Friday, 26 September 2014

Days 143 &144: Around Madrid, and to Bilbao - Thurs & Fri 25-26 Sept, 2014

Days 143 &144: Around Madrid, and to Bilbao - Thurs & Fri 25-26 Sept, 2014
Happy 15yrs Anniversary GirlRob and BoyRob. Back to Webasto, who obligingly let us push in ahead of other work. Hoped to be gone before their late lunch, but no, took another whole day to remove, test, replace, retest, instal, retest. At least this time they believed BoyRob's theory that a significant part of problem was related to constant pounding over rough roads and unit was not positioned well enough to avoid touching the base. Placed additional washers and cushioning material between to absorb impact - hopefully we're right to go this time. Lunched at "Bier Museum" surrounded by vats, taps, pipes, tankards, coasters and posters, had pork knuckle and sauerkraut with strudel. 

Long day - GirlRob finished knitting back of baby jacket and one front. Heard from Boomers that they are on way to Madrid, but poor John having to stop constantly to be sick. Oh dear... Finally got away from Webasto just before 5pm (the whole staff waved us off like family!). Stopped at nearby supermarket for groceries and came out to find water pouring out through door of house. Oh no, no, no! Fortunately it wasn't the hot water system, but the tap had been knocked into “on” position during refitting/ packing up, and had flooded sink and cupboard behind, and overflow was pouring onto floor. Urgently opened stopcock into carpark, bailed water out of sink, mopped up, put cold items into fridge and gloomily went back to familiar caravan park to meet a limp John and his more sprightly doctor. Dinner of soup after swapping the week's stories and spreading out all cupboard items to dry and hanging mopping cloths. Yet another repack before calling it a day. Will see whether we depart Madrid tomorrow, depending somewhat on whether John needs any help (eg locating and getting to repairer!). 

Noisy night with train, highway and airport traffic. Cool dark overcast morning, only 14˚ by mid morning. Heading to Burgos, home of El Cid, military strategist and national hero. La Cabrera mountains, to altitude 1300's. Sierra Norte. Low straw-covered hills, stopped for morning tea off highway, 5 vultures, white heads, dark wings circling above. Occasional crop sunflowers, tobacco. Autumn foliage appearing. 

Torro, torro, torro....

Occasional Old Towns, ochre-coloured and grey stone houses sharing walls and yard fences, orange roof tiles sagging. Once again, no parking to be found in the narrow "ye olde" streets, but traffic slow enough to see statues of El Cid and his relatives as we drove by (would like to have seen fiesta figures of Los Gigantos up close). Rest of town "modern drab" (brown, rectangular, unappealing...)

The magnificent El Cid

Back to open plains and hills, haystacks between sunflower crops past their peak. Passed interesting rocky outcrops, tunnels and - oh how delightful - back in green forest country! Pine and eucalypt. Massive quarry 20 km outskirts of Bilbao. 

Into bowels of Stegosaurus....

Followed coordinates to find Aires high on hill, looking past the donkeys across to Mount Artxanda and to the city of Bilbao in valley between. Found to our dismay, that bolt holding set of steps into house had sheared and it hung off to one side. Repair took more than an hour - tricky due to alignment of holes whilst trying to hold step immobile and insert bolt past protruding edge of house... 

Heard from Boomers - they are coming tomorrow night. Spaghetti and mushroom sauce dinner, talked to "neighbours" watching lights come on over city below. Twinkling headlights as vehicles coast through tunnel with transparent roof. Yay - hot water heated up for shower (still a burning smell though??) Weather cool enough for doona for a pleasant change. 

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