Bits of Bilbao and Some Other Places

The beginnings of what will hopefully be a satisfying trundle through the mountains of north and central Spain.

While it’s only been a few days I’m slowly finding my “on the road” feet again, and with a stopover in Bilbao I’ve been able to enjoy a spot of proper street photography for the first time since leaving Buenos Aires in November 2019…. where did the time go…

The ferry left Plymouth under leaden skies… it had been a long wait in the rain to board… there was an old fibreglass ‘box’ for cyclists to shelter in but it smelled pretty rank and had no seating so I made use of the more attractive option of standing outside in the drizzle gabbing away with a bunch of other two-wheeled travellers… cyclists and motorcyclists.
Moving out from under England’s curtain of gloom the light was fantastic.. I made a last turn of the deck before heading for bed. I would have been quite happy for the journey to last 2 days instead of 1.. opportunities to simply switch off and stare into space are too few and far between; I left the UK feeling exhausted which perhaps not the greatest beginning…
Heading inland into the mountains of Cantabria was a mostly wet affair… It was getting late by the time I’d disembarked the ferry, cleared immigration and customs, and slung my bike on a smaller local ferry across the river at Santander so had spent the previous night wedged in an overpriced, overcrowded, and underwhelming campsite near a beach just east of town.
.. at times it was a very wet affair, but beautiful. I stopped to drip on the floor of virtually every village cafe I passed…
Learning how to ride up mountains again. This climb I think featured in the Vuelta at some point… hence the monument to cycling. I was using the road for this stretch, the few trail segments I looked at where unrideably slippery in the wet so I gave up on those. My ECR is a bit of a lump for sustained road work, however the big tyres roll more easily than they have any right to really, and the “like riding an armchair” nature of the bike is a bonus on long days in the saddle.
In the village of Arredondo, I think… big old church.
.. the route I chose out of town was a very picturesque and tiny lane… but b*****d steep… an old boy gave me a knowing look as I inched my way up the mountainside out of the village… I nearly turned around to take the valley road…
Crossing the border into the Basque Country, options for a spot for the night looked slim.. lots of farmland with grazing animals and deeply intimidating sheep dogs.. around 6pm however the rain stopped and the sun came out, and a stiff push up a slippery 30%+ gradient on a disused track delivered a lovely quiet spot overlooking the valley.
it was a peaceful night, but by the early hours the rain returned and I made breakfast the following morning in a misty drizzle.
The obligatory bicycle and log pile picture. having got this out of the way I feel able to ride past all subsequent log piles for this journey.. unless of course I stumble across something spectacular. It was a steep climb.
Some lovely quiet “vias verdes”..
Stretching is good apparently… I needed to make a stop in Bilbao so had a bit of a wander with my camera to try and find the street photography groove again.
Someone looks bored with the Guggenheim.. perhaps waiting for a husband who is off chin-wagging somewhere…
Also the Guggenheim… her shoes with heels of skyscraper proportions looked ‘awkward’ on the damp steps….
Bilbao, Plaza Nueva
Bilbao, also Plaza Nueva.. a footy star in the making perhaps.
I’ve just brought my Fuji x100f fixed lens camera with me.. I think I just needed to get out and fire a few frames.

5 thoughts on “Bits of Bilbao and Some Other Places

  • Hey Mike from downunda. It’s great to read of your travels and to see the results of your 100F in action. I’m also exploring either the 100F or V to add to my 100S. Those Spanish street images beautifully capture Spain – from my memory. Thank you.
    Enjoy your time in Spain and the mountains – Oh what i wouldn’t give for some mountains to cycle up – says someone who used to live in Tirol in Austria.
    Enjoy and safe travels
    Dave :)

    • hey Dave, cheers! If you do add an F or V to your S you’ll find it a profound difference in responsiveness.. it feels like the concept properly matured.

      • Hi Mike – Yes that would be great. I heard from my local camera shop today and they might have a V coming in in the coming days. Fingers crossed. Safe travels and looking forward to the next post.

  • It’s great to see you out on the road (or trail) again Mike. Stunning pictures. Enjoy your trundle and keep us all posted!

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