Moving on to the Atlantic resort town of Biarritz – 10:00am and already hot in the Pyrenees – 250km east of the coast.
Much better day, a hot 36c through the Pyrenees to the coast.
We took a side tour to Lourdes where the miracle of Bernadette occurred in the 1800’s. Majestic spires, loads of religious symbolism and crowds of believers. Unfortunately, for us it is too commercialized. The four main industries are: Hotels (everywhere), souvenirs, restaurants and bars. Religion has been buried by the tourists.
After the sideshow, we plotted a trip to the top of “Col du Tourmalet” …… one of the iconic Pyrenees mountain peaks of the Tour de France ……. Anyone who knows Gerda realizes that she a cycling groupie.
Any cycling starting with “Tour de …..” is her fav – although she also likes the “Giro d’Italia” and the Spanish “Vuelta”. So for her, travelling to one of the prime spots in the cycling tour history is a dream come true.
Biarritz is a resort town on the French Atlantic coast. Lots of sand, surf and …….. wet babes – check out Gerda’s trip.
A seaside resort town has just got to have ….. well seafood, so our first dinner here naturally has to be fruit of the sea. We decided to try the speciality – Paella Maison – at a little open air restaurant called Le Palmarium.
It was tons of seafood (of course still in their shells) on a bed of spicy tomato rice.
End of day 1 found us walking along the many miles of seawall. It was low tide and locals were out digging clams or maybe stones. We really couldn’t see what they were picking up. Just 6 hours earlier this area was covered by water lapping up to the seawall!
Day 2: The morning view of the sea, from our balcony at the Marbella hotel, was refreshing. It just finished raining. The sun is now out and it is quite fresh!
Here’s a ground view of the hotel – streets are very narrow here.
We had our petit dejeuner and went for a walk in different direction. We found an amazing beach …. for surfers. It looks like it’s 3-4 km long, with crashing waves.
Gerda scrolled a message in the sand for Taylan & Harlow …….. But the waves got the better of Hello!
…….. a video tells the story better. You know what they say about a picture – well video multiples it even more.
After our morning stroll on the beach and with the weather looking like it might cry, we decided to do one more country, by driving to San Sebastian, Spain (only 40km).
Did I happen to tell you about tolls ……. not the kind under bridges but those in booths? Well we went through 5 to the Spanish border and another 4 going into San Sebastian. They’re everywhere. Mind you it was the fastest 40 km we’ve travelled in Europe so far!
The San Sebastian or Donostia (in Basque) is pretty, with an old and new section kissing each other between two harbours. It’s about the size of Regina, but for some reason looks larger – maybe because of all the highrises.
The skyline is definitely higher and there are some impressive old gothic style churches.
Also in the old city there are alot of tapas bars with ham hocks hanging from the ceilings near the bar. Most of them were full when we walked by at 1:30 but were almost empty by 3:30 – not sure if it was a siesta thing or normal business. We tried some tapas and it was very good.
We did a little more touring and shopping. It was overcast and windy so Gerda had to CYA because the gusts kept flipping her skirt. She was afraid it might cause a traffic accident. But she did manage to find a nice blouse and scarf.
Around 4:00 we head back to the car. Just as we were leaving San Sebastian, it started to pour. It made for an interesting drive back with multiple semi-trailers and passenger vehicles hydroplaning down the expressway at 120kph. At times almost bumper to bumper (at 120kph 10m feels like bumper to bumper).
Back in Biarritz we decided to return the car early as it is extremely hard to park in the old town where we are staying. There are great things to say about GPS, however sometimes you just can’t find your destination – well this is one of those times. Even though we had the address for Europcar in Biarritz on paper, we couldn’t find it on GPS! Ironically we finally entered Hertz and got an address that would work. You would think they could have each GPS unit preprogrammed ………. oh well – we made it inspite of the glitches.
It is Brian’s birthday today! Don’t think he ever dreamed he would spend it in France and Spain all in one day!
One last note: We went back to the ‘surfer beach’ around 10:00pm ……. well there’s no beach tonight – tides in, beach gone! and it was such a beautiful, soft, smooth sand.
Tomorrow – we’re on the home stretch. We’re going to the city that rhymes with harass!
Just kidding. We love “the city of light” also known as “the city of love”.