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Sunday, June 27, 2010

LOS DOS HERMANOS GORDOS DO EL NORTE: DAY SEVEN – BILBAO & HOME (WELL FOR ONE OF US THAT IS)

The service for our morning Chocolate y Churros was even slower than we had experienced before. A shame really as both were really very good. We left some money on the table and picked up our car for an early start to Bilbao.



The toll road to Bilbao is pretty expensive (about EU15) but worth it alone for the fact you can get there from Burgos in about two hours. Two hours in fact to bring me to the very brink of a nervous breakdown. 



We had planned to return our car to the Hertz office in central Bilbao before heading to our hotel. Simple enough it would seem. But, that is without reckoning on two factors



1) The roads of central Bilbao are less pleasant than the Devil’s armpits. Choked with roadworks and cars and with signposts that were Lilliputian to say the least it was a bugger to take our big old jalopy through the narrow streets where obeying parking laws seemed to be optional. I was grateful for Robin’s navigation skills.



2) After all of this, we arrived at the Hertz office to find it closed. Yep. A Hertz office in a major city closed for a siesta. Well, as one can imagine, I thought that was just peachy keen and expressed my indignation to the world in general and had a right old hissy fit. Once that was over, we decided to head to the airport, return the car there and take a cab back to town



So, a couple of hours later than planned we checked back into the Shirimiri, dumped our bags and headed out for a last wander.



What Brighton is to London, Getxo seems to be to Bilbao. A seaside resort within easy reach of the city. On the one side of the estuary is a charming well to do town with great beaches and excellent bars. On the other side accessible by cable car, is Portugalete, the industrial port.



We took the 20 minute journey out there using the efficient tube service entering through the distinctive entrance (called locally “fosteritos” after Norman Foster their designer) and spent an entirely agreeable couple of hours wandering around the beaches and the town itself with a couple of beers thrown in. A lovely way to wind down.



Taking the subway back to the Old town, we were slightly confused by some of signs on the doors of the trains. One in particular struck us as odd and the best interpretation we could come up with was “ Please do not sit down while men are Greek dancing”.



Back to the hotel and then out for a last evening of pinchos and supper. About six or so bars in an hour or so was not a bad haul and included Victor Montes a famous bar on the Plaza Major and one excellent bar whose name escapes me where we had some fabulous pinchos of foie (this being the Basque country) and the best calamari I think I have ever eaten. [Ed's note:I agree]



Then, once more as if to end our vacation as it began, the heavens opened and the rain fell. Being too weary to do much more, we headed back to our part of the old town and dived into the Asado Lizzaro next to our hotel. We were and remained so for the whole evening the only people in the place, but we didn’t care. The chuleton was good, the wine cheap and we had a large glass of Pacharan to finish, so all seemed well with the world as we headed back for one last night’s sleep.

Some non-food shots


Cable-car


I don't know what it means either


Back to the food










The best Calamares fritos in the world - ever !








Que Rico !

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