Gueteria, unexpected slice of paradise

On the sage counsel of a sailor we met in Rochefort, Michel, we stopped for the night at the Gueteria Marina. We’ve been desperately seeking free anchorages, but yesterday there was an emergency weather bulletin for the Northern coast of Spain, so we thought it best to tuck into a safe harbor.Peter and I are both stunned by the beauty of the Basque coast. Emerald green, where we expected arid landscapes. Yet it’s so different from the coasts of France or the UK, and the striking geology of the region bears witness to the fact that this land lies on a fault line, where two plates have been striking up against one another for eons, creating peaks, valleys, coves, and the most incredible rock formations.The marina in Gueteria lies at the foot of the old town. The staff were helpful and the facilities very nice. From our berth, we could see the terraces of cafes above us. A quick climb up an ages-old staircase leads straight into the heart of town, with 2 or 3 beautiful restaurants facing the sea. Above that, you enter a lovely old street, no more than 3 or 4 meters wide, lined with shops and cafes. The closeness of the houses keeps these little streets cool and shady, even in these crazy summer temperatures. It also had lots of my new favorite: Tapas bars!I guess I’m a little sheltered, as I’m just figuring out what the whole tapas phenomenon is about. I love it. We came back to this street for supper, and at 7:30, it was jumping. We chose a place, and Peter went in for the first round. I went back for a second round, and while I was away, he’d struck up a conversation with a man eating a big dish of fried peppers. Turns out these were Guernica peppers. We ordered some and they were delicious. I think I’ll have to add some food blog pages to cover the food we’re discovering here.Paralel to that street is another street, similar in architecture, cool and shady, with a lot of historical buildings. Here you’ll find the butcher, the fishmonger, the baker and several produce stores. I found peppers to try to make the dish we had last night, as well as chipirone, small squid, that Peter has been wanting to try.We met a lovely Irish couple on the boat next to us in the marine. He was called “Bungee”, and they were waiting on a new exhaust pipe for their new sailboat, the Amaryllis. I’m sorry I didnt catch her name, but I certainly enjoyed her hearty and infectious laugh. Sailing folks tend to be good folks, wherever we go.To be continued!

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