When I was about a year into blogging I started a regular feature called a Wednesday Wander, where I’d write a post about somewhere I’d been (I’ve travelled a bit), share photos, a bit of local knowledge and my own insight into the place. I had to stop doing them, eventually – not due to running out of places, but because other things came up in my life and they were feeling like a bit of a chore. However, they remain some of my most popular posts, and I’m so happy that people enjoyed them 🙂
Now we can’t go anywhere, for the most part, locked into our cities and towns and villages, dreaming of holidays past. In that spirit, I thought I might revive a few of my old Wanders so we can all travel again, albeit virtually for now. I’ve chosen Dragonstone, aka Itzurun Beach in Zumaia, Spain, as my first location – we’re just over a year out from the (disappointing) finale to one of the most popular television shows in history, so it seemed appropriate. However, even if you’re not a fan, sit back, feel the sunshine, and enjoy the wander…
(…and if you want to do a bit more armchair travelling, check out my other Wanders – there are over 100 of them!)
I’ve recently been away, doing a spot of wandering in Basque country. I am a big Game of Thrones fan and so, when I found out that two of the locations used for the show were not too far from where I was staying, I decided to take a look (and dragged the family along with me).
If you’re not a Game of Thrones fan, don’t worry! These locations are spectacular in their own right, and interesting even without their link to the most popular show in the world.
So, this week I am wandering to Dragonstone, otherwise known as Itzurun Beach, Zumaia. (Yes, I did go to the second location as well, but that will be in another post). Located on the rugged north coast of Spain, Itzurun Beach is notable for its spectacular geological formations, as it is part of the longest continuous rock strata in the world. The beautiful layered rock formations are known as ‘flysch’ cliffs, and are completely spectacular.
Zumaia is a lovely town, the streets lined with lowrise apartments. There is also an ancient fortified church, part of the original monastery that founded the town in the 1200s. Itzurun beach is a short walk from the town centre, along a walkway shaded by trees and a stone archway.
As you reach the steps leading down to the beach (also used in the show), you are greeted by a statue of two lions… or are they dragons?
The beach itself is no secret – the day was hot and sunny day when we visited and it was packed, the restaurant overlooking the water heaving with diners, the sand covered in towels and blankets and sunbathers. I tried my best to get shots without people in them, but it was difficult at times.
However, Game of Thrones fans will definitely recognise the cliff face and cave entrance, as well as this interior shot of the cave where they filmed Jon and Danaerys walking back to the light after visiting the Dragonglass mines. The iconic shape of the cliffs that surround Dragonstone itself are there too, though with a hotel at the top instead of a castle of stone.
And so what was it like to wander in the footsteps of the Targaryens? The rocks were beautiful, the layers of colour and rippling shapes like nothing I’ve seen. A young woman in a long black dress with flowing silver grey hair posed at the entrance to one cave, counterpoint to the many bikini-clad beach goers. Nearby a small child screamed, and I heard the flap of fabric as a towel was shaken out… or was it wings? Overhead sea birds soared, the waves crashing on the ancient stones, wind blowing cooler from the North as the tide came in.
We spent a couple of hours there, playing in the waves, wandering around the rock formations and lying in the sun. As we left, we headed up the stark grey steps used as the entrance to Dragonstone on the show and I could see why the location was so appealing, so much that they needed to create the magic of Dragonstone already in place.
Thank you for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time!
(And next time won’t be too far away – I’m hoping to post about San Juan de Gatzelugtxe, otherwise known as the second location for Dragonstone, before the end of the week.)
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It looks awesome! I’d love to visit it. Thanks for sharing. Greetings from London.
Thank you! I hope you get to, one day when this is all over 🙂 Greetings from just outside London to you, too!
I just love this, Helen! I really am amazed at how surreal it looks. And yes, it sure does put scale into perspective with the lovely photo of you in front of the cave entrance! Cher xo
Thanks, Cher! It was an amazing place to visit 🙂 I hope you’re keeping well with all that’s going on xx
Did you feel as if you were on another planet, because I’ve never seen anything like the topography you saw! Ah, thank you, my dear! Yes, all is well here despite its many challenges! And I hope the same for you and your family, Helen! Thank you! Cher xo
It was really extraordinary to see, Cher! The photos don’t really do it justice. And so beautiful – we stayed for a while and all had a swim, the beach was packed! (though you wouldn’t know it from my photos) 🙂 xx
It really must have been, Helen! It is funny you mentioned that the beach was packed because I was literally thinking how desolate it must have been there! LOL 😉 xo
Haha! I tried to cut the crowds out of the photos wherever possible. It was PACKED!
Well you did a good job cutting out the crowds!! Haha
I always enjoyed these wanders. Glad to see them showing up again.
Thanks, Craig 🙂 I’ve not been doing a lot of blogging of late, but it’s nice to revisit the wanders, especially when most of us can’t go anywhere at the moment. Hope you’re keeping well
I’m well, thanks. Maybe that’s part of it. Self quarantine gets a bit dull eventually.
Yes, I know what you mean. There are small joys to be found in this new life, but the sameness of it can be a bit dull at times. I do wonder what the post-Covid world will look like, though…
Over here it looks like riots.
Yeah. I’ve been watching the situation unfold and it is desperately sad.
Thank you! Hope you’re well 🙂
When you said ‘…most popular television shows in history…’ my brain went to, Star Trek? 😀
Haha! I’m actually using this lockdown time to watch all of Next Generation from the beginning (now on Season 7), so I totally get where you’re coming from 🙂 Hope you’re keeping well