Another Face of Spain

  • Another Face of Spain.

    • Posted by Rosalie Marsh Tue at 13:01 - Filed in Spain - #Pais de Basque  #Burgos  #Salamanca  #Galicia  - 0 views

      We have spent many happy hours exploring our beloved Andalucia. We have ridden down the coast to Nerja and Ronda on our motorbike before returning through the centre of Spain via Aranjuez, Zaragoza, and Pamplona to Donostia-San Sebastian.

      We have toured that north westerly corner of Spain that is enchanting Galicia with its rugged coast interspersed with many inlets; the moving sight of all the pilgrims in Santiago de Compostela and the awe-inspiring Botafumeiro (Thurible) being swung up to the roof Cathedral, while a nun with the voice of a bird sings; La Coruna on the coast with its many glass-covered balconies on the buildings.

      Until last year we had not, however, explored the interior of the more northern and central parts of Spain. With a family member settling in a remote part of Central Portugal, we found ourselves on a mission to take stuff that they needed. I mean tools etc that my husband no longer needed or could use - but they could as they set up their infrastructure on their land.

      Travelling through France, we crossed the Pyrenees into the Basque country. Towering viaducts spanned the gorges and wound around the verdant mountains. I did wonder what the journey would have been like on a horse! This part of Spain is spectacular . Dropping down towards Burgos, we found ourselves in the middle of the city. My husband had simply input 'Burgos' into the sat nav. We wanted a hotel in Rubena a few km outside. It was also rush hour . . .

      Heading down to Salamanca and Valladolid in central Spain on the motorways we found that we were on the high plateau with only the tops of windmills for company. Dropping further down to Plasencia we noticed that the terrain and nature of the countryside was changing. It was more deserted, and even though on a motorway, service stations were few and far between; sometimes the sign pointed into the distance which mean a nearby village, somewhere.

      At one of these we happened upon a small cafe/bar serving simple bar food. We devoured this to the chatter of locals at the bar. The restaurant (newly built?) was closed but no doubt it was open for coach parties. It was all delicious and clean. Around this area, many bushes of flowering yellow broom brightened the centre reservations of the roads. Heading west towards the Portuguese border our route was shortened by the extension and improvements in local roads. With three overnight stops from the UK via France the journey was uneventful and very pleasant.

      This year we did the journey again. The heat was in intolerable - 45 degrees in Portugal and not much less on the return journey. This year we returned across the centre of Spain via Madrid to stay overnight in the centre of Zaragoza.

      Zaragoza is very old and, to me, has a romantic ring to it. For once, I did thank the sat nav as we would never have found our hotel, especially not down the back streets that it directed us down. The reason for the change of return route was two-fold.

      One - to see something of the areas that we had ridden by on our Honda Gold Wing motorbike all those years ago.

      Two - to head over the Pyrenees to Lourdes which made Zaragoza a convenient stop.

      In truth, we really ought to have factored in an extra night as the leg from the border of Portugal to Zaragoza in one day was really too much. Especially when the air-conditioning in our almost new car failed. It was a hot 1000 miles home in more ways than one. But that is another story. Suffice to say that July has been just a little fraught.




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