Parador de Argómaniz, Álava, Basque region 11th/12th June
We set off from the Parador Santo Domingo de la Calzada the next morning, as the weather forecast was rain we decided to head for a shopping mall in Logroño with views over the river Ebro and baroque architecture. Sadly the shopping centre was closed when we got there as it was the festival of San Bernabé ; so after a cup of coffee we set off for a shopping centre in Vitoria-Gasteiz which was open. We had a wander around the clothing shops that don’t trade in the UK, then from the sublime to the ridiculous we enjoyed a burger from a fast food chain. We also bought some provisions for the journey home, including snacks and drinks. We arrived at the Parador de Argómaniz situated in a small village overlooking Vitoria-Gasteiz by mid afternoon. The staff on reception were very friendly and helpful, they even gave us a parador passport to be stamped at each parador, pity we hadn’t got one earlier. We didn’t have a meal in the restaurant but couldn’t resist a photo of the amazing ceiling, it is said that Napolean stayed at the building which became the Parador, before the battle of Vittoria.
The next morning after another very good night’s sleep, we checked out of the hotel, as we had a few hours before we needed to arrive at the ferry port, we drove the short distance to the reservoir near Medijur, a nature reserve, known as pantano garayo. We parked our car in Medijur and walked along a track to get a better view, swifts and swallows screamed overhead, we managed to get close enough to identify coots, great crested grebes, gadwall and pochards on the water. On our return to the car we met a ranger from the Diputacion and his spaniel dog Izar, enjoying the beautiful countryside.
This was a wonderful way to end our tour of green Spain, as we headed north towards Bilbao, we stopped for petrol at a roadside garage, we had a piece of bread and slice of tortilla with a coffee. The approach to Zierbena has a combination of toll roads and tunnels, we were very happy to join the queuing area of the port as the Baie de Seine docked. On board we settled into our cabin for the return journey. The next day arriving in Portsmouth as night fell, before the drive home.