15-20.10.16

dsc_0770.jpg

Isabel, a Shiatsu practitioner and Free Dance teacher, who I didn’t know but had been put in contact with by the redoubtable Gil, met me off the bus in Salvatiera (Agurain in Basque) in hot, hot sun. She drove me to the nearby village of Egileor where she lives with her daughter and partner in their beautiful, own-built house and garden. Fields, countryside, and hills surround it, and watching the enormous, orange Autumn moon rising faster than I have ever before seen, seemed to fit the special atmosphere of the place.

dsc_0779.jpg

Throughout the property they have paid attention to detail, from the alabaster in the sitting room through which the sun shines (above); to the carefully placed sculptures; and the circular, garden dance space.

dsc_0826.jpg

Sculpture by Paco San Miguel pacosanmiguel.com

dsc_08292.jpg.jpg

We visited Feria, a local town celebrating it’s annual festival. It was full of animals (including donkeys) in hastily erected stalls in the streets; typical regional architecture…

dsc_0795.jpg

..groaning tables of produce from neighbouring towns; and families enjoying themselves in costume.

dsc_0796.jpg

Vitoria-Gastiez is the first Spanish municipality to be awarded the title of European Green City in 2012. Amongst the shopping streets were these drummers (just like the group I used to play with in Edinburgh)…

dsc_0861.jpg

supporting this cause (rebels against poverty).

dsc_0862.jpg

And beside La Florida park was this secret garden, photographed at night.

dsc_0864.jpg

The Jardin Secreto del Agua was created in 2006, with 29 varieties of plants which all require a low consumption of water. It is huge, situated on a patch of land measuring 3,100 Sq m.

dsc_0820.jpg

The view from the bedroom 

Other members of the family and friends were welcoming and I joined a traditional Sunday lunch of bacalao (salt cod). I was looked after so beautifully and so pleased to give Shiatsu to my hosts in return for their care.

dsc_0883.jpg

The first day-long walk up on the hills was behind Isabel’s house. What magnificent views! Sticky clay soil was underfoot, and heather, brown at the end of this year’s life, even occasional thistles, were on the slopes. Then 1, 2… 15 huge birds took off one at a time from the forested side of the mountain and abseiled down an air current before swirling around in an upwards pillar, slowly making their way back up. The vultures formed the shape of a handlebar moustache. I loved it all.

dsc_0875.jpg

dsc_0886.jpg

A companion ran along beside me.

dsc_0869.jpg

San Sebastian, known as Donotia in Basque, is on the Bay of Biscay, with its sweet sands, stunning views, and English speakers.

dsc_0897.jpg

Rio Urumea

dsc_0920.jpg

Going up Monte Ugueldo on the narrow gauge railway allows one to see the Playa de la Concha stretched out below. At the same time as some people were swimming, there were women fully dressed in fur coats, smart with lipstick on.

dsc_0904.jpg

The zig-zag road back down is surely the place to go if you are a young man, have a car, and want to impress your girl, racing round the helter skelter hill.

dsc_0921.jpg

I walked back from Salvatiera station (6km) as a test to see if I could manage a few days of serious walking.

dsc_0936.jpg

The sun and beauty of nature by the roadside was enticing.

dsc_0946.jpg

dsc_0893.jpg

A very welcome invitation to stay in Pamplona was received, and after my days in Egileor I went to Merce’s, another experienced Shiatsu practitioner.


Even in the rain this elegant city is worth seeing. There are the streets where the bulls famously run; the Câfé Iruña where Ernest Hemingway and other writers met and inspired each other to sip green tea in (below); and the city walls to take more photos from (above).
dsc_0951.jpg

The next morning I gave a Shiatsu, and packed a small bag of unnecessary and heavy belongings to be sent on to Madrid. I was given victuals which would last me the next 3 days (such kindness), and dropped off at the bus station, rucksack on my back, where 20 minutes later I at last joined the Camino Francés.

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s