Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Circle Tour 13: on to San Sebastián

Pressing on, determined to continue blogging about our tour of the Basque Country to the end.
I left off a couple weeks ago with our time in Bayonne and evening outing to Biarritz.

The next morning we enjoyed the abundant hotel breakfast in crowded quarters, each doing their own thing.  Mike sat with German travelers and had a delightful conversation. They highly recommended the Gugenheim Museum in Bilbao. We tucked that away on our wish list for another time.

Dane and his mother sharing a table
 The only gathering place for our team meeting was the gazebo in the park close to where our vans were parked.

As usual, getting organized and on the road was slow.

We, the van riders took a lunch break in Hendaye, still in France, right across the river from the town where our friends live in Hondarribia.

I was feeling antsy, eager to arrive in our favorite town. (Read about a previous visit here.)
Finally we were over the border, a very unimpressive crossing.

The plan was to meet in the old part of town where the original fort has been turned into quite a luxurious hotel. Making our way up narrow winding streets was not easy for the vans.

Nor was the cobble stone climb fun for the cyclists.

However, meeting up with the cyclists in that plaza was a memorable highlight of that beautiful day.
Some went inside for coffee or into the tourist office.
I called our friend Edurne to let her know we were in town. She couldn't meet us and did not think that her neighbor Gonzalo could either. He had so wanted to join the cyclists and show them his favorite route.

  We sang a couple of our favorite songs. A lady sitting nearby thanked us.

Then it was time for the cyclists to walk their bikes back down the cobbled incline and take off for Mt. Jaizkibel. This was a change of plan, all because Gonzalo so highly recommended it. Like how could they miss such a beautiful lookout point. 

What a surprise to find Gonzalo waiting to accompany them! He probably took this picture when they reached the peak. He not only rode with the team, he also took Tate to the top of the top. And then he had to ride all the way back home!

The vans went on to San Sebastián (Donosti) to our accomodation for the next two nights--Olarian, a student residence/hotel where many interesting statues welcomed us.

And several real people as well! We were pleasantly surprised to see Brad, a fellow-Uplander, recently arrived to  check out the place where he will be bringing Taylor University students next January.

Brad Seeman; Idoia and Alazne
What a delight to see one of the Basque girls who had spent a month in our community a few years back, with her younger sister, Alazne, who came to the US last year and also traveled with us on the Circle Tour.

Many began dispersing, heading for the beach within walking distance.

 Few (or was it only me?) were there to welcome the cyclists--Arrival in Donosti (28 seconds).

Later that evening we scattered again. Mike and I walked to a nearby restaurant with a few remaining team members. It was a pleasant evening. We sat outside and learned later that it costs 1.50 euro more per person to sit outside.

Next, a whole day in San Sebastián (Donosti) and, best of all, we will get together with our friends from Hondarribia!

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