Between Bilbao and San Sebastian there's a lot to see, but since this was an express trip we only saw three places: Butrón Castle, Ermita San Juan de Gaztelugatxe y Guernica.
Butrón Castle is a fraud, but such a beautiful one that we didn´t regret going there. When we were researching on what to see on our way to San Sebastián we saw the pictures of this place and was like "we have to go there" but only when we got there we actually read about it.
This castle was built on the XIX century around a medieval tower as a result of the eccentricities of Marques de Cubas. He wanted a Bavarian style kind of castle and because in that area castles are quite different, architecturally speaking, he just went and built his own fantasy place. It's a private place, on sale now actually, so we couldn´t go inside. If it's a must go? Honestly I don´t think so, but that Mr. Cubas did a very pretty place there, that he did.
Ermita San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
This Hermitage, of the 5th Century, is an islet on the Basque Coast connected to the Continent by a small bridge. Seeing it on photos it seemed easier to visit than it is and less crowded as well.
From the parking next to the national road that links Bormeo to Baquio, one has to go all the way down to the ocean on a very steep path, cross the little bridge over the ocean and then up 241 steps to the hermitage. We just got till halfway, first because we went at lunch time and had no idea of the time and effort that was needed to visit it and we were hungry, second because there was so many people that half of the mysticism of the place was lost anyway. We went on high season, I'm sure it´s more quiet in low season.
When I was 12 years old, Guernica was a familiar word to me, but only when I saw Picasso's painting at my friend Daniela's house I started to connect a story to it. 23 years later I went to the epicentre of the fateful events.
Guernica is a small town in Basque Country which was bombed in 1937 by German and Italian warplanes. Why German and Italians? Because the dictator Franco was a supporter of both, Hitler and Mussolini, and Guernica was believed to be the centre of the Republican resistance in Spain. Picasso immortalised this terrible genocide on a huge painting that can be seen today in Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid.
A few buildings of the town survived the bombings and one of them is the Casa de Juntas and the Guernica Tree. This place is very emblematic of Basque history, because it was here that the politicians would meet and it's said to be here where it was decided that Basque Country should be independent.
If you go there, we recommend you to get lost, to go wherever your feet take you, because it's a small place with many interesting sites to discover.
Next week I'll tell you my experience in San Sebastian and how we discovered a lovely little vilage on the border with France.