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Brian’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 07 Sep 2011

Location: San Sebastian, Spain

MapSalamanca was a delight. We really enjoyed this delightful city. Great sights, sounds and tastes and the buffet breakfast at Hotel Rua was astounding. We even tried the baked egg custard on our last day.
Anyone who plans to come to Salamanca must try to book at Hotel Rua – it just makes the stay being so close to everything.
And now to Bilbao! Our time in Spain is drawing to a close. 3 days in Bilbao then 3 in San Sebastian and we head back into France with a 3 day stay on the beach at Biarritz before heading off to St Emilon.
The 6 hour train trip to Bilbao was interesting; with the landscape changing as we travelled from the plains to the mountains as we neared the coast. Luckily the steward in the cafeteria carriage told me to go back to my carriage at Miranda as the train separated, with the front 2 carriages going in one direction and our carriage to Bilbao!!
We are staying at Hotel Bilbi just up the “hill” from the old city centre. You might like to go to www.bookings.com and read some of the comments about it that were written AFTER I booked it in May!!
Our room is on the top floor (8th). It is quite large and has a huge balcony/verandah. We get a 270 degrees panoramic view of the city. A fridge would be nice!!
After checking in around 4.30pm we did a wander down to the old city centre and found the Tourist Office to collect maps, info etc then wandered about and found a cafe for a pre dinner drink. As we were both a wee tired we decided to call into the local Carrefour (Supermarket chain in Europe) and grabbed some fruit, (bananas are a steal compared to home) bread, cold meats and a bottle of Rioja red (2.2 euros)to enjoy the evening ambience on our balcony/verandah accompanied by some wonderful Spanish music – courtesy of the CD we picked up in the Plaza Mayor in Salamanca – played through my notebook computer.
Tomorrow we attack the Guggenheim!!!!
Guggenheim was fantastic! We spent almost 4 hours in and around it.
Other highlights of Bilbao included;
• The Maritime Museum
• The Fine Arts Museum – which had a marvellous visiting exhibition of ancient Colombian gold works
• The trip on the funicular railway for a panoramic view of the city and surrounds (and the Guggenheim)
• The excellent tram system
Catching the bus to San Sebastian – just over 1 hour away and hope to spend some time on the beach!!
I’ll try and put a few pic/vid galleries together when we get some better WiFi connections. Bilbao was absolutely hopeless. As we have a reasonable one here in San Sebastian, I might give it a go as we can’t check into our Biarritz hotel until 5pm and it’s only 20kms away from here. Even here the WiFi connection drops in and out!! Bugger!!! That’s why I’ve taken to drafting these Planet Ranger entries in a Word Document and then doing a cut and paste when I happen to get lucky enough to keep a connection long enough to send it.
BUT I can let you know that San Sebastian is delightful – even though it was drizzling with rain just after we arrived!