Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The journey is the destination

Day 16 - 08.05.12 Bilbao

After a slow start to our day in Bilbao we had some lunch and plotted to head off to Laredo to enjoy the sea.  We knew the van wasn't too happy after our last run so we'd decided not to go too far and away from the mountainous roads.  Or at least that was the plan.

The van made all sorts of weird noises when Chris tried to start her.  Eventually she juddered into life but as soon as his foot came off the throttle she cut out, every single time.  We couldn't find anything obviously wrong so after a few more attempts we gave in and called the breakdown company.  They were incredibly helpful and organised to send out a tow truck.  We bundled up toiletries, some clothes and the passports and awaited the tow.  The guy came in around an hour and a half and took our precious van away leaving us homeless.  The instant he started to winch the van the heavens opened and the rain started pouring down.  Watching the van get loaded onto the tow truck was heart-wrenching.  We were both terrified that this may mean the end of our adventure.

We plodded over to the local shopping centre for some cover.  Half way across the bridge a man busking on a trumpet started playing 'We are the Champions' which made us chuckle.  Having used the shopping centre a few times for the toilets and free wifi the security guards didn't look too pleased that we had turned up with bags of belongings so we head off to a nearby park and found a bench under a tree.  We spent a couple of hours there, drawing awful looks from the locals until we spoke to someone at ADAC.

Hotel Hesperia Zubialde in Bilbao
They told us that the problem with the van was with the fuel seal and that it would be fixed tomorrow.  We were to be put up in a hotel until then and could spend 69 euros each on the room AWESOME!  They said we could organise it ourselves or they could do it for us.  Not fancying walking another step with all our stuff we asked them to sort it out and crossed our fingers.  We'd fetched a list of hotels from the tourist office just in case so when the girl rang back and told us we had a room in the Hesperia Zubialde we knew it was a flashy 4 star place just round the corner.

Hotel Hesperia Zubialde in Bilbao
Sure enough the Zubialde is LOVELY!  We've got a huge room with a massive marble bathroom, crisp white towels and free wifi.  It's utterly bliss to recharge our batteries after what has been an awful day.  Even after only two weeks in the van its exciting to be spending the night in a proper bed, enjoying a relaxing bath and spoiling ourselves.

Huge thanks to the guys at OurTour and Gillian for the heads up about ADAC, they are just brilliant!  Our cover is 96 euros for the year and this room costs over 100!  PROFIT!


  1. Wayhey! Every cloud has a silver lining eh? We daftly forgot to ask ADAC to pay for our hotel when our clucth went. Doh!

  2. Naw you missed out! 69 euros per person per night! That's just the first time so far they helped us out, we had to call them again 2 days later and they were once again awesome. I can't thank you enough for recommending them!