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La Coruna - Santander - Bilbao

Trip Details

Road Trip 2006 II
Date: Mon, 21/08/2006
Portugal, Spain
Distance: 630 km
Motorcyclists: Manolis, Ploumisti
Photographers: Manolis, Ploumisti
Authors: Manolis
Translators: Ragas
Map: Trip map
Photographs: Link

Sightseeing map

21 August 2006: The morning awakening has a surprise for us: from the window it is difficult to see even the opposite building. A dense fog exists out there that reminds Hjtskok films! The hour is 8 Am, but we have to get up since the today’s program says that we have to cover something more than 600km up to the Bilbao. Moreover, we want to make a walk in the La Coruna before we leave. Until, we prepare our stuff the atmosphere has cleared and the sun shines in the blue sky. With the help of GPS, we reach in the most famous sight of the city which is no other than the lighthouse of Hercules. Once more - first was in the Gibraltar – it is impressive, that this fabulous hero is presented in so much distant places, from Greece! This is because of the commercial travels and colonies of ancient Greeks.

The particular imposing lighthouse is said that it was made in the point where Hercules buried the head of one fabulous monster. The residents as gratitude, made the lighthouse while another version of the myth says that Hercules manufactured it by himself.  Anyway, today in this point except of the lighthouse exists also a statue of the hero, while the visitor can enjoy the amazing view of abrupt green rocks, which lead to the dark light blue waters of the immense ocean... The entry in the lighthouse is by buying a ticket, while in the iron door you can see representations that portray Hercules. The hour, however, passes without noticing it therefore we decide to leave after first pay a visit to the beaches of the city, the castle and the region of harbour that are found buildings in which we can admire the local architecture. For sure, the city has many sights that the time pressure does not allow us to see them.

We follow the national road A6 for Lugo and Madrid, which is very good in terms of quality. After 40km we reach in the node for Baaomnde, where we leave the A6 and follow the N634 for Vilalba. Next to the road we see dense vegetation, something that characterizes all North Spain and more specifically the region of Basques. I consider that Portugal and the North Spain they constitute the beautiful regions for the friends of motorcycle and of the natural landscape.

Having covered without problems roughly 70km in a beautiful and comfortable route, we reach in the node of San Cosme, from where we see again the light blue ocean. From there and beyond the way follows the coastal line, without of course to pass always precisely next to the sea. Because we do not have drunk any coffee, we make a stop near the village Ribadeo, in the beach Les Catedrales. The entire region is characterized by creeks with amazing small beaches, between green rocks with unique underbrush vegetation. It is really impressive that we find so much green vegetation in so much low altitude in the middle of summertime! The landscape reminds Scotland, but with much lowers rocks. We seat in a likeable restaurant while the sun shows us a good face, while we enjoy the immense view of the ocean. With difficulty we take the decision to leave, while Ploumisti tries the temperature of the ocean.

The national network of N634 to Gijon is the continuation of our route, up to the Busto where afterwards we followed the N632. The road is narrow, but with quite a good quality without closed turns. Because we are in a tourist period we find a lot of traffic, however without facing any particular problems. For those who have time, there is also the possibility to choose secondary roads – not in such a good quality, but sure with asphalt - which reach in points that are located near to the sea and provide amazing view. The disadvantage is that you will every now and then have to go in and out in the national network (N634, N632), since the secondary roads are not continuous.

We pass outside Aviles, Gijon and moving, still in the N632 and later in the N634, we directed towards Santander. The weather has begun to burden and we feel that we are near to see a storm. Fortunately, however nothing happened and late the afternoon we enter in the city of Santander, with the weather to be improved. The Santander is a coastal city, which does not show any particular interest. Perhaps this is owed to the fact, that up to here we have seen a lot of cities that have made us a bigger impression. Anyway, we make a small wander in its centre - with the motorcycles - and leave for Bilbao that is located almost 100km away.

It has, already, become darker so that we cannot enjoy the green wooded landscape as the road passes through. The unexpected thing, however, is the surprise that waits for us in the Bilbao. As we enter and move towards the region where they are found the hotels, we realise that the centre is closed!!! A crowd of people is found in the roads, while after a while fireworks appear in the sky! We are informed that the city celebrates its birthday!!!

Not being possible to approach the point that we want, we stop in a small square, that more people enjoy the impressive and splendid spectacle! For 40 and more minutes the sky is lighted up by the amazing shaping of the fireworks! When the spectacle came to an end, we decide to move to the region where the guesthouses are located. After a small roaming and with the help of some helpful police officers, we informed that in the region that we seek, has been set up an enormous and frantic feast, which makes impossible our entry there with the motorcycles. Once more Ploumisti takes action and, on foot, seeks the addresses of guesthouses, moving inside the narrow alleys, full in people...

When she returns, she describes me what she saw: A frantic feast, with many drinks and a lot of musical groups in each corner of the region. The movement – on foot – it is difficult, while to approach the guesthouses with the motorcycles, it is impossible! Characteristically she reports that what she saw is 10 times more comparing to what we saw in the central square Djemaa-el-Fna of Marrakech!!! The alternative solution is selecting a hotel from the ones found in the entry of city. With the help of GPS and by moving in motorway A8, we reach in the hotels of the chain Ibis Hotels and Formule1. Unfortunately, they are full and in particular not for this day, but for the whole week. The cause is the feast of Bilbao’s city! The worse, news are the words of the receptionist that informs us that we will not find any hostel empty in a range of 100km!!!

The only solution is to ask in more economic category hostels. Having seeing, earlier, one of the Novotel Hotels group (C/rio Castanos, 2 - Barakaldo/Vizcaya) we move there, and we found ourselves in the region Barakaldo. For our good chance there is a room in the rate of 98 Euros for a double room. The more expensive choice that we had in our trip, but saved us from more adventures and discomfort, while the hour approaches 1am. We lock the motorcycles in a luminous point - where we can see them from the window of our room - and go up in our luxury room...

For the next day we decide to make a small walk in the city and to visit the museum of modern art Guggenheim, that as it is reported, presents an interesting so much from an architectural aspect, as of its exhibits. Our initial thought to remain 2 days in Bilbao, is replaced by that of staying 2 days in Pamplona.