24th September 2022 by emmadurnford

24th September 2022

Today is our last full day in Spain and we explored the town of Tolosa as we already knew that there was the biggest local markets in the Basque region. It was mainly just food which was not that useful to take home but very nice to try the cheese samples. Rain was forecast and for once the forecast was accurate and it did rain quite a bit.

Despite the rain, we continued exploring and came across an amazing little street down the side of one of the markets which has been completely yarn bombed with crochets panels. It was difficult to find out the background to the project although there was a knitting and crochet cooperative in the same street where the women only spoke Basque so not much more information. Tolosa seems a lovely town - a working town (not just pretty views for tourists) but with some impressive urban art and nature in the town centre as we spotted a Kingfisher and three egrets at the same time on the river. There was public singing as a band walked around the centre 'collecting' singers in the style of the Pied Piper!

As we normally do on our trips, we also saw a wedding and wished the couple well in Spanish. We enjoyed some pintxos for lunch sitting outside the hotel (undercover as the rain started to go off) and then did some final packing, takin g our larger bags to the car so we have less to carry tomorrow.

At last, the reason we are actually staying in Tolosa - our last meal in Spain in Casa Julian. This is a steak restaurant which is regularly visited by the Michelin starred chefs on their days off. From the outside it is pretty unassuming with a green front. We had walked by earlier in the day so we would know exactly the location when we came out this evening. We were a little early and had a reservation for 8.30pm and the doors do not open until then. Other people started hanging around as well waiting for it to open.

Once the doors opened we walked in through a side door past the large firsts where the meat hangs. It all looked rather unkempt and when we were shown to our table, very close to the ‘assador’ I noticed that the ceiling looked like it had been in a fire. Othe repose arrived at the same time. The menu is very simple. We ordered a bottle of local Rioja and starters of delicious leeks in a sweet white sauce with candied almonds and a medley of tomatoes - peeled raw beef tomatoes, roasted cherry tomatoes all sitting in a gazpacho sauce.

The main event - a huge ribeye steak. Nobody asks how you like your steak as they all come the same - cooked rare to blue. They are on the angled grill with charcoal for nearly twenty minutes but as they are so thick they heat up and cook on the outside but remain rare on the inside. Our was delivered to the table for us to cut up and share along with a plate of sizzling hot red peppers and that was it. The meat was superb, possibly not the very best we have had (Buenos Aires was hard to beat) but very, very good. We squeezed in a dessert as well. It was definitely not a cheap meal but it was special and lived up to its reputation and made out visit worthwhile. Somehow I must have ‘accidently’ picked up one of the napkins woven with the name for Colin as a reminder - how did that happen?!!

A lovely end to an amazing road trip around Spain.
Very nice shot
October 26th, 2022  
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