Spanish Road Trip II. Electric Boogaloo.

road trip 3

It was another grey Monday morning in Bilbao. I awoke with nerves. Today was the day. I was leaving my home for the past three years for good. I caught the tram, using up the last of the money on my Barrik (Bilbao/Vizcaya’s transport card) to head to the car rental place. Era otro lunes gris bilbaíno, como tantos que he vivido en el pasado. Me despertaba con nervios. Hoy era el día. Iba a despedirme de mi hogar durante tres años para siempre. Cogí el tranvía, usando el último dinero que quedaba en mi Barrik (la tarjeta de transporte de Bilbao y Vizcaya) para ir a alquiler un coche. 

The car they gave me was a Mini Cooper. I was going to drive to Valencia in style! Wait, I had to return to ask the desk agent how the car started. It was complicated. Me dio un Mini Cooper. ¡Iba a conducir a Valencia con estilo! Espera…tenía que volver a preguntar como arrancar el coche. Oye, fue complicado. 

road trip 8

It took me about an hour to pack up the rest of my stuff. Three years without moving meant three years of accumulating stuff. I said my “agur” to Tango, the growling German Shepherd Dog, and set off on my way. Me tardó una hora para poner el resto de mis cosas en el coche. Tres años sin mudarme de casa significa tres años de acumular cosas. Dije agur al Tango, el pastor aleman gruñón, y me marché. 

road trip 7

I drove through the back roads of Vizcaya and Álava, once being ushered aside so a bike parade could go through (Euskadi is different) , and I stopped by a reservoir to take a few photos. Fui por las carreteras de Vizcaya y Álava. En un pueblo, tenía que parar un rato mientras pasaba un desfile de bicicletas (Euskadi is different). Me paré a lado de un embalse para hacer fotos. 

road trip 6

My first stop was a village I had admired from afar for a long time, Pancorbo (Burgos). The village of 453 habitants (2015) is located 95 kilometres (59 miles) south of Bilbao and is located in some interestingly cut mountains and rock formations. The village itself is beautiful, and I had a relaxing café con leche in their plaza mayor before buying some water and continuing on my way. La primera parada era un pueblo que había admirado desde lejos durante mucho tiempo, Pancorbo (Burgos). El pueblo de 453 habitantes (2015) está ubicado a 95 kilometros de Bilbao en unos montes y formaciónes de roca intersantes. El pueblo en sí también es bonito, y me tomé un relaxing café con leche en su plaza mayor antes de comprarme una botella de agua y seguir por el camino. 

road trip 5

My next stop was a village I had been dying to see for some time: Laguardia. Located in the heart of La Rioja Alavesa (the Basque part of the Rioja wine region), Laguardia is a beautiful medieval village of 1520 residents located 64 km (39 miles) from the Álava capital Vitoria and 17 km (10 miles) from Logroño, the capital of La Rioja. It’s famous for its Bodegas Ysios, designed by Santiago Calatrava. It also is home of Bodegas Campillo. La próxima parada era un pueblo que había querido visitar durante mucho tiempo: Laguardia. Situado en el corazón de La Rioja Alavesa (la parte vasca de la región del vino de La Rioja), Laguardia es un pueblo precioso medieval que cuenta con 1520 habitantes. Está a 64 kilometros de Vitoria-Gasteiz y 17 kilometros de Logroño, Es famoso por sus Bodegas Ysios, diseñado por Santiago Calatrava. También es el hogar de Bodegas Campillo.

road trip 1

I had lunch (too expensive, but it was the day of Santiago and a holiday for much of Spain) and walked around the village for a bit before getting back in the car. Comí (como era Euskadi en el día de Santiago, era demasiado caro) y paseé por el pueblo antes de volver al coche. 

road trip 2

There were more villages I had wanted to see, but time was escaping me. I made the plan to stop after Zaragoza to fuel up, but the gas/petrol stations were few and far between. I finally stopped, dying to use the toilet (all that water and café con leche), fueled up and rested a bit at the restaurant somewhere close to Teruel. Había más pueblos que quería ver, pero el tiempo estaba escapándome. Decidí parar por gasolina después de Zaragoza, pero no había muchas gasolineras. Por fin paré, a punto de orinarme, di gasolina al pobre coche y descansé un rato en un restaurante cerca de Teruel. 

The territory is desolate between Zaragoza and Valencia, but beautiful. I enjoyed the scenery and arrived to Valencia City about 21:15 (9:15 pm) and went to unload the car in the storage unit I rented until I found a place.  El paisaje es desolado entre Zaragoza y Valencia, pero bonito. Disfruté del paisaje y llegué a Valencia Capital sobre 21.15 y fui a descargar el coche al trastero que aquilé hasta encontraba una habitación para vivir. 

I returned the car the next morning with no problems…or so I thought. A week later, I received an email. Apparently in that desolate stretch between Zaragoza and Valencia, I forgot to pay attention to the speedometer. I got my first Spanish speeding ticket. I paid it right away so I would only have to pay 50€ instead of 100€. I own it. I just curse the radar! Devolví el coche la próxima mañana sin problemas…o pensaba. Una semana después, recibí un email. En esta etapa desolada entre Zaragoza y Valencia, no hice caso al velocímetro. Recibí mi primera multa de correr española. La pagué enseguida para solo pagar 50€ en lugar de 100€. Sí, corrí. Solo maldigo el radar. (Viví en Euskadi. Sé muchas maldiciones.) 

It was a great road trip, and I would love to go on even more road trips through Spain, exploring the beautiful small villages and countryside that are the heart of the country. Era un viaje chulo, y me encantaría viajar más por coche por España, explorando los pueblos bonitos y paisajes preciosos que están al corazón del país. 

Until then…there is the Camino…Hasta entonces…hay el Camino. 

road trip 4

 

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2 thoughts on “Spanish Road Trip II. Electric Boogaloo.

  1. The other day I drank Txakoli for the first time in my life, which was good. I used to drink Rioja quite often but didn’t know about Rioja Alavesa. Very curious….
    Good luck with your new life.

    Like

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