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His fiction film debut came the following year with Polvo Rojo (Red Dust), a tale of the 1959 revolution, followed, in 1985, by the controversial Lejanìa (Distance), the first film to deal directly with the division between Cuban society and the exile community in the United States. This was a theme that would come to preoccupy Díaz, and which he first touched on in his 1978 documentary, 55 Hermanos (55 Brothers And Sisters), a masterpiece of observational filming about a brigade of Cuban-American youngsters on their first visit to the island.
But were he alive today, Oscar Niemeyer would probably be horrified at the thunderbolt the country’s current leaders are hoping to inflict on three of his most spectacular creations in the futurist capital he helped build.
Renault are a manufacturer team and have ambitions to become world champions again but have not made the progress they would have wanted and remain firmly in a midfield fight with McLaren and Racing Point.
The road from San Sebastián to A Coruña is one of big cities, pretty fishing towns, high cliffs and raging sea. It skirts the rugged Basque coast, runs through lush Cantabria and Asturias, and ends up in Galicia, on the wildly beautiful Costa de la Muerte.
Alonso has pursued victory in the Le Mans endurance race with Toyota, which he achieved in 2018 and last year, and is still intent on winning the Indy 500 to complete, alongside his F1 victory at Monaco, motor racing’s triple crown. However, he has been explicit in not ruling out a return to F1 if he believed the conditions were right.
Bend it like Niemeyer: 10 of the best buildings in Brazil Read moreIn June, Bolsonarista extremists tried to storm the country’s congress – another of Niemeyer’s works – waving Brazil flags and using loudhailers to shout: “It’s fucking over!”
San Sebastián is all about food, and there is so much to recommend. Stay a few minutes from the old town and its narrow streets and pintxo bars at arty Hotel Okako (doubles from €120 room only). The local custom is one pintxo and one drink in each bar. Try Txepetxa for anchovies, Nestor for steaks and Zeruko for molecular fare. For a sit-down weekday lunch, Ibai at Calle de Getaria 15 (no website) is a locals’ favourite.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Illustration: Bek CruddaceAfter you’ve eaten and drunk all you can, get ready to do it again 100km away in Bilbao. Here, a fine place to stay is hotel Iturrienea Ostatua (doubles from €75 B&B). Wander around the stunning Guggenheim gallery to work up an appetite for Bilbao’s food. If your wallet can bear it, try Michelin-starred Nerua, with menus from €80 a head, inside Frank Gehry’s masterpiece. For something cheaper, swing by La Viña del Ensanche, a 90-year-old bar serving excellent pintxos and wine.
Next, drive 70km west into rugged, verdant Cantabria and the village of Santoña, staying at El Cantal (doubles from €60 B&B, on booking.com). Explore the cliffs, forts and ancient rock dwellings of Monte Buceiro peninsula, and Berria beach, with its mile of golden sand. Stop by a local bar or shop to try the anchovies, perhaps the town’s most famous export.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Nerua restaurant, in Bilbao’s Guggenheim Photograph: Andoni EpeldeA 45km drive west is Santander, with rugged bays, white sands and ostentatious mid-20th century buildings. While staying at Le Petit Boutique Hotel (doubles from £65 B&B) take a stroll down El Sardinero beach, and catch a ferry to Playa de Somo across the bay, to enjoy fine views of the city. For food, Diluvio in the city centre is excellent or try pintxo specialist Casa Lita on seafront Paseo de Pereda.
Head west on the A-8 for 60km to San Vicente de la Barquera (top picture), a fishing port below the Picos de Europa mountains. Stop for a delicious seafood lunch at El Retiro, before driving 0n 35km to Llanes, in Asturias. Park in a side street and head for the central pedestrianised zone to Hotel Los Molinos (doubles from €60 room only). Saunter around the harbour drinking freshly poured Asturian cider and trying local delicasy percebes – goose barnacles. The area has plenty of beaches – check out Playa del Toro, just east of town.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plaza de la Constitucion in San Sebastián old town. Photograph: Getty ImagesIt’s another 90-minute drive (170km) west to Luarca. There, an excellent place to stay is Villa La Argentina (doubles from £90 B&B), an 1899 mansion with extensive gardens that is now an unusual hotel filled with antiques and objets d’art. In the harbour, enjoy the sweeping view of the town as it circles the bay and stretches up into the hills. For lunch, try El Barometro (5 Paseo del Muelle, unofficial Facebook page), where the peppers stuffed with shellfish and squid in their own ink are delicious.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Berria beach, Santoña. Photograph: Getty ImagesTo break the two-hour drive along the coast to Ortigueira, in Galicia, stop at Rinlo for arroz caldoso con bogavante (€35), a soupy dish of rice with lobster at Porto de Rinlo.
Ortigueira is a beautiful town between mountains and sea. The place to stay is the Castaño Dormilon (doubles from €89 B&B), in a traditional building with modern interiors. For food, check out Bar O Coto (€15 menu of the day, no website), a 15-minute drive south on the CP-6113: it serves traditional homemade dishes such as caldeirada de pulpo (octopus) as well as pizzas. A lovely place to visit nearby is the small village of Loiba, some 20 minutes away to the north-east, and home to the “best bench in the world”. The bench, so inscribed, offers wonderful views of the cliffs and the roaring sea.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Ortigueira. Photograph: Huckleberry MountainFinally, head south on the AG-64 for 109km (90 mins) to your final stop, A Coruña. After checking into Hotel Lois in the city-centre (doubles from €50 B&B), stroll along the promenade for 2km to the 55-metre Torre de Hércules (entry €3), the only Roman-built lighthouse still functioning. The food scene is excellent in A Coruña. For a welcoming atmosphere and classic, unpretentious food, try O Bebedeiro or Taberna de Cunqueiro.