San Sebastián 



We’ve been in Donastia (San Sebastian), for the past couple of days. It has a Belle Époque feel; walking along the beach promenade I could picture women with parasols and men wearing straw hats.

I had some truly delicious slow cooked pork pintxos (small dishes) at La Cuchera de San Telmo.

All signs are in Spanish and Basque and it does sound very different from anything else I’ve ever heard. Our hotel receptionist was patient enough to teach me a few phrases:

  • Kaixo (kaysho) – hello
  • Eskerrik asko (eskerry asko) – thank you

We took the funicular up to the high point.


Playa de la Concha


Traditional women’s wear – banned by the church for being too suggestive!



City services

Old town

River Urumea – incredible tidal flow

    On the Way to School 



    The walk to the university takes about 20 minutes. Here’s what caught my eye this morning.

    This riveting image is next to our apartment.

    The clothes for children are absolutely gorgeous but they don’t look easy to wear.

    A pensive statue in front of a library.

    There are newsstands at most large intersections. People seem to still be reading newspapers.

    Second breakfast!

    This small head is all alone in the middle of the cathedral wall.

    A mosaic near a parking garage.

    Specialty meat and cheese store.



    In addition to camping we are staying in a range of places on this trip.

    Albergue in Huanaje

    Pilgrim’s albergue in La Peza.

    Fundalucia Guesthouse, Quentar

    Abadia apartments, Granada. We went to the hotel and when they learned we were staying 4 nights they offered us the apartment for the same price!

    Casa Grande in Baena

    Hotel Zuhayra in Zuheros

    Entrance to hotel in Cordoba; the Casa Patio De la Vega. A lovely spot in the heart of old town for about 30 a night.

    The kitchen at the Casa.

    Hospederia del Carmen in Castro Del Río

    Ruta Continues Day Four – Ruminations and Rum


    Guadix to Alquife – 16 miles

    Walking out of Guadix we went through the neighborhood of caves and admired their beauty. On the outskirts of town were several brick making sites using the clay of the area.

    Large brick making operation.

    Homage to a beloved neighbor.

    Steps in brick making

    Cave house

    We passed through Cogollos de Guadix and saw the Mudejar church and the Arabic water cistern then walked towards the forest. On the way we met a shepherd who was patient and kind enough to talk with us.


    Roman cistern


    He was 80 years old and talked of how much better life is now than when he was younger, how the food is plentiful and there is work to be had if you want it. He asked where we would sleep that night and gave the darkening clouds over the nearby Sierra Nevadas a worried look. We assured him we had it all figured out and continued on to Jerez Del Marquesado.

    In this lovely village we ate a late lunch at Los Cortijos. We are still learning the names of different dishes so I’ve been asking the servers what they prefer then ordering that. So far it’s worked out pretty well. One of the other patrons stood us a shot of rum so we set off with full bellies and a spring in our step.

    Arriving as night fell and rain threatened in Alquife we asked directions to the albergue I’d talked with the night before. No luck finding it so I called only to discover it was quite far out of town. Feeling a bit concerned we asked again and were guided up the hill to the Albergue Lacho. Here we were warmly welcomed, given tea and many warm blankets. Whew!

    Moorish tower

    Cherry brandy

    Albergue Lacho

    Cigarette Warnings 


    Overall there is almost no trash anywhere but we have seen these very direct warnings about cigarettes.

    Children of smokers have a higher risk of becoming smokers.

    Smoking can kill your unborn child.

    Protect children from second-hand smoke.

    Smoking increases the risk of mouth and throat cancer.

    Smoking increases the risk of impotence.

    Córdoba Day Two


    Today we visited several archeological sites, the Calahorra Tower and the Alcazar.

    There are so many layers of civilizations; Roman, Visigothic (Germanic tribes invading then converting to early Christianity), Arabic and the Berber Muslim Caliphate, Jews then Christians and now modern Cordoba.

    At one point Cordoba was the largest, most educated city in Western Europe. The huge population was possible with agriculture using the mechanical lifting of water from the river. This technology, along with astronomy, medicine and much more, was brought by Muslims.

    Roman then Muslim bath archeological site.

    Roman era sculptures in the Archeology Museum.

    Roman head of Medusa in the Alcazar.

    Alcazar gardens

    Lemon tree in the gardens.

    Three Christian kings

    City view from the Alcazar tower.

    City view from the Calahorra Tower.

    Historic mill

    View from our rooftop.

    City street

    Recipe for a famous Córdoban dish.