My Travel Blog

Exploring Hondarriba Spain & the Fortress of Guadalupe

With our stomachs turning at a T’ai chi tempo verses the mixed martial arts we had been dealing with Bilbao proved to be a delightful adventure. The next day I wanted to drive into the mountains behind San Sebastian to visit the Basque Country, but the concierge recommended we head up the coast to Hondarribia.

“Lisa was looking for a picture to paint with boats.”

Founded in the 6th century AD by the Visigoth King Richard, Hondarriba is a small fishing village set at the mouth of the River Bidsoa.  Just across the river lies the French tourist town of Hendaye.  We spent a couple of hours walking the streets and checking out the many shops located just a block off the water.  We also found a lovely park with a very cool fort that we were able to explore.

“Just across the river is France.”

“The old fort.”

After lunch we walked up the hill to checkout the old part of town.  The views were great, but it was mostly narrow streets lined with apartments.  The Plaza de Armas is located at the very highest point where the Castle of the Emperor Carlos V stands.  This ancient fortification had been transformed into a Parador (hotel). From the outside it’s not very interesting, as it looks like a large stone block set in the middle of the square. Unless you’re a guest they only let you in the lobby, so we couldn’t check it out.

“Enjoying the old town.”

“Lisa enjoying the old town.”

After our tour of Hondarriba we drove up a winding road to the top of Mont-Jaizkibel to visit the tiny hamlet of Guadalupe.  In fact it was so tiny there was hardly anything to see.  Just past the town, at the very top of the mountain, was a large park. Lisa’s stomach had started to act up.  She refused to leave the car.  I thought about dragging her out, but she’s got a pretty fair left hook so I let her be.  From the parking lot I climbed a small embankment only to find a hidden fort.  Construction of the Fortress of Guadalupe started in 1890 and was completed 10 years later.  During the Spanish Civil war it served as a prison, and was used as a barracks up until the 1980’s.

“Entrance to the Fortress of Guadalupe.”

“Some of the fortifications around the fort.”

We drove back to San Sebastian for our last night.  It was hard to believe that in less than a week we would be flying home.  The last six-months of adventures on board Rabelo left us with memories for a lifetime, and yet in six more months we will be back to start all over again.

“It was time for a scary film festival.”

-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave” – 
a Chuck Palmer Adventure novel



About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.