Biking Camino de Santiago Spain

In the spotlights of hoons

Sunset Northern Spain near Mundaka
Written by Stuart Wickes

In the spotlights of hoons

Stuart Profile SmallTwin spot headlights cut through the darkness and flash across our poorly concealed tent. I wish we had decided to push on to a proper campsite, but this was such a beautiful spot; high on the Basque coast, amidst the eucalyptus, looking out over the Bay of Biscay. It was everything the last few days of camping prisons were not; quiet, spacious, with spectacular views, and free.

Another set of headlights swept around the car park. Was this some local gathering point for Friday night al fresco parties or maybe a popular spot for late night romantic rendezvous? I clambered gently over sleeping babies to peek out of the tent and assess the situation. Had our cover been broken? Should I wake the children? Move to amber alert? Put some clothes on?

Did ancient pilgrims feel this way?

But all seemed quieter; just lads chatting, smoking, sharing a beer, hanging out. Naked and vulnerable I lay watching, waiting, wondering what next.

These feelings of vulnerability are much more familiar on the road, especially in the early days and weeks in a new country. Without the comfort of a habitual existence there are a thousand daily decisions to make, most of them complicated by the added unfamiliarity of a language, customs and culture I don’t really understand. And while it feels good to try and strip away habitual responses, doing so reveals something of the inherent uncertainty of life and leaves me to face the consequences of every little decision. Maybe ancient pilgrims felt this too, far from home, in unfamiliar surroundings but at least they had the Templar Knights to protect them.

Camping Wild Northern Spain

I thought we’d be well concealed in darkness. But didn’t expect to be in full beam.

Wheel spins and doughnuts

Squealing tyres on a hairpin bend and a third set of searchlights arrive on the scene. But these are not stopping. Rubber leaves asphalt and hits the gravel, a cloud of dust rising up and swirling towards the tent. Lads down beers, cheer and toot their horns. The arriving hoons carve doughnuts round and round the car park, revving angrily, tyres crunching, spitting stone, sliding, slipping, swerving, headlights spinning, horns blaring. Then away. The lads follow.

Silence returns. Dust settles. As the fumes disperse in the midnight breeze I pick out the sweet smell of eucalyptus once again. The kids are still sleeping and I sense my calmness returning. For now. Perhaps tomorrow we’ll go back to prison. Camping freedom is not without a price.

Coast Northern Spain Sunset

In the morning peace will return and everything will be fine. Won’t it?

About the author

Stuart Wickes

Stuart's the adventure addict half of the team, always trying to persuade the family to get out, do more, go further. As co-founder and co-director he handles the business, creative, design, technical and publishing aspects of the project. He is our chief photographer and videographer. With training as a professional learning and development consultant. an engineer and musician, his contribution is eclectic and unpredictable!

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