After my time at the Mediterranean Sea I had 6 more weeks left. My plan was to circle the Iberian Peninsula counter-clockwise and there was a pretty good swell forecast for Andalusia looming on the horizon. But that swell could also light up Nazaré in a big way (if it materialized). And Nazaré was very far up on my list of places to see. So, after some hesitation I decided to change the direction of my Iberian rounding and head to the Atlantic first.
The big black forecast blob was due to arrive at the Portuguese west coast in a week, so I had plenty of time to get over there. In the meantime, the forecasts showed a typical Atlantic winter pattern with solid but not massive swells and volatile winds, plus a bit of rain. That bit of rain started to materialize in hefty thunderstorms close to Toulouse. As it was already late I passed the town in order to avoid traffic jams during the following morning and pulled off to a motorway parking just west of the city, where I spent the night.
Thursday around noon I reached the Atlantic and drove to Saint Jean de Luz. A solid west swell was pounding the coast, but the weather was nasty, with a mid-strength onshore wind and loads of rain. Temperatures were in low single digits and it was generally very unpleasant. Welcome to the Atlantic winter. I was already missing the Mediterranean Sea. Tired from the drive and demotivated by the ugly weather I spent most of the day in the van killing time until the evening, when I went to see friends in Biarritz for dinner. At least the evening was very pleasant.