “The Feel”, “The Atmosphere” whatever word that best describes that intangible “thing”, that makes every place unique, Salamanca for us was lacking that particular quintessential element.
Day 5 – Salamanca to Merida
- Snow on the Mountains, looking spectacular against the blue sky.
- Hectares of Oak trees, some looked like the Cork Oak ones we had seen in Portugal.
- Olive groves with smoke billowing from them as they burnt the tree trimmings.
- A stop to stretch our legs and walk around a small walled market city of Plasencia.
- The citrus lined streets were a bright treat on a coolish morning walk, and so was the espresso and cake in an organic cafe.
Day 6 – Merida to Cordoba
- The sun doesn’t poke it’s head up until a more decent hour as in around 8 am on a Spanish winter’s day. Which was when we looked out to see a city cloaked in fog. No comment from the Squire who was driving, just an inaudible grunt! I don’t think he was at all impressed with the mornings driving conditions!
- We much prefer to roam outside than stroll inside. Remembering this, we were determined to have a walk on a Roman Bridge before we departed Merida. Which we did.
- The bridge has remained in superb condition thanks to the Romans’ consistent efforts in maintaining it. At 2,591 feet (70 m), it is the longest surviving Roman bridge in the world. It dates back to 25 B.C. and spans across the Guadiana River. The bridge features 60 (originally it had 62) towering granite arches and has been used as a footbridge since 1993.
- Our time to explore Cordoba will be in a few weeks. With more time allocated, I will be able to describe our experience in more detail.
Day 7 – Cordoba to Comares
- An early start as we were due to be at our housesit position by midday. It was not unknown to us as we had completed our first one in the Andalusian Hills in November 2017.