Basque Country Road Trip 2019. Part #1

Last month P, D the cat and I took a last minute weekend road trip to the Basque Country! In Part #1 I’m sharing our weekend adventure with Parts #2 and #3 more photos as there’s way to many for one post. You might want a cup of tea for this one.

We didn’t know the Bilbao Night Marathon was that weekend making most places that allowed pets sold out both in and outside of Bilbao booked up. We initially thought San Sebastian but everywhere that was reasonably priced was sold out included self catering that we usually go for. We found a great pet friendly hotel, Petite Palace in Getxo up from Bilbao along the coast.

The Guggenheim Museum The Guggenheim Museum’s a must see visiting Bilbao! Designed to pay heritage to Bilbao’s shipping past the exteriors are a play on boats. The famous spider’s the other side of the museum along the river. Initially I thought we had to pay to see the spider! Thankfully there’s access down some side steps with the spider free for all along the river. Most importantly however toilets are free to use in the museum 😉DSCF4674

Confession time. There looked a better indoor climbing place at Bilbao so I was let’s stay there! As it turned out, that place was closed and we ended up going to The Factory Boulder in San Sebastian. Sod’s law! The Factory Boulder’s small, but it was more than enough to get some training in travelling.

GetxoView from the hotel

Petite Palace were really accommodating for D providing him a bed, bowls and letting him stay for free! He, Diesel the cat was great in the car after throwing up within 5 minutes of setting off, peeing within 30 minutes then pooping, within 2 hours. We set his litter box behind the passenger seat which he used. First time thinking to leave it there with litter. On the way back shhhh, he’s meant to stay in his transport box the whole journey he sat on his bed on the back seat until he found his way under the passenger seat, staying there for the remainder of the journey. His brother AJ, was great in the car, stayed in his box, not a peep. D lets you know loudly he’s not staying in his box for anyone. He wears a harness out the box and a lead/leash which is looped over my arm. Pilot’s seat’s out of bounds!

Getxo, where we stayed was interesting. The older buildings, the architecture was like out of the 16th century. I half expected men exciting building’s dressed up in puffy blouses, big hats with feathers, boots looking like Pirates of the Caribbean and ladies with corsets and long billowing skirts. Pirates too. Bilbao has similar buildings with the windows jutting out more like boxes attached to the sides of the buildings. I liked how a few buildings this century were designed with a similar feel. I didn’t get any photos of the said architecture but you can see the influence in the photo below to the rest in this post.

Back to Bilbao

Bilbao was… interesting. We spend the first day exploring Bilbao taking in the Guggenheim Museum, unknowing walking part of the Camino de Santiago in reverse, exploring the old town, the park before a little window shopping. If anything it’s industrious and not a as pretty as Barcelona. We tried to find good place to eat that catered to vegans, but everywhere was either closed or with marathon no way of getting too. That night was carrot sticks and peanut butter and instant ramen for P. The only place in Getxo that we could have eaten at parking was a nightmare. Getxo’s all street parking. After circling 6 times we gave up. With no kettle in the room, the day we arrived looking for chicken for D, we found a Hypercor. Roast chicken for D and a kettle for cups of tea for humans! Yes, we brought our own tea and mugs! Am I old now taking my own tea and peanut butter on holiday? Actually I’ve been doing it for a few years, so I was ancient years ago. HyperCor supermarket was a lifesaver open until 1am when everywhere was meat for some salad and pre roasted chicken for D. Thankfully the room had a fridge.

The spider freaked me out! Calatrava Bridge. Glass bottomed that sways as people walk around. Okay, moves a little bit. The glass is covered with a plastic mat as it rains so much making the glass too slippy to walk on. Some trivia for ya! DSCF4846Part of Camino de Santiago over looking the old town The park. Wide open space and air after the old town of what seemed like every pub, bar had people spilling out drinking in the streets

San Juan de Gaztelugat

The 2nd day, Sunday after a cold rainy run we set off to we went to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe where some of Game of Thrones Dragon Stone was filmed! Grey skies on off rain all day. The nice heavy drizzle kind. Not heavy rain like in Barcelona. All day rain off the ocean. Pretty blue skies might be perfect for sightseeing the chapel, however the rain added to the chapel’s rugged, remote moodiness and perhaps even maybe more pretty. We got there early for us, which was perfect as when we made our way back at the time we would normally get there if back in BCN, people traffic was picking up. I’d love to return in sunshine and best bit, it’s free entry!

This place is amazing! So much history and superstitions people still go by! The route down to the island was slippy as with only one path in and out.See, I was there! Legend goes, if you ring the bell 3 times you get your wishDSCF5293

After late brunch of side salad and chips we made our way to San Sebastian to indoor climb before eating perhaps the only big meal the whole trip. The what seemed only vegan place open. That’s why we opt for self catering, we get to eat! I’d love to go back also to San Sebastian. P’s been before so knew a little of the sights along the river before making our way back. Even in the dark architecture felt like Nice, which I always liked visiting back in France. So many streets to explore!

Monday travelling back sunny skies returned. If I’m honest I was happy to go back to Barcelona. Sometimes you don’t want to go home after a few days away. After being in a car for what felt all weekend, I was happy to be going back to big salads, sunny skies and my bike.

Driving back in the clouds Crossing the Greenwich Meridian Line! We also saw vultures circling above along the motorway which put a huge smile on my face. Those guys are persecuted so much and all they are, are the clean up crews.

I’ll be sharing more photos over the next few weeks, so watch out for them!




  1. […] Saturday we explored Bilbao, the Sunday we went to Gaztelugatxe. Castle Rock in English. A castle, St Juan de Gaztelugatxe […]

  2. […] they want. I’m hoping then the tigers next door get a long overdue upgrade. Rainy day in the Basque Country Half way across the country the following day, bright bright sunshine. These last 3 are from my […]

  3. says:

    So pretty! I’ve never been up there. I really need to see more parts of Spain hahaha.

    1. says:

      It is pretty up there. Bilbao wasn’t so pretty, but the countryside. Lush deep greens from all the rain and super hilly. Coming back we literally crossed the plains. It’s amazing how the landscape changes over a say 100km. I really want to explore the South more and around near Galicia. I’ve heard the best or most beautiful beaches are there!

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