Thursday, August 20th.
We seemed to take a round a bout way to find the main highway. “Richard” did avoid the town of St. Emilion but in order to do so we had to wind our way thru the twisty turny roads which ran through the vineyards. We seemed to be skirting the highway we could see paralleling us in the distance.
Finally we were able to access it and headed toward the coast miraculously avoiding Bordeaux – another large port city.
Once we crossed over the Dordogne River we had left wine country, it being its southern boundary.
Hey Jack did you know there was another Bayonne, we passed through it and thought of you!
Soon enough we passed into Spain and Tom-Tom quit. Apparently, Spain isn’t in Europe. If I remember correctly we had the same problem when we travelled in Mexico, it wasn’t in North America – go figure!
Needless to say we were like fish out of water. The map book we had didn’t contain a lot of detail and we noticed with fear the names of the highways weren’t the same as the ones in the map book. We had many tense moments, to put it mildly.
We had to stop at a truck stop to pick up a more detailed map. Now we were cooking. I was concentrating so hard on the map and what city we needed to be heading for that a wrong turn was made and we were lost in Donostia-San Sebastian with no apparent exit in sight. Finally I said to Bill just make a U-turn wherever it looks moderately safe and we will head back out the way we came in. Not easily done but he managed it. I think we have done worse in the 40’.
Now, we are back on the highway and after several miles we became suspicious that we might be going the wrong way. A few miles further on, it was confirmed; we were heading east.
It is truly a mystery to us, that when you need to get off the highway to turn around there is absolutely no opportunity to do so within 20 miles.
Finally an exit was ahead, as we crossed over the bridge we noticed a lovely rest area on the right so we decided to take a break and try to figure out where we were exactly and where we really wanted to go.
No matter what the map or road signs said we were headed in the direction of Santander. OK now we had a plan. BUT we couldn’t head west from this lovely little park; our only option was to go east. I think we were almost at the French border before we had an opportunity to get turned around and head east.
With blinders on we headed toward Santander.
Bill had downloaded Acsi before we left N. America. It is an app that has over 8,500 campgrounds, spread over Europe on it. This is what we have used throughout our trip to find places to either spend a night or several nights while touring a city. All you have to do is plug in the coordinates given, into TOM TOM and voila you are on your way.
Well, this is no longer an option until 1) we leave Spain, or 2) we buy the map for Spain. (The latter is an interesting and frustrating story that I will bore you with later)
Well, by luck or expertise (I am going with the later since I was giving directions) we found a campsite for the night. A few times we almost turned back as we had to drive through narrow streets in a dirty industrial area. Suddenly we were sprung into the country again and winding up a narrow forested road. With relief we saw the sign for Camping Zumaia.
It appeared to be a relatively new park with a restaurant and terraced grass pitches above it. WiFi was available and the restaurant, as the lady at the desk had informed Bill, was opened. We headed back down the hill to grab something to eat, oops not open for food until 8:30pm, just drinks now.
Into the little store we went to find some cheese and what a find we made; delicious old, white, local cheese; fresh bread and local red wine. Things were looking up!!
That night we were unpleasantly introduced to the Spanish Culture. The couple beside us prepared and ate their dinner outside at 11:30 pm under our bathroom window. They had a little girl around 4 who talked constantly. At MN I was, oh so close to going around and sitting with them because sleep was impossible.
At 11 PM the “lady” behind us was hanging over the fence above us talking on the phone to someone in New York I think. She couldn’t have talked any louder!
Needless to say there wasn't a lot of time for picture taking.
Bill spent a few frustrating hours on the computer trying to purchase the map of Spain, who knew it wasn't part of Europe!!!
Sleep finally arrived.