Spain – Day 2: Madrid to Azpeitia

Posted on 23 Jul ’14 by Earl Moore

Vacations are about sleeping in late and then having a nice breakfast/brunch when you do decide to get up – right?  FORGET IT, that memo was misplaced, or I suspect purposefully hidden from me, for most of our Spain trip. :-)

So after being up 30 hours, hours of walking and a late Friday night dinner, we arose somewhere around 7am, checked out of the Madrid hotel and transported ourselves via the metro with luggage back to the airport to get our rental car for the trip — actually, I felt energized…perhaps it was the excitement of the journey.  Once we’d finished fitting the four of us and 10-days worth of luggage into the car we set out for an enjoyable drive north on the Spanish A-1 to the small mountain town of Azpeitia, Spain, where we spent our second and third nights in Spain.

This drive was our longest single day drive with only a few stops to take in interesting towns and sights along the A-1.  We even grabbed snacks from the equivalent of a Spanish truck stop.  Do we know how to travel or what? ;-)

Setting my camera for a fast shutter speed I went from novice to advanced amateur at taking photos out the window from a moving car.  Not a practice I’d recommend if you have more time but one which surprisingly resulted in some decent vacation snapshots.  Thank you Olympus for fast and accurate autofocus.  Just as important as the shutter speed, I set my mind to view the photo experience as a fun learning opportunity and adventure.

I was somewhat surprised at how arid, almost semi-desert, the landscape was immediately north of Madrid. This northward trek of landscape soon turned into rolling windy hills, with many electric generating windmills,  along with rocky outcroppings before finally ending in lush green mountains and valleys.

Our faithful fifth member in the car was our rented GPS navigation unit.  It sometimes got confused but never more then the rest of us.

This would be a good point to issue a big published thank-you to our friend who drove the whole trip.  It certainly took stress off the rest of us and he did an excellent job.  Here’s hoping there’s not a bunch of tickets and fines coming in the mail for him.

 

What Others Are Saying

  1. Tom Dills 23 Jul ’14 at 8:17 pm

    Very beautiful countryside, Earl. I think I also would have had a hard time getting up that first morning, but after that? I don’t think I’d have wanted to miss another minute of daylight!

    It’s interesting how much of the grass is brown in some areas but green in others. Related to elevation and climate, I assume?
    Tom Dills recently posted… Salt Life

    • Earl 24 Jul ’14 at 12:36 pm

      Tom, I don’t believe that first night’s sleep was a very deep sleep — you know how sometimes you can be too tire. I remember being happy when the alarm went off about getting underway — I was awake before it even went off. :-)

      Yes, in one day’s travel there was a wide diversity of terrain. I think there’s probably some strong common weather patterns influenced by altitude, terrain, surrounding bodies of water and prevailing winds. The agriculture and life styles seems to support what we were seeing as the norms for each area.

      Thanks!

  2. Monte Stevens 24 Jul ’14 at 9:45 am

    No rest for the weary. I’m also surprised at the arid landscape but not sure what i would have expected. I like series and love the street scenes.
    Monte Stevens recently posted… Smiles

    • Earl 24 Jul ’14 at 12:42 pm

      Monte, weary we were, but I don’t remember that occupying my thoughts much. I’m not sure I knew what to expect either. I’d read some on northern Spain but I was delighted by the wide variance — arid rolling hills to green lush mountains.

      Thanks. I know these days you’re probably having to drink a coffee in order to sign-on and view my post…I hope that isn’t too tough for you! :-)

  3. Cedric Canard 27 Jul ’14 at 12:09 am

    It’s a pleasure to see this different side of Spain. Too often it is of the cities like Madrid and Barcelona or of the beaches. Few bother to venture out into the Spanish countryside. As you have obviously found out (and captured beautifully), there’s more to Spain than the usual tourist haunts.
    Cedric Canard recently posted… A weird little moment

    • Earl 27 Jul ’14 at 11:39 am

      Cedric, our journeys are often planned taking in account where most tourist travel in order to lessen our exposure and experiences from those distractions. Absolutely we’d rather stay in small hotels or B&B’s, eat at small local restaurants and venture out and see the countryside. At different points of this trip we were asked by Spanish locals about where we were traveling and what we were seeing. To a person, when telling them of our touring around northern Spain, we were met with smiles, approvals and in a few cases a little surprise. We were doing the vacation many of the locals would recommend, or would enjoy doing themselves — certainly they avoid the tourist traps as well.

      Thanks on the photos…vacation snapshots. :-)

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