Before we get to the grand finale, there are a few things that happened in between. Let us start here. One more night with David and family, and this beautifully cooked meal. With this beautiful partner A spectacular evening filled with high winds, flamenco music, David teaching Mikey how to cook a proper Thai curry, and a Pinot Noir rose from the Basque Country. David, Silvia, and kiddos, we sco much appreciate your warmth and love. We promise to continue to share it with the world.
Well, this is the first place on our journey that I heard myself say, ‘I could live here for a little while’. There is a definite ‘Aloha’ vibe that resonates through this NE Espana coastal town. Surfers casually jogging barefooted through the streets soaking wet with their boards in hands, gritty white sand still marinating on their skin, and big smiles on their faces=Like. Naked people on the beach= Like. (It’s actually so refreshing to be naked on a beach and be surrounded with others who don’t mind because well, they are naked too). Relaxing energy=Like. Aloha=Like. Actually, I just really wished we were in Hawaii, but I guess the north coast of Spain will do. After a sun-kissed day at the beach, we soaked up the sunset views. Sunsets never get old to me. I feel like I take millions of pictures of sunsets and none of them are ever the same. Maybe that’s the most fascinating part. Something so routine is always a little bit different.
There is a sweet old town to San Sebastián that unfortunately, we did not take the time to learn the history of, but captured some memorable moments.
I will say, this stay was bittersweet. It was by far the worst Airbnb experience we have had thus far. In a secluded room from an apartment on the 6th floor of an outdated building with only the doors to the tiny balcony for air flow, 95 degrees, no fan or a/c, 2 twin beds put together with bedding stacked for negative temperatures and from the 1980’s, no cold water, and Mike’s bed frame collapsed onto the floor after one attempt to sit on the bed. Not to mention the noise from the street. Even with earplugs I heard everything. It was only 2 nights but it sure made for exhausting days. Regardless, beauty abounds here in this gorgeous town. Ahhh…Ameztoi, for 7.95 Euro. Yes please. The first time I tried this wine in the shop, I knew I needed to visit the region it originates from. Dry and slightly effervescent, hints of salt and olives, this white speaks volumes for the Txakoli region of Spain. A summer solstice celebratory bottle was definitely enjoyed from it’s home.
Lastly, this city at night.
Again, seeing ancient towns at night is so inspiring. No tourist is here. No one who lives here is here. Just us. I love night tours.
Jonathan and Jose live around here. Two beautiful humans I met years apart whom both worked internships at Abacela Winery in Roseburg, Oregon, USA. Jonathan and his friend, Adrien, both couchsurfed with me in Portland. I tasted them through some wines, they taught me some naughty words in French, and immediately we were friends. I’m so thankful to call upon them almost 2 years later for a visit in their home territory. Sadly, Adrien had a wedding to attend the weekend of our visit but here is the reunion of Jonathan and I.
He is the type of guy who just moved into his apartment four days prior to our arrival, starts his new job as a wine cottier that week, buys a bed for us to sleep on, feeds us, shares wine and friends, all with that big bright smile. I am so blessed to have such amazing friends. He is one of them. I want to be like Jonathan. Merci beaucoup ami!
He also set us up a wine tour in the Medoc region of Bordeaux. This was our journey to Chateau Beychevelle in Saint-Julien.Crazy creepy castles in the countryside next to just as creepy cemeteries with decrepit graves just haunting enough to place you in the next horror film. I love it though. The dark side always fascinates me.
Back to the wine…
An absolutely stunning representation of the Medoc region, Chateau Beychevelle did not disappoint. Maud, our very educated guide, took 2 hours to explain the history dating back to the 1500’s and lead us on a tour of the property as it stands today. It’s so awesome to share my passion with my partner who is now actually starting to develop his own wine vocabulary. Once in a lifetime experiences happening out here in France.
Jose. He saw me post in Spain and mentioned to come visit him in the Medoc region of the Bordeaux. Coincidentally, as the universe gifted us, we were already headed his way without even knowing. Here is our reunion at the winery where he is titled, Director of Operations.This is his rustic, raw wine operation just 25 minutes north of Beychevelle. This was Mike’s first time ever tasting wine straight out of the barrel. Exciting stuff.
Thank you boys. Our brief tour of Bordeaux was perfect. There are grapes literally everywhere you look. I love it.
Departing from Bordeaux on the ridiculously tolled A9 or A5 or A anything in France really, we see this giant fortress and decide to stop. Cassoulet is a dish that is famous here. It’s a shame we were not hungry because in France you eat butter and croissants. That is all… Okay, I’m exaggerating slightly but these two items are on the survival list here in this country.
This is what you see entering the city.
Whaaaaaaaat?!? This is crazy. Let’s go explore it. So, we find this walled fortress.
Magical place. Walked into the church while 4 men were singing acapella and the sound quality in that space was through the roof. If I could figure out how to post videos here, I would share the goosebumps with you. An enchanting experience for sure.
Alas, we must get back into Spain. Just the very south east tip this time. Now, we have a car. For just 2 weeks of glory, we have a car. It’s expensive though. Over $450 Euro to rent for just 2 weeks, gas is at least $50 Euro a fill, and these tolls!!! Avoid the main roads of France at all costs people. They suck all your funds with pleasure. Thank the goddesses for Google Maps and Vodafone. Complete saviors on this journey.
On Airbnb, we saw the opportunity to stay on a sailboat. We took that opportunity and made it real. This little port town is somewhat in between two artistic musts for us. Both revolve around Salvador Dali. The museum he helped grow and where he is buried, and his home on the sea where many inspirational growths stemmed from. It made sense for us to make this the last of Espana. This was our Spain grand finale and from a sailboat, nonetheless. Here is our sailboat and our free-spirited host, Alex.
He is the type of person who is gracious beyond belief. Cooked us this heavenly Moroccan inspired dish while sharing his love and passion for travel and indigenous people around the planet. Shared his bicycles with us so we could explore the beach and city. Brought his presence and awareness to the table and matched us with ours. Such a compatible match in spirit we found in Alex. Made touring the life of Dali that much more meaningful.
Dali… I feel like I have to do this one at a time because I am still digesting it all. Please enjoy…I had a fascination with Dali as a teenager. Had his posters in my room. Wanted to replicate his art. Wanted to pretend I was a person worthy enough to be in his presence.
A short side note… 2 summers ago, I lived in a small Oregon coastal town named Florence. I managed a quaint wine bar in ‘Old Town’. A man, clearly in his 70’s with a giant grey and black mane and a gruff beard with sunglasses and brand new Nike’s, walked in. I wondered… is he homeless? Is he sane? I can’t see his eyes so what are his intentions?
We chatted. As it turns out this man, Kyle Lind, is a semi-famous artist in town. He led me outside to show me this. His truck.He then explained to me the path of his very existence. One of which brushed lips upon Salvador Dali and they shared a joint together in New York 50 + years ago while Kyle was married to the famous actress Rory Flynn. They shared art in that space in New York during that time and inspired Kyle to further his art career. Hanging out with this man felt like I was hanging out with Dali himself. A hidden gem in a small Oregon coastal town.
We left Alex and his boat to journey into South France with one stop in between. Dali’s house. Tickets sell out fast apparently but what we saw of his estate was just enough.
Pure magic. All of it. We leave Spain for now and head into France, the country we rented a car for. Narbonne is the next destination for a stay at Chateau L’Hospitalet. Bring on the never ending grape landscape and sunflowers. I hear they have those in France.