Saturday, 28 February 2009

masqued ball

St Jean de Luz being the sophisticated town it is has shown an exhibition of carnival masques throughout February. Created by reknowned local designer Rodolphe Delgado, the exhibition's patron Jean-Paul Gaultier has established the display at the beachside Ravel Rotunda. Delgado's creations represent his travels and experiences in Venice echoing the masqued events held there.

The masques range from the elegantly sensual and debonair to mad-cap crazy. Created from all manner of exuberant materials and colours they form a splendid crowd of spectral revellers. Walking amongst them is a strangely unsetlling yet hauntingly beautiful experience.

I have a house full of ladies this weekend, a delightful challenge, but this evening elected for some quiet time reading as they take to the town. Lock up your sons.

Basque of the day:- fashion :: janzkera

Friday, 27 February 2009

dance practice

Friday means Flamenco encore. Fabienne was very kind about my lack of prowess at the soiree last weekend, I just need to ensure that I don't let her down when her soiree arrives in three weeks time. We moved beyond the second sevillana today and are now endeavouring to master coordination of arm movements that mirror our legs, not at all easy.

Our friend Julie arrived today from London, Mrs Walker has organised a girl's weekend. Others arrive tomorrow and I think I will be making myself scarce, the coven can become quite fearsome. Forecasts are predicting a fabulous day tomorrow so I am hoping to catch up on some reading on the beach.

Basque of the day:- beach :: hondartza

Thursday, 26 February 2009

competition time

There are 35 hairdressers in St Jean de Luz, 11 chocolate shops, 15 bakeries and 19 linen shops. That equates to a hairdresser for every 371 people, a chocolate shop for every 1,182, a bakery for 867 and linen shop for 684. Needless to say it should be a rather competitive little town, but it isn't. Rather than fight for customer footfall, businesses exist side by side differentiated exclusively by their owners and staff.

What is more interesting is the volume of estate agents that compete for business. There are some 72 agents who claim they cover the town. That equates to one agent per 181 inhabitants, or one agent per 45 households (assuming an average four occupants per household). Now I am not one who would ever sympathise with realtors but that is one tough real estate market.

Forty years ago there was only one agency, Agence Luzienne. It is still run by the Rodriguez family who given their pedigree need not worry about the melee of new entrants. They stand proudly alongside the other established traditional enterprises of St Jean de Luz who compete on personal reference rather than syrup and are infinitely more likely to outlast 'le crise'.

Basque of the day:- competition :: lehiatze

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Mercredi des Cendres

Today is Ash Wednesday. I had always thought it to be just the day after pancake day but I am wrong. Church is a well presented social affair in St Jean de Luz so we decided to attend the lunchtime service. I am still new to the whole Catholic thing, let alone when it is conducted in Basque. The head man (I believe it is always a man in the Catholic world) started a fire at the alter which I thought was a little careless. He waited till it burned down and collected the ash in a dish. Everyone started to form a queue so I figured I should join in. Imagine my surprise when I got to the front of the line to find the priest and his cohorts smearing ash on everyone's face, including mine. I still have it marked on my forehead.

As has been normal to date I didn't fully understand all that was said but did grasp enough to comprehend. I do like the idea of self-sacrifice for the greater good, whatever that greater good be. There are now 40 days of penance ahead of me, we shall see how I cope. If I manage I will divulge what I am abstaining from, not before.

Around the coastline are a variety of wee lighthouses. Well, they say they are lighthouses and they are houses that have lights that shine out to sea at night but I think they are hideouts for evil French Bond-esque villains. They stash their arsenal of missiles beneath the surface in mammoth hi-tech caverns and these so called lighthouses are little more than launchpads for armageddon. There are simply too many of them for this not to be true. Be afraid.

Basque of the day:- religion :: erlijio

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

chien de taudis

We went to see Slumdog Millionaire at Le Rex cinema in St Jean de Luz this evening. A fabulous film and most deserved of its eight Oscars. Given their highly discerning reputation even the French audience remained rooted to their seats until the final credits had rolled. No dancing though. The one challenge was trying to explain what a slumdog is. They are so posh down here that they don't have slums or even seem to have a direct translation for the word.

