Another postcard from the Basque country

Another trip? I know. We’d only just gotten back from the Tour. Typically, we’d have gone directly from the Pyrenees to northern Spain for a further week’s vacation. But, as we’re taking quite a bit of time off in September for the World Champs, we came back home. With hindsight possibly not the best decision. I’ll explain why.

Last Monday I popped out to the supermarket to stock up on essential supplies. As I was leaving  the car park, a car reversed straight into my beloved Tom IV. I was too shocked to even honk my horn. It all happened so quickly. The car, a swanky BMW driven by a Frenchman in his 50s, just shot straight out and hit Tom. After stopping, counting to ten, taking a deep breath and getting out of my SMART, I enquired, somewhat sarcastically, whether his mirrors had steamed up! But was rather taken aback when he freely admitted he never looks in his mirror (evidently) instead he relies on his obviously fallible reversing warning system. I pointed out that I could have been an old(er) lady or even a child. He had the grace to look chastened and asked if we could settle the matter privately.

I sympathised. Car insurance is expensive in France and it’s equally hard to maintain the maximum 50% “no claims” bonus. Also, the damage to his car was more extensive than the scratches inflicted on Tom IV’s paintwork which are being repaired next week at his local garage, at his expense – sorted.

Tuesday I ventured out to drop some papers off at the accountants before their summer vacation. When I returned to my car, someone, quite probably a white van man, had reversed into it and bust the lights on my bike carrier, which was now hanging on by a thread. Realising that maybe it wasn’t my week, I stayed home Wednesday!

Recently that’s not been my only challenge. I’ve been trying to bank a cheque made payable to me – to be split with my two sisters – as trustee, of part of my late father’s estate. Thanks to increasing money laundering regulations I’ve had no luck whatsoever and been made to feel like the sender of one of those spam emails from someone in Nigeria. Perhaps they could tell me what to do?

So it was with some relief I packed up my kit bag and headed to San Sebastian last Friday to enjoy one of my favourite races, in one of my favourite places.

View of Concha beach from the old town of San Sebastian
View of Concha beach from the old town of San Sebastian

We stayed in the Txacoli producing area of Getaria, just up the coast road from San Sebastian, in a delightful casa rural owned by a winery.

Home from home
Home from home
View from my bedroom window: vines and the sea!
View from my bedroom window: vines and the sea!

To be honest, any establishment that serves creme caramel and cheesecake for breakfast gets my vote.

Apple pie, cheesecake, flan, chocolate cake, tortilla...........
Apple pie, cheesecake, flan, chocolate cake, tortilla………..

As usual the trip was punctuated with catching up with a number of cycling friends over a glass of wine and tapas, or pintxos as they’re called in the Basque country.

Valverde celebrates his win with an embrace from his wife and son
Valverde celebrates his win with an embrace from his wife and son

Just like at the earlier Tour of the Basque country, it seemed odd to be there without the Euskaltel team though there were a number of its former riders plying their trade (thankfully) with other teams. The sun shone, the crowds were plentiful and a Spaniard won the race.

I even sat on the beach for an hour or two!
I even sat on the beach for an hour or two!

Now I’m back home with my nose firmly to the grindstone for several weeks until we leave for that extended trip to the World Road Race Championships in Ponferrada.

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