Sunday, 14 December 2008

Basque Country

Since flipping through Mark Kurlansky's book a few years ago, I've wanted to see the Basque region of Spain. Also, the separatist movement is active and sometimes known to be violent, so there's an element of naive excitement in being here.

They have their own language and even their own font! It's seen on most Basque-owned establishments and government signs.

Geographically, we're pretty close to France and it seems this proximity has generously seeped into the culture. The pace is a little quicker here than other parts of Spain, the architecture is a little more baroque, and class lines seem to be drawn a little thicker than parts to the south.

Once again, we were short on time and had none to spend wandering in Bilbao. We drove past the Guggenheim in the pouring rain and I glimpsed just long enough to decide that it's Mr. Gehry's best work and I apologize for slagging his good name in an earlier post. It's just as strange in person as photo's would suggest, but between craggy mountains and a river and ornate buildings from the 1930s mixed with much older structures, it kind of fits perfectly.

Both Bilbao and San Sabastian are really beautiful art deco-heavy cities and the food was good! Fresh seafood tapas! Up to this point our diet was seriously lacking.

After playing our final in San Sabastian last night, waking up felt so good that it warranted a walk on the beach before driving back to return the car in Porto. It was blustery, but thoughts of tomorrow trip to Berlin and the little loft that awaits us kept me warm.

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