Camping, surfing, eating, reading....
Things got a little crazy back in Bayonne, storm crazy. The howling westerly onshores, the sideways rain, it was too much. We missed the last of the sunny and warm weather by a few days. We weren’t camping and saving money, and we weren’t surfing and exercising. Our complete French Atlantic coast plan was being blown away. After inches and inches of rain the sun broke through the clouds, the wind backed off briefly and Steve managed 1 French surf. But with the outlook cold, windy and wet we had to come up with another plan. After a 5 minute chat we decided to make a move for Morocco, flying Easyjet Madrid to Marrakech. Coincidently Mundaka was on our route to Madrid, so we stopped by to check out the world famous left nestled right in heart of Basque country Spain.
The Pesa bus from Bayonne to Bilbao costs 27E. We walked between bus stations in Bilbao for 2kms, then caught the local bus from Bilbao to Mundaka. All up this took about 6hrs. When we arrived it was HEAVING down with rain. It felt like we couldn’t escape it. Our gear gained kgs as we walked 500m between Mundaka bus stop and the Portuondo camping ground, the only legal grounds in Mundaka. We popped the tent up underneath the camp ground communal sheltered area as there was hardly a soul around and the designated tent area was far from peg worthy. Would have been great for nude mud wrestling if you are into that sort of thing. That night we ate 3 packet soups, played uno with wet cards, and watched a Frenchman crash his ridiculously oversized camp truck into the side of the building we’d taken shelter under. The following domestic which erupted between the couple made us realise how important it is to not loose your cool.
Portuondo camping ground came with super warm all you can shower showers, free wifi and printing, and about 3 other campers. But at 17E a night it was going to be a bit too much for our dwindling funds. So while we waited for the swell we set off on foot exploring Mundaka village and searching for a non paying site.
Mundaka is a classic Basque village with no more than a few hundred inhabitants. Its not hard to fall in love with this place. There were beautiful cottages with fruit and veg farms just north of the village centre - free kiwi fruit, pears, pumpkin, lettuce….
We still needed to find a way out of paying a nightly fee. Potential tent popping site A - small, flat, very damp, not really hidden, and right next to a cemetery. Ahhhh ghosts? Potential tent popping site B - on a slope, not so damp, hard to get in and out of, and right next to the main road and look out area….Potential tent popping site C……Anyway, the bad weather had really taken a toll on us. The swell hadn’t arrived either and we were worrying about spending 17E a night. None of the sites we found were suitable. Then as we walked back to the camp grounds having agreed on another 17E Jess pointed out a bit of land we had overlooked…. “What about that over there”? “It’ll be fa#@ked too”, “no I think we should go and have a look”….Potential tent popping site D - From the main road we could see a peninsula of bushland that stuck out onto the estuary. Well well WELL what a score! It was perfect. After a quick look around we ran back to the camping ground packed up and bolted back to the peninsula with a weeks worth of supplies. It was camping like the good ol days. Reading and surfing with a cooking fire all day. Plus we were still very close to the break. The local train would whip past back and forth several times a day. The tide would noticeable drop and rise swishing through sand beds and rocky outcrops. We had a few visitors walk by and have a sticky beak, but the whole time it was just us with the odd unidentified bush creature foraging around. One night the wind got so strong it was howling and whistling through the trees. Horrifically strong. We couldn’t hear if anyone was coming like we could on a calm night. But 1 sleepless night and a few insect bites was as bad as it got.
The Peninsula had to be manned at all times. It became our peninsular. At high tide there was one way in and out. But at low tide there was several entrances. While Steve surfed early every morning Jess slept in or read this monster book - Shantaram. The wetsuit was hung up to dry in the smoke of the fire between surfs. Jess did a shop runs into town while Steve collected and burnt wood preparing the coals.
After 5 days of moderate swell, bliss camping, and living for $10 Aus a day, our time to leave had came, like every place we’ve visited in the last 10 months. It was time to pack up and move. We were moving from Mundaka back to Madrid. Then to Morocco flying into Marrakech. We left the Peninsular cleaner than we found it. It had to be that way. Mundaka is simply beautiful. Help protect it.