Saturday, 29 November 2008

tapas and tailwinds

We are taking a wager. For the third Saturday it is beautifully sunny and mild but there is a howling gale threatening to rouse itself. On previous such occasions it was followed by several days of rain, we shall wait and see but the ten day forecast is not hot, sorry Mum (ma mère et père me rendent visite cette semaine)...

We took advantage of the weather and headed off into the Pyrenees for a bit of walking. The view back towards the coast is wonderful, though our fitness levels are not! We scaled halfway up La Rhune but determined to finish the walk another day. The reason was twofold. Firstly we had been told that hefty blizzards were on their way and we could see clouds streaming across the mountain tops. Secondly we figured it was a more fun option to drive on to Pamplona for tapas and sangria. A no-brainer really!

Pamplona is a wonderful city. As capital of the Navarre region in Spain it is heavily steeped in history from general Pompey's camp site in 75BC, the destruction of the city walls by Charlemagne in 778AD, Napoleonic occupation in 1808 to the omni-present festival of San Fermin - more commonly known as the Bull Run - which has continued to grow in appeal since the C13th. Navarre is the primary Basque region in Spain.

It is odd criss-crossing the French-Spanish border because it is far less noticeable than crossing from Gascony to Pays Basque or Aragon to Navarre. The architecture is similar, there is a common beauty in the appearance of the people, the landscapes remain stunning and there is an inextricable bond in the Basque language. We are looking forward to exploring this further.

Word has it that I have volunteered to run the bulls next year so this blog may get cut short in July...

Basque of the day:- hello :: agur