Tuesday, July 03, 2012

...for the love of waves

Cuanto hora... no, cuanto tiempo – I wonder which it is. Ed’s puzzling over how to ask about the length of the bus ride from Bermeo to Bakio. He’s feeling the weight of having to come up with the perfect words and the perfect pronunciation for people who appear to only hear his misteps. Me, I think it’s quite possible to navigate a country completely without language, especially if you know how to use your hands. But I appreciate his efforts. Words help.

And of course, once again, it’s an imperfect conversation. The bus driver tells him  -- 20 minutes.
Emboldened, Ed perseveres. Como se dice – tiempo o hora? (He wants the driver to tell him, for future reference, the proper way to ask about the length of time it takes to get somewhere.)
Cuanto tiempo, o hora – come se dice?
20 minutes -- this from the bus driver again.
No, no, como..
I kick him to let it go. That perfect dance of shared words is just not going to happen. Not now, not with this driver.

We’re riding a bus after leaving our bags at the delightful Hotel Mundaka. Here, meet our most wonderful hosts, looking at the computer after Ed (behind my back) lead them to Ocean.


The idea of swimming across the estuary in Mundaka remains that – an idea. One look at the waters – the very gentle waves, the now returning tide and we decide to put it off for another day, another visit.


We stroll through Mundaka, catching a last look at the port, the fish dumped fresh this morning here...

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...the fish still swimming between boats and dock...


And now we’re riding that lovely little blue train for the four minute trip to Bermeo, where we in turn wait a handful of minutes for the (20 minute!) bus to Bakio.

We wait at the park that abuts the bus stop. I don’t know if this is obvious to people who live here, but there is an interesting pattern that is replicated time and again: the grandmother is taking care of the grandchild. The grandmother has friends. The grandmother appeases grandchild with sweets so that she can talk to friend (or, because grandmothers do that sort of thing). If the grandmother ignores such candy requests, the grandchild takes advantage of her distracted conversation with friend and reaches into her bag in search of something interesting. Like sweets. Here, from a five minute observation:

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Okay, now we’re on the bus, climbing the cliffs and hills that separate Bermeo from the very quiet little town of Bakio.

Bakio has a beach. And it is a lovely, wide beach of golden sand, with a pounding surf, so that even in these days of still ocean waters, there are waves.


Enough for some small surfing...


...and some joyous wave jumping by this Ocean author...


...and equally joyous plunging and body surfing by Ed. [Ed plays in ocean waters like no other. He lunges, dives, rolls, crashes and because he is big, it looks as if he is challenging the waves to whip him with their froth and sand, except (thankfully) he always emerges unscathed, as if he won, as if the ocean was something that he, the mere mortal, could handle and if not, so be it. Life is that way.]


It’s partly cloudy, the water is cool but not cold, the temps hover in the upper seventies. Life is good. (Also for all the grandmothers out there, with their bonnet babies. And for those who just love the roll of the sea.)



We had contemplated walking back to Bermeo (there is a trail), but it’s late and we could get lost, and I want us now to start the roll back, slowly, toward home.

And so it’s another (20 minute!) bus ride and another small blue train ride and we pick up our bags, wave goodbye to the sweet sweet homelike hotel...

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(Oh! The stage is dismantled! Quiet reigns on the village square.)

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And now we’re at the train station waiting for the little blue train again (and I try to take a photo of Ed, whose hair has grown wild, well suited for this month, now coming to an end)...

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...then riding it for the hour or so to Bilbao.

The walk from our little blue train station to the hotel in Bilbao is long and the city is spilling out crowds as it certainly must do on cool and lovely summer evenings.

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A petite ice cream cone helps.


We continue. Across the river, past fountains, away from the crowds.



And now we are at the very modern, beautiful and artsy Hotel Miro  (so different from the friendly Mundaka, even as both are splendid for what they attempt to do)...

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... and we are in Bilbao and at the Miro really for one reason – it is to spend time at the place that is just across the street from us. There, I can see most of it from our window:


But that’s the next day’s story. Most likely written en route to Madison.