Thursday, May 20, 2010

An (almost) perfect day in Hendaye

Rocks on the Hendaye Beach
This was the 26th of July last year. A perfect day... almost. If someone at some point says: It felt like a scary movie - I guess that day won't make it as perfect.

My Swedish friends and I started out slow with croissants, pool and barbecue before heading south towards Hendaye, the last outpost of France before the Spanish border. I took the exit for Saint-Jean-de-Luz to show them some of the incredibly beautiful Basque coast line. The road was deserted which felt strange end of July, but the temperature was at 34 degrees Celcius. Either you had made it to a water point or were lying unconcious indoors.

View from the Corniche, the Basque coast

And behind us the Rhune mountain
As we arrive to Henday we realize that we are not exactly on our own. Every person within 100 km had decided to meet up at the Hendaye beach. It took nothing less than a miracle for us to get not only one parking space, but TWO close to each other. The sea was calm, the water was warm and behind us lay the Rhune mountain. Such a beautiful place....

Crowded Hendaye Beach

Not contented with one miracle in a day, we later tempted our luck again, to get a parking close to the little ferry that crosses the water to the Spanish little city Fuentarrabie. And we did find two places again, incredible. We walked slowly towards the ferry, admiring the palm trees and the marina.

Palm trees in Hendaye

The marina in Hendaye

Fuentarrabie (Hondarribia in French) is especially well known for its old fishermen area Marina and the abundance of high quality tapas bars. The kind of bars to win Spanish National tapas awards. You also find a beautiful beach and a walking area along the water, not the mention the old town and its renovated Parador. With our hungry children we headed for the tapas! A few tapas and an ice cream later we got back to the ferry and started driving home.

The Hendaye ferry to Spain

Tapas bar in Fuentarrabie

Busy street in Fuentarrabie

Waiting for the ferry back to Hendaye

Now you are wondering where the scary movie part was in this sunny day... well, it starts right now, as we arrive on the highway. There are big trucks everywhere. Never seen anything like it before and this is a road with lots of trucks, but not like this. In the dark they looked threatening... I wanted to fill up my car with gas, but there were so many trucks I didn't even manage to get near.. I held on tight to my steering wheel and concentrated on keeping on track between all the trucks...

Then I learned that all the trucks are stopped during the weekend and allowed to start moving again on Sunday evening. Good to know that the highway close to the border France-Spain should be avoided after 20H on Sundays...

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