Basque of the day:- ruined house :: txabola

Monday, 23 February 2009

All Quiet on the Western Front

There is a lot of work going on around St Jean de Luz at the moment as the town rehearses a full scale production of Erich Maria Remarque's finest work. The enormous trenches they have dug (and redug) along the entire length of Rue Gambetta are very realistic. I just wish they would complete their practice and be done with it, clearly somebody keeps forgetting their lines or something and the trenches that were filled in on a Friday are having to be opened afresh on Monday. I am simply too excited about seeing the final production.

The above shot shows where Leer met his fate from shrapnel wounds, the actors have actually buried him under the street. He will stay there overnight, they take their method acting very seriously in these parts. I am impressed at how much they are getting into the spirit of the book. A mechanical lump-hammer is reproducing the noise of blitz warfare and thuds continuously throughout town from 0900 till 1700, it makes us all feel very special to be a part of this theatrical undertaking.

Today saw practice start on the final act. You will note that five men and a digger are involved in this scene. One man, I presume to be Paul Bäumer, sat in the machine while one, I think it was his close friend in the story Albert Kropp, poked about with a stick, the other three, clearly understudies, had the hardest job. They spent hours standing by idly doing nothing. The main actors were selfless though and took shifts with the other three, I was very impressed. I think the town opens the production to the public in 2011. I feel honoured to be so close to such artistry. As I write the 'guns' have started blasting again, it is very relaxing.

Basque of the day:- sarcasm :: sarkasmo

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Flamenco premiere

Saturday night saw us attend our first Flamenco soiree. We had practiced hard under the tutelage of the ever patient Fabienne and felt quietly confident as we arrived, despite being the only beginners in attendance. A lovely evening set in an old tower upon the crest of a hill in neighbouring Ciboure. An abundance of brightly dressed beautiful women, passionate paella, plentiful wine, masterful music and even other men to share the dance floor set the scene for a splendid evening. It all started with so much promise.

The more expert ladies from our class took to the floor, we watched clapping rythmically and walking through the steps of each sevillana in our head. Their long dresses glided, circling effortlessly around the room, arms twisting, interlocking in unison with the music, feet stamping purposefully to the hasty beat. We had been successul in the training room, time to take it to the floor.

My wife was beckoned to dance by the teacher. Despite being shy she managed favourably. Then it was my turn. As I walked into position I secretly thought, 'I am going to show these guys, I've had six lessons, this is easy'. 30 seconds later I was in a sweat filled panic. It wasn't that I couldn't remember some of the steps, I remembered none, zilch, zero, nada. To make matters worse Fabienne congratulated me on my first dance but I knew I had let her down.

Maria insists I looked like the constipated love-child of Mick Jagger and a pigeon. There is another soiree in March, if I don't want to look like John Sargent there are a lot of hours to be spent practicing. To compound matters, after struggling in vain to talk all night in French with my delightful dinner companions, about five minutes before we departed I realised that at least two spoke perfect English and must have been cringeing at my massacring their language. So, a truly great party: fabulous dancing, delightful people, excellent music, pretty ladies, lots and lots of homework to be done. Another wonderful night in the Basque country.

Basque of the day:- shy :: lotsati

Saturday, 21 February 2009

le fin de semaine

Astounding weather today. After my weekly French-English coffee tutorial with Bruno little else was accomplished. Three hours reading on the beach followed by three hours lounging on the terrace. Very tiring.

As the sun began to lower we were roused by a demonstration in support of Basque culture and heritage. Around a thousand participants walked the streets of St Jean de Luz carrying banners and flags shouting "supression is not the solution" (but in French obviously).

Tonight is Flamenco dance night, I will report back tomorrow but am feeling quietly confident.

Basque of the day:- freedom :: askatasun

Friday, 20 February 2009

Flamenco returns

Our last practice before we dance in public on Saturday. A fraught affair with several frayed tempers. We have now completed all four sevillanas. The test will be whether we remember them on the night. Our teacher Fabienne has promised to dance with me so thankfully I have an advantage over the rest of the class.
I was dressed smartly today for our lesson and the ladies took great pleasure from teasing me. It wasn't so much the class I had chosen my attire for but my wife who has returned from her travels. It is good to have her back and the cat has already switched her allegiance. Fickle creatures are women.Basque of the day:- fickle :: aldakor

Thursday, 19 February 2009

eurixe danantzat eitten deu

Another sunny day in St Jean de Luz. I am hoping that after whinging about the rain that particular god has taken umbridge and gone on holiday. It is half-term here so the streets were full of kids running around and parents enjoying family days together. Even the beach was busy with ad hoc rugby and football matches. However, it is still only February so I wasn't going to be tempted into the sea after my morning run.

