In the Basque country
DISTANCE: 45 MILES | WEATHER: SUNNY
The starting point of our route was the capital of the Basque Country and Bizkaia - Bilbao. The city is admirable not only for its ancient history but also modern architecture, famous museums and of course delicious food.
We started its way straight from the airport and on a small winding path has brought quickly to Bilbao, which allowed us horoshenko to warm up and start to prepare for the difficult tests that lie ahead.
I think everyone remembers the news reports about the terrible and warlike Basques, about Batasuna and THIS one, which often arranged some kind of terrorist acts, explosions of railway tracks, barracks, and police stations. That's such a horrible poster met us in Bilbao (see the beginning of the Chapter), a poster, however, only been advertising the festival of fantastic films
In Bilbao attracted attention last building – a glass bridge leading across the river Nervión from Santiago Calatrava to the Guggenheim Museum (architect Frank Gehry). Truly being the most famous and popular place in Bilbao, through which pass the main road artery of the city, this Museum is a building in the form of a bird or a futuristic spacecraft designed for interplanetary travel. In General, it all depends on the imagination of the spectator. Building height is about 55 meters.
The entrance to the Guggenheim Museum on the one hand protects the metal spider, the other - a huge floral dog. And if from the spider blows chill, the good-natured dog of flowers attracts visitors, so the entrance to the Museum is from this side. At the withers the dog is not weak - approximately seven meters. The flowers matched so that there is maximum similarity with a real dog - dark nose, red tongue and speckled paws.
In the modern art Museum we went, and we went to see the city. Drove through Bilbao and looked Casco Viejo – the old town of Bilbao. It is a small area of about 0.5 sq km in the past the city is surrounded by ramparts with a perimeter of less than 1 km (the walls were demolished in the late 16th century). The area is called "seven streets" (in Spanish: Siete Calles; in Basque - Zazpikaleak). This is the most interesting part of the city, this is where the city's main attractions – the Cathedral, the Church of Sant'antonio and the Church of St. John.
On the streets there were many blue-and-white football fans. Football is very popular in Spain. And in addition was the Easter March, as this year Orthodox and Catholic Easter coincide this year.
A traditional Spanish dry-cured ham can be seen in almost any Spanish bar and shop. Directly to the ceiling hung imposing pork ham, and one of them, an opened, usually embodied in a special machine at the bar. This is ham (jamon).
Use ham sliced into very thin slices, so that the cutting of jamon is a special art, which involved a trained specialist — jamonero using a special tool. Stand where you set the ham for cutting, is called jamonera, and the institution that serves jamon, called hamoneriya.
The story of ham has more than two thousand years. Himself Spanish ham have enjoyed a good reputation among the ancient Romans and was mentioned in letters in suchanyh figures of the time as the Emperor Diocletianus and military poet, historian Marcus Varro. In those days, cooking ham occurred due to natural causes, as was the main idea that is harvesting meat for future use. And high palatability of the resulting product was gathered by themselves. The pigs scored in the fall, meat was salted (because there was no better preservative than salt), and the entire cold winter, these same legs were also acquired its own unique taste. Ancestors of Spaniards took to the road dry-cured ham Iberian pork, healthy and nutritious, besides stored for a long time. It is believed that Christopher Columbus could discover America because he could provide for his expedition products, including ham, unpretentious to storage conditions, was a cornerstone.
But we were drawn to the mountains and freedom! Therefore, taking over at a roadside diner on kebabcheta, rushed up...
Moreover, that is not far off it was dusk, and promising places to camp with 4 tents in the city could not see.
We were gradually gaining altitude along the way, looking around in search of a bed. When I started to drizzle a small but nasty the rain decided that it was a sign from above, and we Ilyukha rolled on the exhaust right off highway dirt road in search of a place for Parking.
Unfortunately, all that was not privately owned, poorly fit the place overnight, so after about 15 minutes, came back toward us guys with nothing...
But then came the realization that the bridge, near which we are standing is not only element of the transport system, but also can serve as protection from rain, which never thought to stop.
On the side of the track approached from the bottom - and sure enough - a wonderful flat area near the river, with integrated rain awning in reinforced concrete with a capacity just in time for our 4 tents ;).
In the morning it turned out that the system included and shower from the top drainage after rain poured such streams (fortunately, past the tents) that could use a good wash.
Drove the first day about 45 km away.
And in the morning was Easter, and we all was ready for him: and Easter cake and Easter eggs. So...