To the north! Pamplona, Bilbao, San Sebastián and Lleida (Spain)

Someone very special (I wonder who) gifted Tim tickets for the BBK Live music festival in Bilbao.

We made this the perfect occasion to explore northeastern Spain. We packed the car with camping gear and off we went to discover everything we could between Barcelona and Bilbao in just a few days.


Our first sleep was in a camping site in Huesca, Aragon. This was the day I discovered and fell in love with outdoor cooking. Amazing! I was introduced with a small gas burner and one pan. Enough to make my porridge in the outdoors next to almonds trees and bugs. I’ll never forget it 6th July 2017, the day I outdoor cooked for the first time. This would be the start of me and my appreciation for pit stops at Decathlon (LOL) to get camping supplies.

The next morning we were back on the road and managed to drive pass the river that led to a beautiful reservoir called Embalse de la Peña. The water was turquoise and everything around green.


So we kept driving and saw that Pamplona was close by. We simply drove to the city to have a wander. When we emerged from the parking garage, I went: “why does everyone have a light purple t-shirt and a red sash around their necks?” Ah yes! We had accidentally gone to Pamplona on the first day of the San Fermín festivities. What?!

As I then realised, their t-shirts were’t purple. They were white stained with litres and litres of sangría. Although I don’t support this tradition, seeing it first hand was a good accident.

BBK Live

Our camping site for the festival was on a mountain, beautiful, except that cars couldn’t drive into the site. So we found ourselves having to walk all the the stuff up there. It was worth it. Beautiful. Hundreds on tents lined against Mount Cobetas.


Colourful tents and Mount Cobetas

It was my first experience staying at a festival and sharing public toilets and communal showers with so many people for three days straight. Would I do it again? Yes to the festival but no to the camping. Sorry Tim.


We managed to visit Bilbao for a day and see the very impressive Guggenheim Museum. Yes. It is that impressive. We read about the rapid industrialisation and de-industrialisation the city has undergone. We had a coffee and walked along the Nervion river.

After we left the camping site and had to head back home to Barcelona, we stopped at Getxo, a small city by the sea, very close to Bilbao. Tim used to work there so he enjoyed revisiting after several years. I had the best pizza I’ve ever had there too and a glass of wine with a view.

I had heard so much of San Sebastián and people recommended it to me when I said I was going to visit the area. So we went. It was very pretty, true. But also very touristy, it reminded me of Bruges, another very popular, very scenic and very visited town in Belgium. I realised I’m not very into these destinations since everything seems set up for tourists and the locals are kind of hostile and fed up with the situation. We even saw a graffiti that said: “Tourist, go home!”.

We were heading back and again saw a large reservoir. This was one called Embalse de Yesa. Stunning. The views heading back were amazing. We stopped at a roadsite hotel in Quicena, Aragon. After a few sleepless nights at the festival, this felt like a gift. Had an amazing solid-8-hour sleep. We felt very rested and when we got closer to Catalonia we decided to stop in Lleida.


The province is known for being agricultural. Since we arrived on a Sunday and most places in Spain and France are closed on that day, well we weren’t expecting much. We had some churros and chocolate and starting walking around. The Cathedral of La Seu Villa is hard to miss so kept walking towards it and managed to in and see it up close. The view over the city was impressive.

And that was it! A few days in northeastern Spain. Everything was unplanned except the music festival and as you read, we had plenty of surprises that would have seemed planned. Ahhh… embracing what the universe offers.


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