My wife is back from her travels tomorrow. Having lived alone for a while I have come to two conclusions. First, if I don't speak to anyone for a while the cat makes splendid conversation. Second, the farmer look is never going to catch on.

Basque of the day:- sun shines everywhere :: eurixe danantzat eitten deu

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

il buono, il brutto, il cattivo

This morning I saw my first glimpse of St Jean de Luz' underbelly. Out walking last night I noted a group of kids huddled in a park. The sound of a spray paint being used hissed forth and sure enough scrawled on the pavement this morning in bright red letters were E, T and A. It beggers belief. The town is so beautiful offering so much and the Basque country is one of the most stunning regions I have ever seen. Why do teenagers feel the need to a] deface beauty and b] write something they can't even begin to understand.I cheered myself up this afternoon by entertaining a couple of ladies from my Flamenco class. We were sneaking in a little extra practice. Saturday sees our first public dance and we want to ensure we impress accordingly. After today I am sure we shall.

Basque of the day:- confidence :: ziurtasun

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

café culture

It had been some time since I spent a day watching life so today I wandered from café to café simply observing people, enjoying the comings and goings of St Jean de Luz. Old men in berets opting for pastis sat in the corners, middle aged ladies' chattering and café crème aroma filled the middle ground. To the fore and on the pavements youth smooched, showed off and talked incessantly while absorbing espresso. I am sure café culture is the same in many towns throughout the Basque country, and indeed France, but north of Calais and east of Strasburg the culture changes. Cafés here are an important part of the community. In one café I counted the separate arrival of eighteen ladies, in every instance an obliging male opened the door for them. Chivalry lives.Basque of the day:- coffee :: kafe

Monday, 16 February 2009

no monday mourning here

Monday in St Jean de Luz never feels like Monday used to elsewhere. Working to my own timescale rather than an imposed structure the weekdays meld with weekends. The town itself also seems to struggle differentiating. St Jean de Luz is one of the very few places in France where shopping is embraced alongside religion on the Sabbath. I am told even mighty Paris has not been granted this Papal dispensation, and certainly none of the local Basque towns. As a result Sunday feels very much like Saturday here, only with many more people promenading and church bells peeling. Sunday evenings are spent with friends and family eating, drinking and putting the world to right. As a consequence Mondays are treated as more of a rest day after a tiring weekend having a nice time. It really is awfully difficult living here!

Basque of the day:- Monday :: astelehen

Sunday, 15 February 2009


Day four of sunshine in St Jean de Luz. It's still cold but impossible to stay indoors. After a lengthy promenade I found yet another work-avoidance plan and have started a wee garden on our back terrace. The previous occupants left a couple of plants (species unknown) to which our friend Clare added three chrysanthemums when she was here for All Saints Day. The terrace now also proudly boasts:
- a selection of culinary herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary, mint, chives)
- hydrangeas (it does rain here a fair bit after all)
- a small olive tree (I always romanticised about having an olive grove)
- an acer (my grandmother gave me it a couple of years ago)
- cherry tomatoes (my bit for the credit crunch - grow your own!)
- citronella (hopefully it will keep any mosquitos at bay)
- lavender (it is France after all)
Any suggestions/tips gratefully appreciated as I suspect some of the new arrivals won't see March. I forgot to change out of my promenading gear before starting and my white shirt is now caked in compost and sap.
Basque of the day:- garden :: baratze

Saturday, 14 February 2009

solo Valentine

My wife is still in London having fun while I'm left to look after the cat in sunny St Jean de Luz. It's a tough job but somebody has to do it. Saint Valentines Day is a far less commercial affair in France compared to other countries. While couples do favour a romantic soirée pour deux, there is less emphasis on buying presents and giving flowers. I'm sure French ladies would appreciate such gifts but Frenchmen would argue that they are romantic every day of the year. I agree with this sentiment, if you love someone why only show it one night of the year? Probably I am just jealous of those enjoying the company of others this evening, including my wife who is invariably at some party or other. Dîner pour un encore.

