Last weekend together with three Erasmus friends we went on a trip to the other part of the Basque Country, we went to Iparralde.
My French Erasmus friend was driving and told us on the way their that the French part would be very different from the Spanish one. At first I thought that he was just saying that because he is a Frenchman but once we arrived I could see and feel some differences yes.
We visited Bayonne, St. Jean de Luz, Biarritz and some little villages and castle that we came across. The beautiful views and beaches are just as amazing as the ones of the Spanish part. But the style of the cities is totally different. Most of the houses in Iparrelde are white with red balconies and doors, very charming.
Adriana and me with the waffles at the Christmas market
The people on the street made a difference as well. Most of them spoke French and they were dressed in a different style then the people on the Spanish part. But the Basqueness on this part could not be unnoticed. The man wore barrets, Basque words were used and Basque food was served.
Nor could we escape the lovely Basque rain that we have felt on our heads the last month! The first day it rained like crazy and we were forced to enter bars and restaurants for food en drinks..what a bad thing to do!
Saturday morning we walked true Bayonne and noticed a nice Christmas market! Me and Adriana, my Mexican friend, walked around it and tasted some delicious waffels with a lot of chocolate to make sure that our diets were ruined. A glass of ‘ Vine Chaud’ sounded good after the waffels. We went to the wine stall and orderd ‘ Deux vine chaud sil vous plaît’ when the man respond with a joyfull `a dos vino caliente!´. He turned out to be Basque and from that point we noticed that there were more on the streets! The ‘ Agur’ was all around us again!
At St. Jean de Luz
In the afternoon we went to Biarritz, were it was raining as well. It was a charming little city with a lot of Christmas decoration and a lot of ‘ Olentzeros’ ! Here we watched our first match of rugby. What seems to be the most popular sport in French. I could just see that by the look on the face of my French friend. It made his day! Considering I’m not a big sports fan the rugby is not so bad to watch and it’s even funny when there is a nice tackle going on.
In the evening we went to a nice restaurant in Bayonne that turned out to be Basque! Here I order a stake that turned out to be huge! It felt like I was eating like a man and it was damned good for once. The guys order one kilo of steak for two and finished it all (including a piece of mine). We were very stuffed but we were in France so a big plate with cheese and marmalade and some more wine followed.
Very satisfied we walked on the streets a few hours later when we heard some trumpets and laughter. Attracted by the sound we ended up by a little bar were a live band was playing very cheerfully. The bar was stuffed with drunken and happy people and of course we squeezed ourselves between them. We had a good time filled with rum-orange shots and a huge can of beer that the bar women gave to her guest for free.
The next day we were lucky enough to feel the sun shining on our heads. We started with a nice French breakfast and went to St. Jean de Luz by car. Here we played on the beach, saw some local dancing, made a big tour by foot while enjoying amazing views and ate some crepe before we continued our tour to whatever we would come across.
With a mad Frenchman behind the wheel we came across a lot! After making 10 spins at each round a bout we saw some castles, stopped to enjoy the view at a cliff and ate some cheese and wine on our way back in Hondarribia.
A castle we came across
The good food, amazing views, all the Christmas decoration which made de towns very charming and of course my crazy companions made it a perfect weekend!