If the gods were to gather for a winter convention, it would surely be held in Spain. After spitting out buckets of rain in Belgium and freezing my particulars in central France, the Basque region was one of the most welcome changes of the trip.
I’ve been following the northern coastline from the border – nothing but miles of beaches on one side and the velvet green peaks of the Pyrenees on the other. The mountain climbs have been leg-screamers at times, but the descents make them worth the effort. There is nothing like blasting down a winding pass at 60 km/h – you have to enjoy every second because the next moment might see your guts painted on the highway with a 400-meter brush stroke.
I’m still trying to figure out the Spanish people, which is rather difficult since my vocabulary is limited to “I like” (I don´t know what I like, but I like), “water”and “please”. So far the folks seem incredibly laid back, kind of like the French without appointment books. But there are definitely two things I don’t like here:
- Motorists honk their horns way too often.
- The Spanish don’t seem to eat soup. I’ve checked every market – no soup.
These are just minor annoyances, though, and since the temperature is hovering around 20°C, I’m not about to complain.
Still, I have to admit that a tiny part of my heart is still in France. I crossed the border just when I started feeling comfortable with the language and culture, and truth be told, I miss it more than I ever expected. The cities there were so alive, so vibrant, that sometimes I’d just lean on my bike in the downtown plazas and soak it all up like some blue-eyed sponge, always thirsty for more. Here’s a clip of a random 30 seconds in Bordeaux:
There are so many things I want to experience that I’m starting to realize the only enemy of this trip is time. It’s like a bird overhead, always circling, perched around the bend, and yet never seeing what I see or feeling what I feel. All it counts are these days away.