As we set out on a short 40km day towards Tolosa the promise of a comfy bed and spending some time with a Basque family kept our legs happily spinning up the hills out of San Sebastian. The day was fine, the scenery was rolling hills and Emma’s cafe solo was drunk in a bar with signed Tour de France posters on the wall.
When we reached Tolosa and met Lander’s sister Nagore she swiftly showed us around the lovely apartment before whisking us off to meet her mother at her hair salon where Emma’s hair was given some much needed love and attention.
After Emma’s haircut, we were treated to some Pinxtos (Basque version of Tapas but with extra finesse) and quartos of beer. Later in the evening we sat down with the family (including a cousin on a televised game show via corner TV) and had a lovely seafood dish followed by local cheeses, a quince jelly and regional sweets. We discussed economics, farming, game shows and all manner of Spain vs New Zealand alternating between translated English and our attempts at Spanish, before falling into comfy beds for the night.
Having spent the three previous nights in San Sebastian while sorting out a sleeping mat and getting bikes ready for the riding ahead we felt we needed to press on towards the Pyrenees so despite the offer to take us to a Sideria we regretfully decided to leave Tolosa and the warm hospitality we had received the next day. After a wonderful breakfast with freshly squeezed orange juice (thanks Nagore), we were sent on our way with bags of Walnuts, leftover seafood dinner and bags of sugary treats to head East towards Puerto de Artesiaga.
We left Tolosa with a sense of gratitude that Lander and Nagore’s family had shared their rich and busy family life with us and shown us their passion for local foods. We hope that one day we can return the favour if they ever visit New Zealand.