Day 72 – Bilbao to Trento

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I wish I knew how the hotel rating system works here – it seems to be totally random. The Bilbao hotel( two star) cost me 100 Euro a night, and did not include breakfast (though the receptionist gave me a 10 Euro discount this morning as I checked out). Tonight’s pub (one star)  is 50 Euros, and includes breakfast. It’s got all the same facilities, is in a major tourist area, and costs half. Amazing. Santander I booked a while back, as accommodation there is a bit scarce in the season – that’s cost me 100 a night, too.

I was awake at 6:30; breakfast was a cheese roll I bought yesterday, and half a litre of OJ. I opened the curtains – grey and gloomy, but no rain. I packed up, got the bike down in the lift – first one that’s been large enough to just wheel the bike in – paid the bill, and set off; North, over the footbridge, then along the Rio Bilbao, past the Guggenheim.. Lots of joggers/dog walkers/walkers; mostly women exercising. No commuters yet.

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El Camino de Santiago runs pretty much along the route I’m taking, but once out of Bilbao it tends to drop down into valleys, then climb the other side – it’s more geared to walkers and mountain goats on this stretch than cyclists. But the first few km are the same;  El Camino shares a bike path (or is it the other ay round?) until it joins the N-634 out in the suburbs. Lots of hills to get out of the river valley; nice and cool though – a maximum of 23C here today, and showers – there was just enough rain not to bother with the wet gear until I was wet, then it would stop and I’d steam myself dry.

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Through Muskiz, which is a nasty heavy industry place. First really heavy industry I’ve seen, and I’m the worse for it. Stinky, smoky, and foul. I know we need these industries, but I’m sure the anti-pollution laws could be tightened, and enforced.

Out of Basque country, and into Cantabria.

Down to the coast at Miono – grey ocean, grey skies,showers – it didn’t look that enticing – but people were on the beach, and some were in the water.

Up hill and down dale to Laredo, a huge resort town; like the Gold Coast on steroids. dozens of high-rise hotel/apartments along the beach, and street after street of bars and restaurants, all pretty busy. The N-634 is well-marked, and I managed not to get lost. I though about stopping for lunch, but Trento was less than an hour away, so I carried on.

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The Hotel “Las Ruedas”  is great. My bike is locked up downstairs; my room has an ensuite, blackout curtains that actually cover the window; air conditioning, colour TV (not that I’ve watched much) and good wifi.

I had a quick shower, and a leisurely lunch – I was on the road for almost seven hours in total today, some of it a bit stressful – the N-634 is a bit narrow in places, and though the motorway takes lots of traffic, there’s still coaches, trucks and caravans. They tend to keep the 1.5 metre gap, but I tense up in heavy traffic – just can’t not…

Lunch 🙂 seafood pasta, Bocanao, rice pudding, a couple of glasses of red. I won’t need dinner.

So – that’s my penultimate day’s cycling. Santander is just 45 km down he road, so I won’t rush off tomorrow morning. More rain and cool weather is forecast, which might keep the weekend day trippers off the road. We’ll see.

See you down the road.

 

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