The cold and snow were novel and fun at first, but now we need to get to warmer and cheaper places!
I woke up at 7am this morning with dripping sounds. I jumped out of bed only to find both skylights leaking and the floor awash! The blind was pulled across the main skylight and as I tried to open it, a torrent of water cascaded onto the couches below. What a way to start the day in San Sebastian!
It had been pouring and storming all day and night and the angle we had parked at meant the roof was skylights. We mopped up what we could and packed our bed away so that I could drive. A mere one metre backward and the water gushed down off the roof and the leaking stopped. Now we know to make sure to always be parked at an angle if it is raining! Just when you think you have this campervan thing sorted, it hits you with another trick!
From Paris, we did two really long drives of about 7 hours each. Bearing in mind that we only go at about 85km/h, the 7 hours behind the wheel only takes us about 400km. I had found a campervan stop that sounded delightful. In the gardens of a church in a tiny little village, surrounded by nature. We left the highways and drove down narrow meandering country lanes. We just managed to inch past another car in the extremely narrow main road of the village and finally found the church. The setting really was gorgeous, with green meadows all around and above us, autumn leaves on the trees.
We jumped out and plugged into the single electrical socket, but there was no power. Nothing. Nada. If we didn’t have electricity, we would have no heater and it was freezing. It was nearing 5pm and the sky was already getting dark and gloomy. A quick scan of our trusty Park4Night App, showed that the next possible campervan spot that had electricity was still 80km away. Poor Miles, I don’t think he’s ever been driven so hard in his life! We must have pushed 90km/h the whole way and just nosed our way into the campervan stop as darkness descended.
The campervan stop (N45.404278, E0.141426) outside Angouleme was nothing fancy, just tarmac place for 2 campervans with free electricity and waste disposal. The electricity only lasted an hour before you had to press the button again, so we couldn’t have our heater on during the night. I woke to find Tai and me, huddled together for dear life, trying to keep warm. Staying in bed is fine, it’s the getting out into the cold that’s awful!
South of Paris we hit the toll roads and they keep coming and keep coming! €73.30 later… I think we’ll try to avoid them on the way back! It’s not like we make good use of the tolls with our slow puttering along and the alternative routes are usually the more scenic ones.
Another long drive and we were in Spain – Olè!!
I had last been in San Sebastian 23 years before. It was after the Pamplona Running of the Bulls Festival and it was hot, we were young and San Sebastian was a beach paradise. Not so much this time! A storm was raging, the sea was grey and cold, there wasn’t a soul on the beach. I guess winter isn’t the best time to fully enjoy all there is to offer in San Sebastian. Nevertheless, I was super excited to get into town and try some pintxos – a smaller version of tapas.
We drove through town and continued on up into the mountains for another 6km to the campsite – Camping Iguelda Lekua. The rain had turned the campsite into a mud bath and it took us about 5 tries before we could find a spot that we could actually drive into without skidding. It was too late to go back into town so we popped into the campsite café. Bizarrely, no one spoke a single word of English! In all of my travels, across many continents, I have always found people that could speak English, even if it was just a spattering of it, but here they didn’t understand one single word. Nothing. So much sign language ensued, and we managed to get a bite to eat and a place to set up our computers and work for an hour or two.
Once we had cleared up the water disaster in the morning, we caught the local bus into town for a wander about. San Sebastian old town is really beautiful with classic buildings, cobbled streets and a myriad of fabulous restaurants to choose from.
Pintxos is what we had come to town for. It is loosely translated as toothpick food and is pronounced as “pin-chos”. Whereas tapas is served on a plate, pintxos are small portions on a platter on the counter and you help yourself to these tasty morsels. The idea is that you keep track of how many you have eaten by the number of toothpicks you have at the end of your evening.
Our intention was to stop in at a few bars and try pintxos at each one, but everything at the first bar we stopped at, Gandaras, looked so delicious that we were full by the time we left! It didn’t stop us from popping into a couple of the other bars just to see what pintxos they had. Some of them were proper works of art!
We decided to take a walk around the city or should I say get blown around the city! The beach was really wild with the wind whipping the waves. The rain came and went forcing us to take shelter in whatever building was closest. I’d read that La Vina made the best cheesecake in town, so we popped in. All they served were cheesecakes, of every type and flavor you can imagine. We opted for a chocolate brownie baked cheesecake that was rich, creamy and delicious! We crossed right to the other side of town to track down the best Spanish Tortilla at Bar Zabaleta, but they had run out for the day so we headed back to the bus stop and on to the campsite.
San Sebastian might not have been the tropical beach paradise I had remembered, but my taste buds will forever be in love with San Sebastian’s pintxos!