Not so pooey


Before leaving Llanes we had to do the Poo thing. My boyish sense of humour led us 2 km down the Poo road to the town of Poo. Photos of the Poo Beach, Poo Railway Station and the Poo Church were shot before we ended up in the Poo Artisan Gallery where the works were far from pooey. By the time we had left, purchases in hand, we had a somewhat different opinion of Poo.

Bilboa’s Guggenheim Museum is an art work in itself and at times even overshadows what’s hanging on its walls.


An exhibition of works by artists during WW 2 was on display, from well known artists like Picasso and Matisse as well as works by men and women interned in Nazi camps. The Nazis had their own opinion as to what was art and the struggle to create in occupied countries by these artists was a powerful resistance as well. These spaces are inspiring and we spent a few hours in there and even forgot our weary feet until we stepped outside.


Architecturally, Bilbao is a real mix and the spaces around the museum on the river teem with people. I like the place.

Earlier in the search for the hotel, the GPS led us past it a few times on the motorway in and out of a toll booth two times returning to the same spot.

“You have reached your destination,” it said again. We eventually discovered the hotel was under the raised highway. Luckily, it is well soundproofed and being 10 minutes walk from the Guggenheim, it wasn’t a bad pick after all.


At least we had a bed.


We ate at a cafe where the tapas menu was only in Spanish and we sought the assistance of a waitress who tried to explain what things were. With her Spanish/Australian our confusion deepened and I said to her,

”Why don’t you pick five that you like and bring them to us?”

She was taken aback a little and she smiled weakly before warming to the task, bringing out each one explaining in Spanish what they were. There was certainly a mix of flavours and I enjoyed them all, although it was hard to tell what we were eating. A cheese specialty in the Basque region is one made from three milks, of cows, sheep and goats and is a strong blue variety. We suspected a couple of tapas were made with it so I ate more than Sharon.

We thought we needed a rest so stayed another day and walked for about six hours. Map my Ride would have had a ball had we remembered to put it on.

Sharon has bought a new pair of sandals and with the sun she has a foot version of a sunglasses tan.


Speaking of sunshine. It is drizzling outside, the first moisture we have had in five weeks. Not too bad considering the weather we had last time we were over this way.


This is not rain. It is the water mist spraying from under the bridge at the Guggenheim Museum. I just don’t have one of the drizzle so this one will have to do.

Tomorrow we head towards Pamplona. The running of the bulls starts on Sunday and continues for a week. We have already booked places in the Pyrenees on Sunday so unfortunately I won’t be able to compete. We seem to miss most festivals in Spain and Portugal by a day or so. Payback for catching every one of them two years ago.



Back in Spain

Phew! What a last few days in Galicia and Leon.

This area of Spain is so different to the southern areas of the country and Portugal that we saw over the last few weeks. The Valley of the Rio Sil had been planted with chestnut trees and have been worked for centuries, their uppermost branches trimmed regularly to leave trunks thick, gnarled and hollowed like those trees in the haunted forests that have eyes that watch and arms to grab.


Farmers grow vines on the slopes of impossibly steep mountains. Monasteries, long abandoned and dug over, were visited. One had a shrine to a long dead saint in an old chestnut tree and scattered around a roughly  carved image of the man were offerings, quite a few Euros, bangles, notes seeking help,  euro millions tickets, all asking for good luck in these bad times, I guess.

We walked around the 2000 year old Las Medulas Roman gold mines through an amazing Wild West landscape of oddly shaped red peaks. The Romans mined the hills by digging tunnels through which they fed water from a network of canals to collapse the cliffs. We walked into one of these tunnels. Incredible!


Coincidentally, we were reading Ben Taylor’s blog that he had just posted and he had photos of the Picos we travelled through today. We, like he, had many Wow! moments, however, the clouds rolled in every mountain or two and later in the day we lost the sun altogether, so if these photos don’t inspire, have a look at Ben’s.




We reached the north coast and tonight are in Llanes, resting up before we head towards the Pyrenees by Saturday.