One thing Karen is obsessed with is the weather. Before we came out she was

checking the weather here to decide what to wear. Now we are here, she is even worse. Every night we turn on the telly to check the weather on at least two channels (but she does prefer the weather on La 1 for some reason). I am now starting to recognise the presenters: the lovely Marie on La 1 with her numerous screens; Simone on ETB 1 With her long blonde her and deep dark eyes (methinks she is not a natural blonde) and Marcus on 24H with his white jeans and blue deck shoes. (Not a good look. I could never see Tomasz Schafernaker dressing like that, not even he dresses down for the long range forecast on CountryFile.)

The thing is, they are all telling us the same thing. Scorchio! The coolest forecast has been 25 degrees, the highest 28 degrees. The thing is that I have simple system with clothes and temperatures;

<10 degrees=big coat

>10 degrees=light coat

>20 degrees=no coat

You’ve got to have a system. (Karen has a slightly different system which we will come to in a moment). So we don’t need a coat, we do need shorts and we do need sun tan cream. But still we check the temperature…even when we are out and about in it.

I do like a clock and the temperature on a building. The old Evening Mail building in Birmingham used to have one at the top of it that you could see from Walsall and the Evening Gazette building in Middlesbrough used to have one….which brings me to Karen’s take on temperatures. 10 degrees to her is “the temperature that it was when I was stood the bus stop on Borough Road by the Gazette building in my cardigan”. So Karen can relate 10 degrees back to a temperature she experienced 30 years ago at a random location. I suppose it is still a system though.

Here they have the temperature on the tram stops. (Yep, I know. They don’t even have the next tram on half of the metro link stops in Manchester.) I have noticed though that it is usually in the warmer countries that they invest in this sort of weather monitoring technology. It’s not for any practical reasons; they are basically just gloating. I have a running commentary on the temperature at every tram stop:

“Oooh its gone down one degree”

“Ooooh its back up a degree now”

“Wow, according that sign it’s 34 degrees, my watch is telling me it’s only 28 degrees. Which one do you reckon it is?”

The Apple Watch is taking this obsession to whole new level along with how many steps we have walked. I don’t think she has used it tell the time yet.

The Basque language is actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. It’s basically just Spanish with the letter x randomly inserted. So in English my name is Andrew; in Spanish it is Andres; in Basque it is Andrex. (I like that name, it’s strong, but soft and I can see it lasting a long time.). We passed a cinema in a slightly dodgy part of town which seemed to be showing all Basque language films as it advertised them as “XXX”.

The one thing I am struggling to come to terms with are Pintxos (spot the random x). So in Spain you have tapas, (which literally means top) which are small bar snacks that you get with your drinks. In some places they are free. In fact on one occasion we spent a night in a bar in a village outside of Granda and the more we drank, the more elaborate the tapas got. We started with crisps and I we ended up with gammon and egg as our final tapas (but I don’t remember much more as we did have to order quite a a few rounds to get up that standard of food).

Here they have pintxos which are literally tapas…on a bit of bread. And not even a bit of bread that you can turn into a buttie. It’s literally just a thin slice of a baguette. They also charge you €2 for the pleasure.

We went on a bit of a pintxos crawl on Tuesday night for Karen’s birthday trying various pintxos at various bars. I had a morcia one (black pudding)….love morcia…. but on a piece of bread (the reason being?); Cod loin with peppers tapas….delish….on a morsel of bread…what’s the point; then there is my personal fave, tortilla (Spanish omelette)….but on bread….really? If any you watched “Back in time for tea” on BBC 2 recently you may have seen Sara Cox introducing the nation to the “pie barm”, which for the the non Northerners out there is basically a pie in a barm cake (or bread roll, bap, cop, call it what you like). The point is that a pie is great on its own and really does not need bread to improve it.

They seem to be making a pretty packet out of it here though so I am thinking of doing the same thing when I get home, but putting stuff on Jacobs cream crackers (which are equally as pointless). Battered cod goujons on cream crackers; diced fried potatoes served on a cream cracker base and pureed marrowfat peas atop a cream cracker. They’ll go crazy for this in the Northern quarter in Manchester.

This is our last night in Bilbao. We have a full day tomorrow, including a trip to the Guggenheim, a picnic in a park and trip to FNAC (its a shop that we really should have in the UK). I probably won’t get around to blogging tomorrow night unless something really exciting happens and I want to kill some time on the plane, so until next time, adios amigos.

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