Camino – To Bilbao and beyond…

So Peeps, today we learn that there is an element of sadness at the end of any great holiday but the wonderful and evocative memories override.  We’ve got our tickets and rucksacks packed ready for the return journeys. The boys to Bilbao then onwards to Manchester tomorrow and the Pilgrim to Oviedo and then Gatwick.

We have a leisurely breakfast in a cafe local to the albergue that also doubles as a pastry shop a bit like Greggs but even better (and I’m OK with Greggs). It’s a nice start and we take our time as the boys bus isn’t until 0930 and it’s still only 0800 so there’s no frantic rush.

At 0900 Dave B wants to make a move and I’m good with that. We say our farewells, it’s not like we won’t see each other for a long time so it’s no big deal but it has been good. The bus is on time and we board and take up residence in our pre-booked seats, the Continental buses are excellent. Then, within a few minutes we’re off and to quote Dave, this is like a fast rewind of the last week as the bus takes us on the motorway where we can look down (or up) to where we walked and into towns that we visited on the way. It took us five days to walk to Santander and it takes the bus about an hour and a half to return to Bilbao.

In Bilbao, we’re dropped at the bus station and decide to walk across the city to a point that we recognised near the Guggenheim Museum. We intended taking some time to explore it in the afternoon; however, on arrival we find it shut, it only opens on Mondays through July and August, to say I’m disappointed is an understatement.

I ring the ‘pension’ (a pension is a very cheap hotel) that we stayed in last week but they’re full so I look up albergues to see if there is any capacity there and we’re in luck but it is a route march back across the city. It’s in the entrance area to the commercial part of the city that we walked through and looks a little rough; however, it’s great inside and we manage to get a room to ourselves (again), it’s even got some rudimentary air-conditioning that Dave switches on and warms the room! Yes, you read that right.

The hostaleer takes us through a map and mentions a funicular railway, now I like a funicular railway so, after a shower, we make our way back out of the albergue but this time only as far as the tram where we take a ride to the Guggenheim and walk the rest of the way to the entrance to the funicular where kids are playing football and whole families are talking and playing together.

The funicular is well worth a visit and, at the top, enables a spectacular view of the city. We look for a cafe up here but only find a restaurant with eye-watering prices so decide on the return trip followed by a walk into the Old Town where there are plenty of cafes, bars and other eating establishments to cater for every wallet.

After a leisurely cerveza grande I leave the boys for a quick look in Iglesia de San Anton (they’re a little afraid of thunderbolts in these establishments so decline the offer to come with me). It’s a beautiful church but I only stay a few minutes then out to gather the boys and head for an eating establishment that can cater for a veggie and a lactose-free. It takes about 30 minutes but we find one in a plaza near where we stayed last week and manage one last meal out in the open.

I’ll be on the look out for one of these in the future – what a wonderful way to spend eating your evening meal!

An excellent night followed by a tram ride home and the opportunity to take a few snaps on the bridges on the final leg.

A great walking holiday – my apps have us at over a hundred kilometres and it’s been through some spectacular country and beautiful cities.

Thanks again to all.

For the last time on this trip. Enjoy the snaps…G..x

If you think others would enjoy the pictures, walks and anecdotes please feel free to “share” using the links. Thanks.

This is life after an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm open repair. Don’t be afraid of the operation, it set me free. Please be encouraged and inspired to walk, it’s liberating…G..x

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Here’s the final areal view:

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