Saturday, 20 December 2008

swimming and donkeys

The sun was back with a gusto today. Walking past the historic church, Ste. Jean de Baptiste, today we had an odd experience. Seemingly from within the sacred walls came the rocky tones of Eric Clapton. It turns out that in preparation for Christmas, numerous loudspeakers have been set up around town to provide the festive shoppers with background music.
This afternoon ventured onto the beach for the first time in a while and both made it into the sea! Not exactly warm (11C) but not numbingly cold either (don't tell Mrs W about this photo please!). We noticed a couple of others who were braving the water but appeared to have the luxury of a changing room. After speaking to them we have now joined, for the mammoth fee of EUR15 p.a., their local beach club that has changing facilities, showers and toilets nestled beneath the esplanade on the beach. They also meet daily throughout the year for a dip followed by drinks, very civilised.
St Jean de Luz officially opened the town for Christmas this evening. Imagine that, a town in the C21st that only starts to celebrate Christmas on the 20th December, so refreshing! Groups of Basque men wandered around dressed in the local costume accompanied by accordionists who roused them into song at the merest drop of a roasted chestnut. The crib we saw being constructed in one of the squares yesterday was also in full swing. Rather than the more recognised fat bloke dressed in red with a rubbish stick-on beard the crib was a backdrop for local children who acted out the nativity, complete with real cows, sheep and donkeys, fabulous!
Basque of the day:- nativity scene :: jaiotza