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Old 12-09-21, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by John N View Post
We are currently planning to start around mid-May. When do the campgrounds typically open? I am debating taking the tent since it would suck not to have that option if all of the regular under $150 Euros a night places are gone for some reason. We hope to stay in the typical albergues for less than $50 but are fortunate enough that price is not a limiting factor.

I knew the restaurants/eating patterns were different that the USA but I didn't know they were off by that much. I have seen bars (restaurants) that, according to Google, open around 8:30am. Are the posted times typically accurate or are they more on "Mexican Time" as far as when they open/close? How often are their grocery stores or "convenience stores" where I can get some snacks if need be. I would prefer not to be fully loaded if possible.

I will look into your favorite stretches of roads. Thanks for the recommendations! Question: Did you ride many gravel/unpaved roads? When they get wet, are they passable or is there some type of mineral in the soil that, when wet, causes the soil really gum up and try to clog everything, a la the Dempster Highway, so the road becomes unrideable? Are their ATMs in small towns or just the larger towns? While I speak limited Spanish (Latin American), is there an issue in the Basque region communicating? I can always use Google Translate .

Many thanks, John
I wasn't camping myself, but I met a couple of other cyclists who complained that many campgrounds weren't open yet for the season. This was in late May and I met them near the coast, which means it was still cool in that region. Remember that south of the mountains it is much warmer and sunnier. In Santander on the north coast, the average high temperature in May is only 62F (17C), with 14 rainy days. You can probably find some websites for campgrounds and find out when they open. I know that some campgrounds are open year-round.

I found that room prices were quite reasonable. I was typically staying in small inns. My trip was about 10 years ago. Airbnb might be a good resource now.

I think that restaurants were in theory open in the evening beginning around 8:30pm or 9pm, but they were deserted. I recall tapas places in the Basque region which had customers before 10pm. I wonder what things are like now with Covid, because in my recollection, customers were standing and eating in very crowded conditions in tapas bars. (An aside, I was in Argentina with a friend and dinner hours there are similar to Spain. We arrived at a restaurant at 8:30pm on a Friday night and they served us, but we were literally the only customers. When we departed around 10:30pm, there was a line out the door waiting to get in.)

I don't recall any issue with finding food shops, but you need to be aware of the hours they're likely to be open.

I was riding a Bike Friday touring bike, not a mountain bike, so I was riding on paved roads. I can't imagine riding on unpaved roads when I was in Galicia, given how much rain there was.

I speak Spanish moderately well, and I think I only spoke English once with a Spaniard. Interestingly, it was a local cyclist who initiated our conversation in English. He saw my bike and panniers and correctly guessed that I was a foreign tourist. In Spanish Basque country, everyone can speak Spanish fluently. BTW in Galicia, road signs are in Galician & Spanish. Everyone there can speak Spanish, however.

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