Friday, 2 August 2013

Road trip: Basque Country & Saint Jean de Luz

Rony and I usually go on holiday, just the two of us, twice a year. So far we've been to Paris, Belgium, Granada and a few other places. Up to now, the decision has always been easy to make since the requisites are quite simple: a good price and a good hotel. But this year the decision was a bit harder... We knew we wanted to go on a road trip, but where? La Côte d'Azur was our first choice but for numerous reasons we changed our plans and went to the Basque Country. Well, it was more of his decision really, but I was more than happy to visit a new place anyway.

Having driven for about six hours (Rony being the only one that drove), we arrived at our destination pretty exhausted. It was four in the afternoon, which is siesta time in Spain (even worse when it's a Sunday), so the streets in Vitoria - which is a small city in the south of the Basque region - were absolutely empty. We were quite bored at first but by 5.00pm the cafes had opened and people had started to get out of bed. We walked around for a while (not too long, it was 35 degrees!) and sat down outside in the shade while drinking iced coffee.

I must admit architecture fascinates me, and even more does interior design. For someone like me, Bilbao is a paradise. The Guggenheim museum, with its iconic architecture and amazing interiors, is totally worth a visit. The pieces of art they have are certainly not the best you can see in Europe – numerous museums in Madrid have paintings from better-known artists – but for a short visit it’s really nice. There was an exhibition on art during the time of war, which I found very interesting. There were a few very captivating installations, one by the architect of the museum, Frank Gehry, and the other made of elongated rectangular screens with different messages. Unfortunately, cameras weren’t allowed so I can’t show you any pictures of it.

We walked around Bilbao during the day and we were both very surprised to find how beautiful it is! We had been told that it wasn't a very elegant city but we found it absolutely delightful. It has a wide main shopping street with very tall trees that give the necessary shade at such a hot time of the year.

The following day we drove up to San Sebastian, a bit up north and on the coast.

The weather wasn't fantastic but the beach was nevertheless spectacular.

I was happy to come across a little market with very pretty and colourful flowers.

The third and last day was dedicated to Saint Jean de Luz, clearly the most beautiful and charming place of all the ones we visited.

Saint Jean de Luz is a small town in the southwest coast of France. It has narrow streets full of boutiques and a lovely beach. The weather was much more pleasant than the previous day so that might have been the reason it looked even better to us!

Breath-taking, right?

I was even happier this time when we came across a little market. Not flowers, but what more can a deli-lover hope for than a small French market?

Oh, Mr Brebis...

And look at the colour of the veggies!

We had lunch and finished off with a speculoos-nocciola-chocolate ice cream and a tarte aux framboises...

Having consumed more than our required daily dose of sugar, we said au revoir to one of the most charming towns I can say I've ever been to.

If you're thinking of visiting the Basque Country or Biarritz, I definitely recommend you rent a car and drive to Saint Jean de Luz. You might even want to stay there for two or three days and properly enjoy the beach, and the undeniable charm of the little French town. We will surely go back again one day, and will probably visit Biarritz too.

Regina xxx

1 comment: