And we’re off!

On Tuesday we got up in the early hours to reach Bilbao for midday and meet members of Extinction Rebellion and Ekologistak Martxan, as well as reporters from various media channels, for our leaving ceremony. Following lengthy negotiations we had got permission to hold it at the heart of the city in the emblematic Plaza de Arriaga.

We reached the square shortly before 12 in the march support vehicle (Nicky’s van that we have customized a little…). Here, the Basque public television channel (ETB) and radio station (Radio Irratia) were waiting for us as well as a sizable crowd of activists with their respective flags and signs. Irdo managed to fundraise 75 euros selling some of our Marcha a Glasgow wristbands.

Nicky’s van!

While waiting to make our statements a policeman came over and warned us that our vehicle was ‘leaking oil’. This led to some concern (i.e. wild panic) among the group as the van is an essential component of the march.

Once Becky and Carlos had made their statements, we had to rush to the port to meet the production team from the Spanish TV show ‘Salvados’, who had just got back from interviewing Greta Thunberg in Germany. We contemplated an emergency stop to fix the van, but decided to add oil as a makeshift solution and sort it out when we reach the UK.

The Salvados team filmed us for over four hours, individually and as a group, with the van, waving goodbye (several times), etc. Perhaps we should have charged them… 😉

After filming we just had enough time to reach the port. Salvados followed us and even attempted to board the ferry. But the port authority had orders not to let them through…or us. This led to much confusion. While trying to resolve the issue via phone calls one of the port officials gave us his support, ‘We live in a caserío (traditional Basque farmhouse), we’re against the intensive macro farms and we’re with you. You’re doing all this for us and I don’t know why they’re making it harder for you’. 

In the end they let us through, but Salvados had no such luck. We promised to send them some shots from the ferry for their programme on climate activism, which will be aired on Spanish TV in late October or early November.

Once in the ferry we noticed our stomachs grumbling: we’d hardly had a bite the whole day. We had a quick dinner of fish and chips and went to bed. The following day the sun shone and there were some glorious views. We made the most of the long crossing to update our social networks and write these lines.

Thank you Marisa, Romain and Vero for your help organising the leaving ceremony in Bilbao!

Written by: Carlos Buj

3 thoughts on “And we’re off!”

  1. It was a pleasure to host Luis in Portsmouth and to meet the team and see you all off from Portsmouth with cheers in the rain. I think what you are doing is amazing and necessary, so THANK YOU for taking action and being the grains of sand. We appreciate you.

  2. Your passion and commitment to the cause is humbling. Your brief stay in Andover brought local XR rebels close to this. We value your commitment and wish you all the best, come rain, wind and roads, for the rest of your journey. Solidarity!!

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