RideEatCamp

Guernica

Europe

We’re in Spain now, in Guernica to be exact. We’ve been in Guernica for two days because I needed time to recover from a fever and head cold.

Before we reached Spain we stopped in Hendaia for a dip in the Atlantic. It was warm.
Before we reached Spain we stopped in Hendaia for a dip in the Atlantic. It was warm.

On our way out of San Sebastian we climbed and climbed on this wonderful road. The descent was plastered with encouraging messages to racers in the recent Vuelta a España.
On our way out of San Sebastian we climbed and climbed on this wonderful road. The descent was plastered with encouraging messages to racers in the recent Vuelta a España.
The north coast of Spain is just one beautiful beach town after another. We descended to Lekeitio, where camped for the night the day before reaching Guernica.
The north coast of Spain is just one beautiful beach town after another. We descended to Lekeitio, where camped for the night the day before reaching Guernica.

The benefit of getting sick is that it slowed us down. We would have ridden through Guernica yesterday getting only glimpses of this proud and culturally significant city. I tend to act like an oil tanker when I’m on the bike. Once I get up to speed it takes a lot of effort to get me to stop. Poor Carrie has to rein me in sometimes or we’d be riding 12 hours a day.

With a day of rest scheduled we visited a couple of museums, took a siesta, and generally enjoyed ourselves in Guernica.

Guernica is the cultural capital of the Basques, a people whose language is unrelated to and older than any other language in Europe. The city was destroyed in 1937 by German and Italian bombers supported by the Franco Regime. It was the first time in modern war that non-combatants (women and children) were targeted.

Since then the Basques have fought to maintain greater independence from Spain and France, sometimes with some violence of their own. I don’t know enough to say more.

Tonight however sitting in our hotel room in the city center, the window open, a band playing American blues classics, crowds outside the bars, the city alive and well, all I can think is that I’m glad I got sick.