Posted by: paulgilders | June 30, 2012

The northern Spanish coast

San Vicente de Barquera

After our time in the Picos de Europa, we headed towards the coast – foolishly thinking it might be flatter – it wasn’t. We spent a few days in the town of San Vicente de Barquera, which has a great natural harbour as well as a good surf beach. Poppy and I tried hard to body surf, but the waves weren’t quite strong enough and the water is still very cold.

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Further along the coast in the village of Loredo, we were visited in the night by a hedgehog who had smelled out our rubbish bag. Surprisingly, he seemed not at all shy. He rustled around for hours until Gill had decided enough and threw him and the rubbish out.

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We took a couple of ferry crossings to avoid traffic through towns and to reduce unnecessary miles. This ferry from Santoña to Laredo simply dumped us on the sand. We had to shuttle all our luggage up the beach. It didn’t save us much time.

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We progressed further along the coast – passing many other surf spots.

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We tried to avoid the big city of Bilbao, but failed. We followed a wonderful cycle path from 10km west of the city that dumped us in the centre. Once in the centre, the city of Bilbao was lovely. Getting out was even more difficult – we pushed up steep hills in rain and drizzle trying to avoid busy main roads. Here is a view back to Bilbao.

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We had a few days of changeable weather – here are a few moments of less-than-perfect conditions…

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We were heading for the Pyrenees, but it took longer than expected. Northern Spain is not flat and the cycling is slow…


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