Outside the Box Adventures: on Tour in Basque Country – Part bi

(bi = two in Basque language… my first post about Basque can be found HERE)

Our tour of Basque Country started in Bayonne France, then moved to San Sebastian Spain, and finally ended in Bilbao Spain. Plus our adventure included visiting several towns along the way. These pictures are our most special sights of Basque Country.

CathedralBayonneFranceBasqueCountry, from-a-box.com
Cathedral in Bayonne France, Basque Country

In Bayonne, the tour group and guide were met, wine and food was shared, instant friends were made, and we jumped into ‘touring’.

The Basque culture was most interesting in that is has existed for thousands of years amongst the changes and turmoil, high times and low times of European history. The people continue to have their own language and own traditions. The tradition of family – of the family being stronger than any each member – is fascinating. The tradition of the first born, whether girl or boy, inheriting the responsibility and representation of the family is remarkably modern. The devotion to faith, custom, and practicality is heartening. Getting to know the Basque was thought-provoking, captivating, and set memories for us to share and enjoy.

Typical Basque house in the tradition red and white colors…
Basque sheep represented in plastic cups and tin buckets

One of our day trips was to St. Jean Pied de Port, where we brought supplies and hiked to the 17th century citadel for a picnic, and a fabulous view of the town.

While we didn’t attempt the complete 300+ mile pilgrimage on the Camino De Santiago, we were able to experience some of the walk in Spain. It was a reflective walk where we meet several pilgrims, heard the significance of their journeys, and gained a new level of respect for those on The Way – oh, and captured great pictures of the countryside! On the flight over, I watched the Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen film The Way to get some background for the area.

PINTXOS (Tapas) Bar Crawl!!! Tapas in Basque language was a super fun night where we visited several bars in San Sebastian to try out different small plate foods and wine. I don’t think I will attempt to cook beef cheeks at home, but WOW they were yummy in Spain.
Top, left to right: Squid (duh), ‘Fish Discard’
Bottom, left to right: Beef Cheek and Brie with Plum Sauce, Txakoli wine

In San Sebastian Spain, after touring the town and the museum, we hit a market for picnic fare and hiked (read: climbed) a hill to the castle and statue of Jesus. The climb was sometimes steep, and longer than we expected. It was HOT and super windy. But while others in our tour group shopped and rested, we hit the hill and were rewarded with fabulous views of the Atlantic coast and the town roof tops. 
And I feel we are stronger as a couple now having survived the adventure with only 2 arguments and one wandering off from (read: deserting) the other.  Like I said, it was hot and a long, steep climb 🙂
snapshots of the hill hike in San Sebastian Spain – gorgeous views of the town and the coast!

This was the first half of our tour… and it was so wonderful – great food, interesting sights and facts, and lovely tour friends to share it with… Such a unique culture and people!!!  If you are interested to visit the Basque Country, I recommend it, especially on the Rick Steve’s Tour. 

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