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the rocket queen headed north once again. this time, the plan was to ride along the northern coast of spain, from san sebastian and ending up in galicia for a very good friend´s birthday party. as usual, the start and finishing points were both madrid, so i will skip writting about the madrid - san sebastian and vigo - madrid parts of the trip since i have written about them before.
the initial idea for this tour, was to combine mountains and beach for the summer holidays, starting with baqueira in the pyrinees, near barcelona and riding to the basque country. Of course, reality ended up being nothing like what we had planned.
we started our trip in san sebastian where we spent a few days in the jazz festival combined with a little riding along the coast and across the no longer existing border, to france.
|heineken 45 jazzaldia|
while in san sebastian, most tourists end up in the old part and around the port. this is something you must do if you have never been in the most beautiful city in spain, but dont think there is not much out in other areas.
|boneless wings @ narru|
for me the great discovery this time was narru. fantastic pintxos for a quite reasonable price, which unfortunately is the downside to eating in the basque region (it gets quite pricey). you will see, once you go in, everyone orders the house specialty for a good reason. you cant leave without trying the boneless chicken wings. everything we tried was incredibly tasty, so if you see yourself in this city and would like to go somewhere out of the ordinary and stay away from tourists... check this place out.
|hendaye on the north shore and hondarribia on the south shore|
the riding started from guetaria, and headed to san sebastian, along igueldo. after riding past san sebastian, we headed to jaizkibel. a similar kind of road to the one in igueldo which brings you up along a road full of curves with breathtaking views of the bidasoa river and the bay of biscay. this is a very enjoyable ride, and even in the summer, you might want to bring a jumper or a jacket with you, just in case...
lunch was in hondarribia, where you will find a great selection of restaurants along the sea walk. i have to say, it is very hard to have a bad meal in the basque country.
after lunch, we headed across the river into hendaye and again along the coast all the way up to biarritz. unfortunately we must have chosen the day when absolutely everybody decided to go to the beach in the south of france. traffic was horrible in most towns so riding through them was everything but smooth. this is why i always believed, the best time to visit this area is september, when the weather is still nice and most vacationers are gone.
in biarritz, we avoided the grand plage and headed a little north, just in front of the hotel sofitel biarritz. this part of the beach was not too crowded and a little less rowdy than the main part of grand plage. if money is not a problem, do go to the hotel du palais for coffee, or a meal. the setting is quite interesting.