The Basque Country
Well the car broke down, so much for that idea. John and I were stranded in Castro Urdiales. We were almost to Bilbao when the clutch completely gave out. There was no power and so I had to steer the car as we rolled backwards down the exit ramp. Luckily, there was a fire station at the bottom of the ramp and we rolled right into there driveway.
After examining the car we came to the conclusion we were going to need seem help, so I went and knocked on the door to the firehouse. I was greeted by a fire fighter who helped us call the police. When the police showed up there was nothing they could, expect help us push the car across the street and give us the number to an insurance company in Spain. This was no help as I soon found out that the car had not been registered into my name. After speaking with the local mechanic and wasting two days sitting around Castro Urdiales, I through my keys under the right wheel and hopped on a push.
With my hopes slightly beaten and the reality of the situation sinking in, I tried to come up with a new plan. John and I would go to Bilbao and I would wait to see if Xachi could help me get in touch with the original owners. I wasn't going to let this situation put a damper on the trip, so I decided to take my mind off the current situation by exploring Bilboa. Luckily, for us our buddy Pedro had a friend, Gabriella, Bilbao. So we called her up and long and behold she lived right across the street from our hostel!
I spent the next couple of days hanging out with Gabriela, since John had to head back to London. She was a hospital, funny, and extremely charming girl, who loved living in Bilboa and showing off all the sights and attractions. Bilbao is a beautiful city and the food is phenomenal. Each little cafe has it's own type of food which is a called a pincho or pintxo, as they would say in Basque country. These little delectables became my staple in Bilbao. Each cafe has their own menu but they all follow the same pattern: the pintxos are made prior to the customers arrival and they are ready to go as soon as you walk to the establishment. This means you need to get there early or they will run out of all the good ones and you will be out of luck!
After spending a couple of great days at the beach and enjoying way to many pintxos and cervezas, I was anxious to play some music. Gabriela told me that she had not seen any street musicians so she didn't really know if it was a "thing" in Bilbao, but she said she would be happy to join me on my musical quest.
We headed downtown to the riverside and there I began to play for over 2 hours. It was a great set mostly because two young boys Marcus and Sasha were mesmorised by my songs. They literally watched me for the entire two hours, while asking Gabriela a million and one questions. Who is he? Where is he from? When did he learn to play? Did he write the songs? I couldn't hear these questions and could only smile at Gabriela who had to patiently answer each question.
When I finally wrapped up my set the boys joined me for a photo and then had a bunch of questions for me. Including: Why didn't I have a dog? I guess in Europe owning a dog and being a street performer go hand in hand. I struggle to take care of myself, I don't know how a dog would fit into the equation. It's not that I don't want a dog, I just can't be bothered taking care of one. I think I will wait until I have kids, at least then I will have some other helping hands. Either way, I thought it was the funniest questions/suggestions I had ever heard.
Anyway, the boys were brothers and they were 9 and 11 years old. I gave them a cd and Marcus kissed the cd and couldn't stop thanking me. This was such a meaningful experience because I could see that I had true fans. Music isn't about making money or being famous, it is about sharing your art with people. The hope is that you can inspire them in some way or help them to enjoy a certain moment in time or just to bring some entertainment a situation. I could see that I had accomplished all three for the boys and I encouraged them to start playing and practicing. Who knows: maybe some day we will be listening to Marcus and Shasha the brother duo from Bilboa.
The next morning I decided it was time to leave Bilbao. I finally gave up on the old car and bought a ticket to Nantes, France. My days in Spain were over and it was time to get to France where the waves are waiting.