Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A few days away: Hondarribia

After our untimely eviction from the Socoa coast road we stop in Hendaye which appears from our map to be on the France/Spain border. 

Looking for somewhere to pull up for coffee I drove right past a welcoming parking place complete with patisserrie. Fortunately there was a combination roundabout/bridge right in front of me. I drove around/over it and back into the car park. We made coffee and bought a couple of croissants and rummaged around digging out passports as you never know if you are  going to need them these days. 

We tore ourselves away from the charms of the car park and this time I went straight across the roundabout/bridge and discover that the border seems to run right through/under the middle of it. For the second time that day we are in Spain.

Hondarribia is a couple of clicks up the road. The guide book says it  is old/cute/picturesque etc etc and it certainly is handy,  so we head off there. Parking up on the waterfront I cross the pavement to have a look at the water and the front. Something the guidebook failed to mention was that the locals like walking on water and sticking their bottomsout at visitors:

Now that's the sort of information I want in a travel guide.

In fact the Hondaribbians seem to have a very strange relationship with the wet stuff and have wheels fitted to all their boats:

Want to stop your boat getting stolen? Take the wheels home.
We wander up to the old fortified town. At first glance it looks as though it hasn’t changed for a thousand years:

But move  a few feet and it's the twenty first century:

Time travel, brilliant!

There is a Parador (posh hotel) in the main square. I imagine the conversation: 

                Guest: I’d like a room, do you have any?
                Receptionist: Yus, Guv (or Basque equivalent), we have 439 rooms.
                Guest: Great. I’d like one with a view.
                Receptionist: Sorry, that room is taken.

Meanwhile, down at the Sunday morning boot market there is a decent trade in domestic detritus including children's books. They like to educate as well as inform so include a broad selection of titles from which the children can learn useful phrases for those special moments:

While looking for the harbour we discover a special road for dogs, El Via Perros, which runs along along a section of the waterside:

In his book Chariots of the Dogs, Erich von Daniken cliams that sometime in the distant past, ancient Hondarribia was visited by canine creatures from the future and that the simple fisherfolk, made the Pavement of the Dogs in hommage and decorated it with drawings of the wonders to come. I thought it was the usual E von D mystical bollocks...

..but you can't argue with that.

Verdict: Old/cute/picturesque etc etc - and just a bit wierd.

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