Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Euskalherria 2012

Current Basque Country Region in yellow, in the border between Spain and France

The Basque Country Region (or Euskal Herria) is nested within the "Atlantic Pyrenees" department in France, and the "Basque Country and Navarra autonomous communities in Spain. Is an aspiring nation defined, amongst other things, by their amazing food, well-kept traditions, a helluva complicated language (Euskera), and an ongoing fight for independence. 

I have been lucky enough to visit the French and Spanish Basque country in numerous occasions and it is by far my favourite place in Western Europe. The weather is not extreme, the beaches are not too crowded in the summertime, and the food is always amazing and cheap. I will take the Basque Country over anywhere on the Mediterranean any day. Did I mention the food is incredible? 

If you are travelling there, don't worry if you don't speak Euskera! Most people speak either French or Spanish depending on which side you are visiting and signs are always in both Euskera and French/Spanish. 

1. Pasaia

I first visited the Basque Country in 2007 to visit my aunt and baby cousin. They live in a tiny port town called Pasai Donibane which is about 20 minutes away from the more bourgeois San Sebastian. I recommend going there for a day-trip and visit the Santa Ana hermitage, going on a walk along the water and check out the main square. If you are a Victor Hugo fan, he lived there and there is a museum dedicated to him. If you are looking to have a drink and some food, I would go to:

-- Basically in the Main Square, you'll see it. Their food is delicious, especially the calamari. 

San Juandarra
-- Definitely a very popular bar. You'll see bits of the history of the Basque Country and if you speak spanish, anyone would be happy to talk to you there.

Bar Restaurante Juantxo SL
-- For a very local, popular atmosphere, this bar is at the very entrance of Pasai Donibane. 

There's also a cute bar in front of the church on the main road, there's only one church and one main road so I'm sure you'll find it!

Pasai Donibane viewed from Pasai San Pedro

The main Square
This is me on a boat on my way to Pasai San Pedro, Pasai Donibane's rival town across the port

2. Lezo

3. San Juan de Luz 

4. San Sebastian

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