Iggy the Hymer motorhome is sitting in the early morning light of Friday the 15th of February at the Donostia/San Sebastian Aire at N43.307899, W2.01433.
It’s been a wonderful two nights here and I’m keen to at least get the written part of our Donostia story done before we get back on the road south in a couple of hours.
We’d visited Donostia before back in May of 2017 – on our first trip in Iggy. It’s a beautiful, beautiful town, but we would not have stopped here this time if not for the fact that fellow vanlifer and Facebook blogger Vera was going to be here with her van, The Travel Bug, her faithful companion Woody, and her sister Rita who is joining her for a few weeks as she heads slowly back towards the UK.
I’ve chatted with Vera to and fro and followed her adventures since she became a member of our facebook motorhome group, and was really looking forward to meeting her – if a tad nervous! I always find it strange to meet people for the first time when I’ve already “met them” online, or through business emails and that kind of thing. It’s almost like I feel they are expecting a “me” that might not actually be much like me at all.
With Vera and Rita there was definitely nothing to worry about! They were in town when we arrived around three in the afternoon, so we took ourselves off for a walk into Donostia and back. It was every bit as beautiful as we remembered, and the temperatures were easily a couple of degrees above the promised 16 of the forecast.
Arriving back at the van Vera and Rita were back home too and we all gathered in Iggy for some lovely nibbles provided by the Travel Bug team, and a couple of glasses of our French wine.
It was a great evening. As fulltime van folk we miss a lot of the “normal” socialising that people do. So when ever our paths cross with fellow wanderers we get a bit giddy with the fun of it. Like most of those we meet Vera is confident, relaxed, interesting, fun. An instantly likeable and inspiring woman with a straight stance, clear eyes and a ready smile.
Big sister Rita was also a delightful woman and I can only hope they enjoyed our company a fraction as much as we did theirs.
February 14th…That rings a bell…
I slept like a log after our lovely evening together and woke up to Valentine’s Day in Spain with the sun streaming from solid blue skies outside.
Jay was still sleeping so Vera and I took the dogs on a walk down to the beach and back. Woody is an old boy of ten and wasn’t too impressed with Marley’s attempts to get him to wrestle her, but she soon got the message and trotted along nicely. She even found a big dog, some kind of a cross between a mountain dog and a beagle by looks, to wrestle with at the beach. Result!
On our return I found Jay had got up as soon as we’d left and been busy spring cleaning the van, fetching water and emptying toilet cassettes while I was gone.
Now our Jay is not renowned for being a big cleaner. And if there’s something he does even less than cleaning it’s making romantic gestures on Valentine’s Day! He’d even put a Valentine’s Day message on my Facebook page!
It was in high spirits then that we wandered out with Marley to spend our Valentine’s wandering the streets and beaches of this beautiful town. We had some half formed notion of having dinner somewhere, but it never quite came to fruition.
Instead we wandered for a while down the beach and into the Old Town, and then bought coffee and cake and sat, basking happily, in the 20 degrees of sunshine to munch them. The children of Donostia played in the nearby park and Jay presented me with a cute, chocolate bunny, lollipop and the words “Rabbits are for Valentine’s right?”
Laughing we shared the chocolate and started to wander again. Stopping an hour or so later in the absolutely fabulous Plaza de la Constitucion. The numbered doors are a leftover from the days when Bullfights were held in the square, and each of these doors was where the numbered boxes were for watching the “show”.
I fell in love with the plaza on our first visit, and today it was the perfect place to while away an hour or two with cold cerveza and vino roso and a slice or two of tortilla.
An enthusiastic Spanish lady fell in love with Marley and asked if she could feed her. She explained she had no dog of her own as she pulled dog treats from her bag and fed them to a happy Marley, with much ear fondling and endearments. If Marley had been a cat she’d have been purring!
The couple at the table next to us introduced themselves. A really nice couple of humans from Lancashire who were staying in rooms in the Plaza for the weekend. He’d become friends with some football crazy Donostians who followed the same English Club as him, and they’d been invited over for a Spanish Club social event.
Eventually we tore ourselves away from the plaza and began to wander the couple of miles homewards along the beach as the sun dipped it’s way into the Atlantic once more.
We stopped once more at a taverna in the modern, student quarter around the Aire for one last drink and a burger to finish off the day.
Basque country played out it’s wonderful way of life all around us as we soaked it into our hearts. Cars squeezing in and out of the tiniest of parking spaces with practised ease. The pavements in front of the most popular student bars crowded with thickets of laughing, confident young folk, cervezas in hand. Children dancing along the streets and eating out with their parents at nine p.m.
And then it was done. Time to take our smiley, weary, “how lucky are we!” faces back to Iggy’s waiting snug.
I’m glad we came back again.