Thursday, 23 March 2017 12:00

Playing with de time in the Basque Railway Museum.

I have never had a toy train in my life. I don’t know, I've always been better at cooking, I used to imagine that I was preparing some pesto macaroni, a good roasted chicken, an Orio-style red bream…However, everything changed when in a Harry Potter film I saw how the students went to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by train. Something inside me made steam engines become an obsession in my life. My comments about "Naysmith & Wilson", CAF, or the Industrial Revolution make my kuadrilla crazy; but the kuadrilla is the kuadrilla.

In my opinion, the culmination of the "kuadrilleral warming" began when I discovered that the first electric train in Spain was that of Urola, which connected Zumarraga and the heart of Gipuzkoa with Zumaia on the coast. "Hey, Joakin! Did you know that the train of Urola, which was inaugurated on February 22 in 1926, was the last great railroad/train that was made in Euskadi?". And Joakin, filling his lungs before answering- "Smartypants! If you want to know all that is necessary about the railroad/train of Urola, go to the Basque Railway Museum in Azpeitia!"



By the time I took the road to Azpeitia, or Azpeiti as they say, I knew that the station had been the central one of the Urola Railway. Nevertheless, as you pass through the door of the building with vernacular (local) architecture designed by Ramón Cortázar, you realize that you are entering into a different and magical place. The first magical and special people I met there were Miren and Leire, the two lovely girls who you can make the guided tour with.



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The visit by Miren had been amazing. First, she took me to see a whole level of period costumes of the machinists, station chiefs and railway workers in general. Moreover, there was another floor filled with antique clocks.


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I did not find the way to Hogwarts walking toward the garages, but I could play with time and space walking back and forth between wagons. You will feel like a "gentleman" traveling to the spas on board the steam trains; You'll believe you're in the streets of Porto watching the electric trams sitting on the bench named "Deva". And so it goes with 70 different locomotives. Moving on to the maintenance workshop you could move 90 years ago and feel how the 20 workers that the workshop had at that time were working. 





I was astonished, unable to close my mouth while Miren opened the doors of the subcentral. There she found all sorts of plaques, toys and documents voluntarily donated by the visitors of the museum over the years. Therefore, I needed to know more about old Urola, so that's why Miren led me into the office of Juanjo Olaizola. I'm not going to lie to you, I like being surrounded by intelligent people, and hence meeting Juanjo was a real pleasure. He was an active man willing to help others at all times. In my case, while he was with me, we'd been scanning some documents from the library that is located in the back of the Museum - that was the response of a request made by email!



To be honest, I don't know if I came out wiser than I had entered, but they gave me the opportunity to know one more passage of our history. It's worth visiting it because you won't find anything similar in 400 kilometers to the round.



I left Azpeitia with a single pity: not being able to make the trip through the slope of the mountain Izarraitz in one of the elegantly renovated wagons "Aritza" (oak) or "Pagoa" (beech), pulled by a steam locomotive as I am invaded by white and black smoke. I'll have to return from April 13 in order to make it, but I'll come back! See you soon!



Thanks to Andrés Basagoitia for de video and Juanjo, Leire and Mireni for your hospitality.



Click here to access in the Basque Railway Museum website where you will find timetables and prices.

If it is interesting for you do not lose the opportunity to visit all the experiences that you can find around and have a look all the Touristic Information of the region.



Iñaki Sare


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