Postcard from the fishing port of Lekeitio

Lekeitio was as unfamiliar to us as the Guggenheim. All we had were memories of some encouraging snippets we’d found online before we left.

Our route from Bilbao began on motorway, and then turned off on to smaller roads, that wound down through wooded hills towards the coast. After a little over an hour we found the signs that told us we’d reached Lekeitio, but we couldn’t find the place we were staying. Instead we plunged into a neverending squash of apartment blocks, with no hint of the sea or our hotel.

Thankfully, by the time we retraced our route, a laundry van had moved to reveal the stone archway leading to the hotel. We drove through into a world of green, with golden cows lazing beneath the trees beyond the lodge. It was an old building (17th century) with rough beams, and stone floors – everything full of character and welcome.

The next day, we went in search of the ocean, and met it on the far side of the built up core of the town. It stretched out to either side of the harbour, beneath cliffs in one direction and along sandy beaches in the other. We chose the high route, but took our time, lingering outside cafes in the sun, enjoying crusted bread, filled with jamón ibérico, or slices of pale, salty goat’s cheese.

At night we strolled the streets again, between the apartment blocks, and around the churches and squares. We ate in crowded bars, where the food and wine were fresh and delicious, and orders taken at such pace that the end result was often a surprise.

On one night, which happened to be over the weekend, we ate and then walked down to the port in the dark. We passed the bars, and the winking gleam of fishing boats and water, and went on towards the high wall that held back the waves. Behind us the town hummed with laughter and chat, voices merging, echoing off the buildings, rolling down the streets, and out to sea. I cannot recall being in any town, where voices dominate all other sound – happy, rooted and at home.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023

3 thoughts on “Postcard from the fishing port of Lekeitio

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