Spain - Portugal
Part 7: Urkiola - Greece
My host Jim at Oviedo has already left the apartment as he works as a driver for a supermarket which means that his bed misses him before the rooster wakes. I didn't wake much later as I had many km to cover and I go to the kitchen and see how I can satisfy my stomach before I satisfy my eyes on the road. Did I praised my host enough on my previous post? (part 6). Well, maybe not. Since he works for a supermarket he had flooded the kitchen and the fridge with all shorts of edible and drinkable stuff for breakfast with a clear written message that it was all at my disposal. What a top guy...
My iron horse loaded and ready to head East for the Basque country, weather is OK for the moment but rather questionable and I hit the road. If I had more time in my hands and better weather I would definitely dedicate more of the first for Picos de Europa National Park but instead I just intended to drive as close to it as possible. So, on this surprisingly cold 1st of July I take AS114 in an attempt to make my long riding day as scenic as possible. It was scenic without a doubt but the weather didn't allow me to capture beauty - I did captured (once again) some considerable amounts of water instead. It is a marvellous area that you shouldn't miss if you are around, how could I know that 1st of July would look like 1st of January up there.
After a couple hundreds of km I am outside Bilbao, still rains and I stop at a gas station for a refill. The guy working there sees my Greek number plate and starts a chat. Behind my helmet and in a super noisy environment I manage to here him in English calling me "Ulysses" and commenting on the long distance I have covered to make it up there. I don't think I had a similarly intellectual encounter at a gas station before. I thank him and depart to ride in the rain again for the last 100km.
I struggle to find my next Airbnb located up in the mountain of Urkiola and after repeated cross checking on maps and Airbnb I am outside a yard that looks pretty much like the place I'm looking for. The door is closed, weather shows mercy and has stopped raining minutes before but I am kinda anxious as it would rain again anytime soon and I'm already wet enough and tired. I start calling my host Francois but no answer. With no other choice left I call his name. No response. I am a second away before I jump the fence to make my way into the property when Francois appears from his fence at the property next to the one I was about to invade. As I turn my back to reach my bike and drive up to his entrance a full sized German Shepard appears from the first property. Yep...just imagine what would have happened if I had jumped that fence...
Francois tells me that it's a tricky way to make it up to his place so I'd better wait for him there and he'll come pick me with his car. I said to myself "how bad can this be - it's not even a gravel road". Well, when I walked a few steps to see what they were talking about I understood...I didn't want to leave my bike there in the middle of nowhere though so I told them to take my luggage and I would ride my bike up this slippery twisty uphill with less weight. My worn rear tire showed mercy so I made it in one piece and Francois with his wife brought my luggage in their car.
What a fantastic couple and a super beautiful place they have in this Basque heaven. My room puts a smile on my face instantly. Look at my bed:
The whole house of this amazing BnB is decorated from Francois's wife (damn - missed her name) and the location is wonderful - at least on OK weather conditions. Have a look:
Francois and his son would go the town of Durango around 10km away for a visit to the supermarket so they kindly offer to take me with them as I definitely need some stuff too. They also invite me for dinner later and his super smiley and talented wife makes a great one. We felt like friends instantly and I extend my stay for a plus day as I want to wait for better weather. Besides, what a nice place to be waiting for the clouds to give place to the sun...
I grab a chance of a not so rainy day and do a bit of hiking around. Didn't regret it at all:
Still quite misty and wet: