The Year of Travel Disasters, Part 5

DATE: 21.4.2010
TIME: 20:52:00
TYPE: stored/sent
STATUS: stored SMS
San Sebastián very beautiful, looked around old town and sat on beach. William getting tired and missing home now.

Subject: Another update
From: Rory Ewins
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 2010 22:06:38 +0100

Hi folks,

We’re in San Sebastián/Donostia. A beautiful city, with an old town built behind a headland and two big curving beaches either side of it, with lots of grand nineteenth-century buildings behind those. We’ve had the whole afternoon here (and now night), after driving through Pamplona and then onto a road to the French border, along a beautiful valley with very un-Spanish looking houses, many tunnels and lots of Xs and Zs on the signs. Basque words everywhere—Donostia is a key Basque city, and it certainly shows. Glad to have spent some time here, even if under such difficult circumstances.

William has been saying he wants to go home more today, poor fella - he’s feeling the strain. We gave him some park time in Tudela this morning before setting off, and plenty of beach time this afternoon, but it’s still hard on him. Halfway to Paris now, and should be back on the road by 10 tomorrow after doing our tricky Biarritz-San Sebastián airport rental car swap (the two airports are 26 km apart, and we have an hour to get from one to the other—pick up new one, drive to San Sebastián airport in convoy and drop off old one, and off we go). San Sebastián airport was quite small, and the rental car lot was chocka; in the airport itself, all the flight arrivals were from either Madrid or Barcelona.

In a souvenir shop in San Sebastián, William decided he wanted a fridge magnet of a nice cartoon sheep. We’ve seen it on a lot of bumper stickers, and I’m pretty sure it’s a Basque separatist logo.

One striking sight on our long drive through Spain has been just how prevalent wind farms are here now. They’re all over the place, on hills and mesas overlooking old villages, across fields, everywhere. A few big solar power farms too. They’re really going for it in a big way.

Also a good line in monumental public modern sculpture to break up the motorway monotony. Will be interesting to see how France compares.

So, tomorrow it’s past lots of France I’d wanted to see someday at 100-120 km/h, as we get as close to Paris as possible without actually staying in Paris.

I notice online that there are reports of flights gradually restarting in the UK. Wouldn’t have helped us get home any earlier than May, because they’ve all been booked up for days and days; and now that it sounds as if we’ll get some travel insurance cover after all, I think we definitely made the right choice. Anyway, I saw it as a friendship-saving expense rather than just getting home and back to work; if we’d all been stuck in that house for another week or two not knowing if/when we’d get home, and all competing for the single (non-wireless) internet connection during times the boys were asleep or out, we’d have been at each others’ throats.

24 February 2012 · Travel