Thursday, June 08, 2006

D -2 Getting to the start

It turned out our Madrid flight was so delayed we needed to re route to avoid missing our Bilbao connection. We had to go back down to the BA ticket desk and after some talk about Paris, Milan and Brussels we were booked onto the Barcelona flight, which was fine, but Lou sat next to a weird bloke who kept touching himself on the plane. Lou was very excited that a chap called ‘Jesus’ at the Iberia desk helped us to find our connection.

We made it through to Bilbao, and the bikes did too. They’re in the hotel safe at the moment, so I’m not sure what state they are in. We had to wait ages at the airport for a “taxi grande” to get us to the Hotel Avenida, which is a pleasant four star place with a weird bathroom set up. There’s no wall, just a sheet of glass between the bedroom and the bathroom so you can watch your room mate shower from your bed. Fortunately there are also blinds.

We went to the Guggenheim, which looked great, complete with a bizarre giant bear/dog flower sculpture outside. We didn’t go in the Guggenheim beyond reception because it was 10 minutes to closing but they still wanted us to pay full admission.

We had a Guinness and wrote a few postcards in the Dubliners Bar. Then we walked down to the railway station but there is no train to St Jean Pied Du Port, so we caught a cab to the bus station to check out times and prices. We were tired and my feet were blistered and really sore – so much for wearing in my cycling shoes. We will have to get up early to get the bus to Bayonne, but with no guarantee of onward transport from there.

We got the Metro back as we could find nowhere to eat – all the bars were shut. We found a place and ordered a couple of beers and asked for a menu. The bloke gave us our beers said “dos”, pointed towards the loo, held up two fingers and went off to serve the next person. We got nothing to eat.

We got directions, crisps, wine, nasty donuts and some water from a tiny convenience store and walked back to the hotel. We found a sandwich shop where I had a toasted cheese and onion baguette. The woman at the store thought it was very funny that there was no meat in it – there was nothing on the menu without meat.

It’s strange but they don’t seem to speak Spanish here! Basque is a weird language, a bit like French but with lots of X’s in it. I have a blister on my foot and I’m knackered.

Go to Getting To St Jean Pied Du Port

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