A Life in the Slow Lane


I am again writing this post in the early afternoon and this is probably going to be the pattern on this trip to Spain, for the simple reason that everything closes from about 1pm to 4pm and so most of our visiting will take place too late in the day to write up in the evening. The siesta is alive and well.

We have driven from Vitoria-Gasteiz this morning on a pretty route through some small rocky hills and numerous sunflower fields, most of which are, alas, past their best. Basil is installed in some shade on yet another free aire (42.350828, -3.680478), courtesy of our current location Borgos. It is our intention to rest up here for a couple of hours and visit Borgos sometime after 4pm.

Yesterday we set off into Vitoria-Gasteiz, which required a long 50 minute walk from our aire, which was located in the boringly modern new part of the city. Once we reached the old town we were pleasantly surprised. The old cobbled streets were full of medieval palaces, churches and other buildings. Parts of the city walls are still intact, but the Cathedral was unfortunately closed due to structural work resulting from it being perched at the edge of the hill on which the old town is built.

Old town with Cathedral tower in the centre

Old Town street scene

Our guide book did not recommend any particular buildings, but it was a pleasure to wander around the old streets. One of the reasons for the town’s fame, for Basques, is that the city was one of the places where the Basque language was strongly maintained at the times in its history, in  particular under Franco, when Spain tried to suppress it in order to develop a monolingual country.

Old Town street scene

City Walls

It was intention to dine on Pinxtos and the tourist information office showed us some promising areas for such bars and so when we had finished exploring we wandered down a recommended streets and ordered two Pinxtos and two beers all for just over €5. Unfortunately as we were enjoying our repast Sarah developed visual disturbances which is a sure pre-cursor to a migraine and we still had a 50 minute walk back to Basil.

Old Palace

The old town square

Miraculously however on our walk back the visual disturbances slowly disappeared, which is not unusual, but the terrible headache and sickness which normally follows, didn’t. In fact by the time we neared Basil she was well enough to sit down for another Pintxos and I had another two! In all we had six alcoholic drinks and five Pintxos for the princely sum of £12.80 and we had both eaten sufficiently for our evening meal!!

The aires are still full despite it being out of season.

Unlike Pamplona, I can highly recommend Vitoria-Gasteiz and we didn’t see all of it. It is also the seat of the Basque parliament and there some interesting buildings in the newer 19thCentury part of the town, which we didn’t have time to visit.