Cruising the Basque Country

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Whew! Since the sunshine has been out, it has been a busy week of traveling and exploring the outdoors.

It started Friday. I fortunate enough to go scramble up Mount Igueldo a couple of times. Mount Igueldo offers a healthy view of San Sebastian coupled with stunning Basque country with the Pyrenees as a backdrop. It has been very rewarding to get the legs churning up some steep trails. Once I reach the top, I am able to drink up the view. All five senses then become amplified as I begin to head downhill!

Destination: Biarritz, France.

As our bus cruised the French countryside, I could not help but be in awe of the magnificence of French Basque country. As the morning sun begins to shine, I look to my right and catch sight of green, rolling hills. I then look to my left and see a vast, sparkling blue ocean that rolls up to plenty of jagged cliffs. As we near closer to Biarritz, the beaches become more frequent and appear to be much bigger. Me and a few classmates had decided to take a quick one-hour bus trip to Biarritz for the day and maybe explore some other French towns. Little did we know, Biarritz is a mecca for many French folks with lots of money. That probably explains why a hamburger there costs 14 Euros. Unbelievable! However, that did not hold us back from getting a taste of French cuisine. After arriving, we sipped on espressos and ate croissants, next to a cathedral, next to the beach. Let me tell you, French croissants are all they are cracked up to be. Anyways, the rest of the day consisted of more espresso and plenty of exposure to fascinating town with many picturesque views. Also, a language that I, nor the others, could understand. That always makes things interesting. Biarritz is loaded with surfers, stunning panoramas, and curious onlookers. After failing to make our train, we eventually ended up in a much smaller town: Saint Jean de Luz (Pop:13,000). Unfortunately, due to previous railway delays, our time there was cut short. However, we did snap some pictures, scope out the town, and stroll through some shops. As the bus rolled back to Spain, the night sky reflected against the dark ocean. It was very calm and reminded me of just how big the world is that we live in. I know that I am only exploring a small piece of Europe for a brief time, but the various ways through which God reveals himself, continue to amaze me.

Sunday: Zarautz/Getaria.

On Sunday, a classmate and I took a quick trip to a few small Spanish-Basque town located thirty minutes from San Sebastian. The first town, Zarautz, is a popular summer town that experience a population swell of almost three times its’ size (20,000–> 60,000).  It was easy to see why. There is a plethora of cafes and restaurants that run parallel with a decent-sized beach. After Zarautz, we decided to take a quick walk to the next town over-Getaria (Pop: 2,600). Getaria is a charming and old Basque town that might easily be overlooked. There is one small strip of restaurants and cafes that tuck next to a Cathedral. Very small town, but once again, very scenic. The rest of this week has been very sunny, which has given me opportunities to go run in new areas and complete some beach work-outs. Along with that, I have played some futbol the last two days with some fellas from school and some others. Long story short, I have officially received an education on how to play courtesy some twelve-year olds. Hahahahaha.

Whether France or Spain, the Basque country seems to be filled with various kinds of subtle, yet extremely alluring coastal and mountainous towns. Upon touching down in Spain, the only piece of information I knew about this so-called Basque country was that San Sebastian appeared to be a cool town worthy of a visit (Considering those who had studied abroad in Spain immediately said to “Go to San Sebastian”). Two months later, I still know very little about the Basque country and its’ inhabitants, but I have grown very fond of the landscape, the pride, the people, the history, the charm, and the food. These attributes all contribute to the uniqueness of a region and culture that prides itself in carrying on an already  deep-rooted history. If you have a chance to go to Western Europe, make sure you include a stop in the Basque country. It will not be a letdown.

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Song of the Week: Years around the Sun- Miles Away. Enjoy

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