woensdag 12 juli 2017

June 23: Bordeaux(ish) France - Vitoria, Spain

Much till our suprise the 3,5 euro breakfast wasnt al that bad. For me they had cold milk for my oatmeal :-D and a few very good coffees. Anne and I admired the spectacular humminbird hawk moths that were buzzing around the flowers at the entrance.

It was only a 5 hrs drive to our hotel, we werent really impressed by the views here but (maybe because of all the coffee) the ride wasnt that bad. The number of omnipresent tollbooths increased and now  it looks like there was one every 3 km, it completely turned into a joke. We saw a banana tree near the border and crossed the Pyrenees mountains, beautifull high green hills with low hanging clouwds around the tops.
We entered Spain, Basque country; also very green and smaller hills, it reminded us a bit of austria and slovinia. Its not the first image that pops into yur head when you say Spain, and I like that. It didnt take long before we noticed that the language here, Basks, was somehing special. it doesnt look (or sound, probably) like Spanish at all! you know me, language nerd, so that was a nice extra for the rest of the day. Anne agreed that a lot of the words looked like Finnish.

Spain provides riddles at the highway: what is this object? A) a comet B) a flat soccerball kicked very fast C) an octopus thats stuck and tries to get away D) a showerhead.

Our hotel was in a little town called Alsasua 30 mins from the festival. I’m still surprised they had a hotel there. It looked like a little sleepy town, very cute but not touristic. Ofcourse getting IN the hotel was not just that simple, they didnt have a reception, you had to call a number, but ofcourse nobody spoke English and our spanish is not really that good. After a while (Anne and me watching the men) a woman ran out of the “cervezeria” next door and called them, and registered us (this sounds lot easier than it was haha) she registered Robert as Robert Hasselt.  Sure!

the Roberts on the phone trying to check in at the hotel

Much to our relieve, the hotel was superclean and nice. The well needed shower we all took was fantastic and we were glad we had such a nice place to come back tonight after a long day.

Leave it to me to find a supermarket, in this case around the corner. We went there for some snacks an water, trying to figure out the language. (note to self: cookies with “egg flavour” are extremely unlikely) I enjoyed the quick visit. The average supermarket in Spain looks like the most fancy deli at home with all the nice exotic food.
great system! also with frozen veggies; pick as much as you need.

gigantic cans with olives - Annes leg for proportions

We filled our tank before leaving, couldnt help staring at the rate of the gas here. 93 cents per liter?! (1,20 at home) did we go back in time to 1997 or something? While getting gas, we noticed that there was a big tv screen attached to their building playing Fogerty live! Nice promotion!

Vitoria-Gasteiz was not that far and turned outto be a big city with wide streets and appartement blocks and it looked very exotic to me. The houses... the tiles on the streets.... that intruging Basque language everywhere... (it even has its own font!)

Euskal Herria : Basque Country

Basque font! as seen on many places.

We were expected by our FB buddy Max in a restaurant but we were stuck in the kinda hysterical traffic (serious, how do they do roundabouts! and that weird lights!) and then when we were near the restaurant, it took us ages to find it. But we did in the end, and it was well worth the traffic!
We were awaited by at least 20 nice Spanish Fogerty friends! it was a bit overwhelming at first, we were going like “uhm, ola!, hehe....” and sat down. (at least the Roberts went to introduce themself to everyone) Facundo from ARGENTINA was there also! we met Max lovely wife and daughter, Cliff was also there.

It just couldnt get any nicer that afternoon. The language barrier was no problem at all. It was about friends and good food and having a GREAT time.
The food *was* good... mmmm... nice tapas... like the HUUUUUGE aspergas (!!) the ham, the langostines... ordering the main dish was a bit chaotic. Anne is allergic to fish, we didnt understood the waiter, who didnt understand us, Cliff tried to help, our neighbour tried to help so in the end I was pointing at myself going “fish” and to Anne “no fish” this times 1000. So I got fish, and Anne no fish but meat. It was all very tasty, but for me there was a lack of vegetables (none) but that was a minor detail.
"theres an Eiffeltower in your fish!"

Taking lots of pictures with everyone, and we left to the festival.

We ended up parking the car a few blocks from the festival, so we had to do a small walk, wich was no problem at this point. I enjoyed the stroll on the typical spanish “sidewalk” in the middle, with trees on both sides and shiny street tiles.

We didnt exactly knew where it was but all we had to do was follow the alternative rockfans.
Azkena Rock Festival (ARF) is quite a weird festival for John to play in one way, it has lots of alternative” bands, rockabilly, punk etc. But that was great, it was nice looking at all the rockfans, the alternativly dressed people, girls in crazy outfits, all those handsome dark long hair bearded rockers aaahhhh .... ehm, sorry hehe. 

Also cool band shirts everywhere. I was wearing my bottle rockets shirt because of Cheap Trick (long story) also becaus I couldnt find the Fogerty shirt i first wanted to wear. Then I realised that the BR are very populair here too, but unfortunately nobody adressed me about it.
I saw lots of Tom Petty shirts and even Sweden Rock ( = festival) shirts.

We checked out the frontrow first (John had to play on the mainstage, called "God") met Henry and Jan the truckdrivers and a lot of our new Spanish friends. And Arnold, ofcourse :-D , and a bit later, Karel from Belgium too. (still impressed that Robert B recognized him from 500m distance)
With Jan and Henry

When Facebook buddies meet: Max and Henry

At the entrance we got a bracelet with a “payless” chip in it, wich you had to upload to pay with on the festival grounds. Very clever as you cant lose it and its always within reach. Too bad that its not too easy to get the leftover money back, so you have to think very well before you uploead it. We decided that only Anne and me would upload them.
We didnt have a clue howmuch a drink was, and nobody spoke english, (not even the young!) so it all went very chaotic and in the end the Roberts ran away to get a spot at the front.

We discovered the merchandise stand, wich had fantastic new Fogerty shirts, and festival shirts, and learning it the hard way, we went to buy them now they still had them.

Going to the front wasnt very difficult and we watched a band called The Shelters.
After that; Cheap Trick. I'm not really a fan of their music, and most of all, I've had a huge dislike of their biggest hit Surrender, that for me was the biggest whiny song ever. Sorry fans! But, I thought, now I'm here, I'll give them a chance; I'm totally ready to be blown away, I'd love to!

While getting ready onstage, a weirdo appeared, that turned out to be Rick Nielsen He's as weird as they get. He stole my heart the moment he walked out in front of the audience pre-show to talk to the fans, while brushing his teeth...

Their show was actually pretty nice, though I discovered its still not my music. I only knew a very few songs, but man they're entertaining. Not in the last place because of all the weird guitars Rick Nielsen is playing. They did a great job and know how to fill a stage.
I never saw so many guitarpicks being thrown into the audience before. Rick Nielsen sometimes used up to 5 pieces to play one song. As guitarplayers' microphones stands usually have a strip with 10 guitarpicks glued to them, his was completely covered in picks and it looked like a piece of art. Still not sure what happened, but at a certain moment it looked like a guitarpick bomb went off and 100's were flying through the air, in all colors of the rainbow. It happened again later, so everyone had one. I even had enough to give away to random fans who came to ask after the show.
Tom Petersson

Robin Zander

Encore was the dreaded song "Surrender", maybe it was just the atmosphere they created, the great show, but it had me jumping up and down and enjoying every second of it, haha!!

Anne is adapting to the local folklore

The temperature went down even more and by now it was freezing, I wore the two new shirts as a scarf. Still very cold in my shorts. This was not really how I imagined a Spanish summernight concert would be.

this was our actual color at the time as it was at least minus 200 F° by now

Fogerty's soundcheck lasted a bit, espcially his microphone kept being tested. His roadie kept walking back to say "Si! Si! Si! Uh! Oh!" so many times, it didnt only became a running joke during the trip, we're still saying at home one week later. Si!

This must have been the first time I saw John start a show at 00.30AM. Oh boy!
The show was great, but technically speaken not flawless, probaly because it was the first one. Still great! At a certain level of bands you wont get bad shows, just less perfect. I had a great time dancing and it was great to see everyone again. Too bad it was SO COLD!  We got a few discrete smiles from John, and a big grin from Kenny, who was just about to take our picture when they shut down the audience lights.... Show ended around 2AM. Better not think about it too much.

A few aftertalks with our friends, we collected some nice festival cups (one of them holds 8.5 deciliter :-D ) I ordered food in Spanish woohoo!! (actually I read it from a menu, but they were very impressed haha) we had the worst french fries EVER,

said goodbye to everyone and left. I was so tired I almost crawled back to the car. Short drive to the hotel, and our supernice beds, for a fantastic but very short night.

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