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.
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.
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.
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.