Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

Over the Hills and Far Away – 11 – Bike ride to Socoa

Miki amid the flowers - the Harbour road leading to Socoa

Imbued with an adventurous spirit and buoyed by our expeditions either side of the water way beyond the harbour in St.Jean de Luz, we planned to spend the day cycling over to neighbouring Socoa, and perhaps get a look at the castle that we could see on the headland when we were out on the boat the other day.

Following the harbour, the road intitially was nice and flat, but where the harbour opened out to the sea, the road took us up a steep incline over to the South, and ‘Lactic man’ moved into my calves with a vengeance. It seems to me that no matter how much you ride a bike, it never gets any easier coaxing one up a hill, but I suppose that’s the point.  Trying to surpress and an asthmatic wheeze and impress Miki by not dismounting as the gradient became more acute, I barely avoided a hernia as I came to a halt at a panoramic vantage point, fixed a smile to my ruddy visage and gasped “What kept you?” As blokes, we really are quite stupid sometimes. 🙂

I thought she should have ridden it down......

Still, the effort was worth it, as we looked out at the rocks and the waves that tormented them. Ahead , we could see Socoa in the distance, and also a path that followed the coastline. Foregoing the altitude that we had worked so hard to attain, we manhandled our bikes down a higgledy-piggledy stairway to the path.

Life's a beach.....

The weather was quite beautiful, and made the journey a joy. As we reached the outskirts of Socoa, we could see the boatyard there and turned to ride through it and out onto the stone jetty that would take us out to the Castle. Except it didn’t. it was a bit of an optical illusion, and the further along we went, the more we realized that it terminated to allow for a water channel that serviced a small harbour. No matter. We would go back around the other way. There was no rush, and as Miki prepared to sit down and sketch, I lay down on the rock wall, switched my ipod on, and drifted away. Heaven. You can see some of Miki’s Socoa sketches HERE.

Having discovered that this stone walkway didn't lead to the castle, I decided to chill.

Just before I closed my eyes and drifted away with the excellent Kings of Leon,  I noticed a strange explosion of colour on a distant beach. I think Miki had seen it too, as she was sketching furiously. I grabbed my camera, and with the aid of the zoom, discovered it was some kind of windsurfing school, and they were all kind of standing to attention, receiving their instructions, which I imagine was simply  ‘don’t fall off’. It looked great, so I had to take a picture.


Finally, we found our way around the harbour walls and made our way towards the castle.  However, the castle had to wait. We could see an enormous, long thin sea wall stretching out into the water, and more importantly, bikes weren’t allowed on it. So naturally, across it we pedalled. Telling me I can’t do something often has that effect. It makes life more exciting. The sea breeze blowing across it, the waves crashing on the rocks either side of us, was invigorating. How could we not do it?

Renegade cyclist defies local law enforcement and plans escape across the border.

As we gazed out at the rocks, it became clear that somewhere in the distant mists of local myth and legend, a grumpy giant of limited intellect had cast his unfinished Rubik’s cube into the foaming deep in a fit of frustration.

Socoan Cubism

Our mischievous nature satisfied, we headed back along the sea wall and up to the old Castle, which wasn’t a castle at all, in fact, but a fort – built in 1636 by Louis XIII, descendant of Henry IV.It wasn’t very easy to ride the bikes up here either, but we tried anyway.

Miki heads up to the fort. You can see the length of the sea wall we'd cycled in the background.

The fort occupied an imposing position atop the hillside sheer walls, becoming sheer rock face punging into the sea below. I wouldn’t have liked to try attacking this place from the ocean.

Window cleaners got paid extra here........

"Mine's a Socoa on the rocks, please.."

Following a wonderful crepe and ice cream, from which I absolved myself of all guilt with the vigorous ride back,  we’d had a great day out, and, satisfied we’d got the most out of the area, we prepared to head finally back into Spain.

So long from Socoa

Kev Moore


June 5, 2010 - Posted by | Art, drawing, fun, humor, life, nature, photography, travel, writing | , , , ,


  1. this must have been a fun holiday

    Comment by Artswebshow | June 5, 2010

  2. Kev … you know what? I am due a holiday soon, but each time I come and visit Cafe Crem I get to jump onboard your travels and I just love it. I could taste the salty sea spray in those pictures. I could feel the sizzling sun. Thank you so much for injecting the holiday feeling into my current manic existence!

    Comment by Bethan Stritton | June 9, 2010

  3. Glad we could throw a little seaspray and sunbeams your way! A few more entries like this to come, so you can always get your holiday fix right here!

    Comment by kevmoore | June 10, 2010

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