We had one night to spend somewhere on our trek from Madrid to San Sebastian and so after our snow adventure we continued north until we began to get tired of being in the car.
This is hot chocolate. It comes with a cup of steamed milk and we discovered it in a bar/restaurant on our way out of Toledo when the kids ordered Cola Light and were instead served ColaCao. It has become a favorite.
We stopped for a snack at a gas station, looked at our paper map, chose Vitoria Gasteiz, and then consulted Google about a hotel. Scott found a hotel and we were on our way. We knew nothing about the town except that we were tired of driving and it was on the way to our next destination. It turned out to be a great little town and one worth exploring. We checked into a very nice and very inexpensive (Scott and I keep joking about being here during “shoulder season” but it’s really great; fewer people, lower prices and not unbearably hot)hotel and while the kids did some schoolwork I googled Vitoria-Gasteiz and I found a great website, a website that I want to find in every location we visit. Vitoria-Gasteiz is not on the tourist radar yet, but it really is a neat place. We didn’t have a lot of time there but we did have our first, intimidating encounter with pintxos (tapas) for dinner the night we arrived and then spent a few hours the next day exploring.
This website is better than my blog for actual information about the town, but my blog has really cute people in the pictures.
Florida Park right across the street from our hotel.
This is a statue called “el caminante” (the walker). I read about him on the cool website that I found and wanted to visit. He represents a traveler who walked into the city and liked it so much that he stayed. El caminante is a symbol of the community and celebrates his home by getting properly dressed up for festivals or if a local team wins a championship.
We were on our way to visit the playing card museum (which was closed) and found this cool mural.
Who wouldn’t like a town with daisies painted on the walls?
This town reminded me of the wonderful, quirky qualities in all of my favorite people.
Brightly painted buildings shared the street with medieval walls.
Part of the fortified wall that surrounds the medieval part of the city built during the 11th century.
More of the wall surrounding the elevated part of the old city.
Vitoria-Gasteiz is modern too and has been a leader and proactive in environmentally friendly city planning. It won Europe’s title as Green Capital in 2012 and boasts a “Green Ring” of linked urban parks and green spaces encircling the city. Even the tracks are green.
One of the urban parks.
Some of the local sculptures.
A crocodile with some strange hands and feet.
And another fun adventure…24 hour vending machine food. These little caves of adventure can be found all over Spain and usually have a smorgasbord of offerings like hot dogs, pizza, hamburgers, sodas, cookies, coffee and other hot beverages and of course some adult offerings that have led to fun discussions.
I stick to the coffee offerings but the kids are much more adventurous!
Vitoria was a great little pit stop on the way to San Sebastian and from what little we saw, it seemed like a fun town to spend a few days in, and it wouldn’t even need to be in “shoulder season” as long as you get there before it is discovered.