Basque of the day:- alone :: bakarrik

Friday, 13 February 2009

carnaval Basque

Over the last few weeks lots of Luziennes (St Jean de Luz locals) have been running around in traditional costume. Only this morning there were 20 or so youngsters beneath my terrace dancing in a circle and singing merrily to accordian accompaniment. I have asked several friends what it all means. The answer I tend to get is simply that "it's the carnaval". At my Flemenco class today I decided to enquire further.It transpires that 'carnavals' take place throughout February in the many different towns of the Basque country and date back to different customs and legends. Some carnavals relate to the waking of the bear, others to the arrival of gypsy travellers or to eminent sorcerers. All are celebrated through a mixture of song, dance, music, revelry and that most popular of Basque customs, eating.

The carnavals play an important part in keeping alive aspects of culture that remain firmly rooted in the psyche of local people. The largest event takes place next weekend in a wee town called Tolosa across the border in northern Spain some 45 minutes from St Jean de Luz.

Basque of the day:- celebration :: ospatze

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Basque inspiration

I figured today it was about time I did some work. After sitting in my office for a couple of hours, mostly tidying shelves, stacking pencils and undertaking other work-avoidance tactics, I felt bereft of inspiration. Then I looked out of the window...
After several days of wintry weather, the sun has broken through at last. The mountains loomed ever closer and even the beach felt nervously alluring.
Perhaps I'll leave it another couple of weeks before I go swimming but it was nice to be tempted. It turned into a rather fruitful day.

Basque of the day:- landscape :: paisaia

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

paella pick-me-up

The rain has poured incessantly today. It doesn't matter where in the world you are, if it rains for a few days in succession it starts to get to you.

To cheer myself up I jumped in the car, turned on some very loud Flamenco music (Paco Peña) and headed for lunch across the Spanish border in San Sebastian.

Being able to make a simple journey to another country for lunch never ceases to amuse me. After enjoying a delicious helping of mixed paella - the sofrito sauce was wonderful - I strolled through the bustling streets. I made the return trip a far happier, if slightly fuller, person. Life is really not so bad after all!

Basque of the day:- lunch :: bazkari

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

enterprising surprise

Weather: hailstones/rain, gales, 13C
I may have mentioned that St Jean de Luz is a fairly posh place but I hadn't expected this to extend as far as I experienced today. As is common with most towns and cities throughout the world, there are a few panhandlers here. However, whereas in other places this tends to take the form of straightforward begging with a plate not so in St Jean de Luz.
This afternoon, as I drove back from the Spanish border the cars were halted by a small temporary traffic light. As the vehicles came to a rest a chap offered something to each of the settled drivers. It was a small piece of card with some gentle words written on it relating to his circumstances (along with a picture of a meek looking puppy), stapled to the card was a small plastic bag containing a car freshener with a not obscene lavender fragrance. By the time each driver had absorbed what they had been given the chap was walking back up the line asking for a small contribution. It was difficult to say no to such an enterprising scheme. I think it was the puppy that got me.Basque of the day:- commerce :: saleroste

Monday, 9 February 2009

the numbers game

We have been here for a little over four months and are already becoming known, hopefully for good reasons. Each time I walk around town I am guaranteed to meet someone to talk to. Though this is lovely I was embarassed today when I snuck out for my first cigarette in months and bumped into one of our close friends on the school run. Knowing and being known is double-edged, but if the rough edge means I stop completely then no bad thing.

The population of St Jean de Luz is somewhere in the region of 14,000 although this trebles in the summer months. Similarly Biarritz has some 30,000 full time residents though 120,000 in July and August. The French Basque region has a population of c270,000, 30% of whom speak Basque. The entire Basque population (French and Spanish) is nearer 2.1m and the region extends some 21k square kilometres, about the same size as Wales but with less sheep and better weather.Basque of the day:- people :: jende

Sunday, 8 February 2009

winning chocolate, losing match

Eglise St Jean-Baptiste was busy today. The service was themed around help and recovery for those ill or disabled. Very lovely as always. Being the birthday of our friend Jane, she, Maria and I ventured out of St Jean de Luz for lunch. She took us to her favourite Basque restaurant, La Plancha in Ilbarritz, some 5 kilometres up the coast towards Biarritz. The delightful eatery is located right on the beach and we sat in full view of the splendidly aggressive ocean. After an ever delicious platter of Bayonne hams I opted for gambas while the girls chose sea bream. We washed this down with a bottle of local vin blanc in anticipation of the famous desserts La Plancha offers. Jane had a strawberry flan, Maria brebis cheese with a cherry coulis and I had a magnificent chocolate brownie complete with chocolate sauce, ice-cream and chantilly - marvellous!La Plancha has been around for some twenty years and the owners also run a very Gucci nightclub next door. Given its position in a wee cove the club can safely party in splendid isolation and attracts the cream of local and visiting society, particularly during the summer months. We look forward to some late nights dancing by the sea when the nights become shorter.

