Me and my coursemate Viktoria came to the Basque Country as an Erasmus students from Estonia to study Journalism here at Mondragon University. And to be honest I never thought about going here. The main reason was, oh well, because Spain is southern country and here it is warmer than in Estonia. But now I am really glad that we are here and have great opportunity to discover new culture. My first impression of the Basque Country was not very clear, mostly because our road to this place was pretty long and bloody tiring, but nonethelessinteresting. We came to our flat here in Mondragon (Arrasate)at about midnight, so yeah, I guess you will be tired and distracted when you spent in the road about 18 hours. But still we were so exited that have not felt it that much. And Ander the guy at whos apartment we live was very kind and welcomed us with wine and potato pie, which was mentioned by Viktoria in her post^^
One of the first things that we got to know in next few days were that people here call themselves Basque not Spanish, but they speak on two languages- Basque and Spanish. So my advise would be that do not call them Spanish but Basque. If I talk about the Basque people I can say that they are very friendly and really interested in from which country you came from. I think it is nice. So my very first impressions were nice.
Oh, I love Thursdays. On that day every week is a party with pintxos called pintxo pote. Pintxos mean snacks. They do it here so tasty that you can eat hundreds of them. On Thursday everybody who wants can get 1 pintxo and a cup of vine for 1 euro. That’s why everybody goes out and drink till the morning after. Bars in BC are not the same as we are used to.
First, nobody sits where
Second, you can smoke inside (and not only cigarettes)
Third, there are no ash-trays, so the floor is full with cigarette-butts and other stuff
Fourth, music plays so laud, like in a club, so you can hardly hear somebody speaking
Fifth, you can dance and meet some new people
And the music, here it`s very strange. It is like a heavy rock and sometimes country but everybody are shaking theirs heads all the time and singing. I guess, they like that but I don’t really.
There is no typical clubs in Mondragon, only very similar bars which are closed at 4 in the morning. Only one bar is open till 5, so the whole crowd is going there and you can not breath anymore.
Now in EITB news portal they have photo and article about Erasmus student but also the same in a local newspaper. A lot of people recognise us on a street. One day Arwen with Denise (Erasmus student from Holland) were in a gym and one guy came to them and gave a press-cutting with article about us. Besides, Natalie (Erasmus student from Estonia)met a boy, who already knew her because of a newspaper.
Everybody knows each other in Mondragon, so we are new faces here. It nice to catch attention of others, especially when these others are friendly to you. Basque people are very curious and want to know everything about you and country where you live. They introduce you to their friends and ask to join them. That happens because there not a lot of tourists or foreigners who stay in Arrasate. But some people from Europe come to visit caves and climb mountains. Our housekeeper is working as a guide in caves, so one day we will go there.
Wine in BC it is so cheap, that you can get drunk with 5 euro-)) The most famous and origin drink of BC is kalimotxo. We drink it almost every day. You need: coca-cola + cheap red vine + ice = nice refreshing cocktail. Try to drink 5 or more and then you feel happy. NB! Don’t look at a mirror because you can be afraid of yours blue or black teeth.
We also tried here a black vodka. Is very nice black shot which makes your teeth go more black then, but after 5 kalimoctxos you don’t mind. This vodka have something like bubbles in it and blueberry taste. I like it, so when I come back to Estonia I am going to introduce all that stuff to my friends.
Also, BC produces its own wine called Rioja. It has very rich taste and cost approximately 2 euros.
When I woke up the first thing what i saw when I opened my window were mountains. You can feel the fresh air and freedom everywhere. Live in Modragon is very slowly and relaxed. And I love that. There is no where to hurry.
What are the most important things to do at first day?
It is very difficult to get used to siesta. Everyday we have siesta time (from 1-2 pm to 5 pm). At that time nothing works (exept chinese shops) All bank are working only till 1 pm.
It is better to do a buscard at first because it will take you one hour in a line in a shop and two weeks of waiting ordinary plastic card. With a card you have almost 50% discount.
After you`ll better to buy a phonecard. It costs 10 euro but messages to anothers countries are very expensive. So sometimes it is easier to buy the cheapest phone with a card
Also, is very strange to have a dinner at 9-11 pm. In my country (Estonia) we don’t have such an opportunity because most of citizens go sleep at 10 or 11 pm and we take more care about their figure and not eating after 7 pm.
Don`t be scared if you meet someone and this someone begins to kiss you and hug you. Basque people are very warm and kind, so they are just happy to see new faces and do that everytime.
At the end of of busy day go to a bar or meet with friend to share your feeling =)
Well, I am studying in Basque Country as exchange student by Erasmus program. Never in my life I have thought to visit this beautiful land. BC is located on the north of Spain, so it is a part of it. But this small land (it is bigger than Estonia) is very different from the common Spain. So now I am very happy that I have got here, otherwise I would never see it.
While sitting in a train for 6 hours (Madrid-Vitoria) I was looking out of the window . It is very different to I used to see. Everyway are mountains. I have never seen such huge mountains. So, I am going to live in Mondragon (Arrasate – the name in Basque language). It is a small city in a valley.
At a very first night we were eating a potatoes pie. Our housekeeper Ander made it for us. And that was also the first time I have tryed it =)) I advice you all to try it once and you woun`t be dissapointed.