Scotland play Wales at rugby in the 6 Nations this afternoon so I have sent the girls out shopping whilst I enjoy the match. Bad move, it is currently Sco 13 - 26 Wales with 10 minutes remaining. I did note my friend Grant in the Edinburgh crowd celebrating Wales' first try.

Basque of the day:- lose :: erotu

Saturday, 7 February 2009

carefree carniforms

Today the traditional waking of the bear continued. Two men dressed in full bear costume were led through the streets of St Jean de Luz by ropes secured to two gents in Basque attire. Upon sight of children the ropes were loosened and the man-bears made for the infants only to be hauled back by their captors. In addition to children today's bears also seemed to have a penchant for attractive women. There are said to be some 30 brown bears living wild in the Pyrenees.According to Basque legend the bears hibernate through the earlier months of winter and seek food in springtime as Nature and Life are reborn. Given the ferocious renewed appetite of these crazed carniforms it was deemed necessary they be contained. A group of hardened locals, the Joaldunak (must-see YouTube clip), dressed in suitably terrifying lace trimmings, sheepskin and conical hats parade the streets encircling any bears found prowling. The Joaldunak carry bells that are said to stave off the plantigrade appetite. The modern tradition also includes a parade of colourful dancers accompanied by drum led marching bands.

On a more social front, Bruno and I have determined to start a Saturday coffee club. He is learning English and I French so we shall spend an hour a week practicing. He is far better at my language than I his - I am in dire need of further study. Our friend Jane come to visit for her birthday weekend. After a tiring day of shopping and spa treatments I cooked she and Maria supper. We drank too much Madarin and talked too much (as usual) before retiring for an early night.

Basque of the day:- sleep :: loaldi

Friday, 6 February 2009

drinking and dancing

Once again lunchtime brought about Fabienne time. After my Flamenco confidence of last week this week brought disaster. Until I have mastered it I regret no pictures shall be shown. Till then please make do with a shot from last weekend's journée de l'ours (a dancing procession to mark the waking of the bears, don't ask).

This evening our friends Jean-Jacques and Patricia invited us for aperitifs and canapes. They run a lovely wee hotel just down Rue Gambetta called Les Almedies. We stayed with them on our first sojourn here and struck an immediate accord. Our banter flowed well and they offered to show us their favourite restaurants and watering holes. Along with Pascale, Bruno et al we now have the makings of a fabulous social life and are eagerly awaiting the myriad of fetes that commence next month (with a Flamenco soiree).

Basque of the day:- friend :: adiskide

Thursday, 5 February 2009

guilty feet sometimes have rhythm

When we moved into our apartment, as the monte meubles was carrying our furniture up the outside of the building to our terrace, we befriended an old lady. She lived across the small square and was sitting in her balcony watching on in bewilderment as our assorted belongings ascended. From that day on we exchanged bonjours and waved to one another over petit dejeuner. After a few weeks her shutters remained firmly shut. We presumed that she was an out-of-towner and spent the winter months in some cosy retreat. We thought little of her absence until a friend joked that she was possibly lying dead being mange-d by her presumably inumerable feline companions. Sadly it turns out that this was the case (less the cats). I guess Mr Reaper visits us all in the end.

Feeling a little guilty at not having determined this eventuality in a more neighbourly manner we ventured to a meeting of flamenco friends. This afternoon we were inaugurated into the Sunday Association, a monthly gathering for those who enjoy their sevillanas and sangria. Our guilt thankfully dissipated as we sashayed the afternoon away to strumming guitars and a crescendo of rythmic clapping. I did think of her and paid my respects as I neared the end of my first paso doble. Bless.

The southerly has continued and this evening looks set to prove Bruno's prediction correct.

Basque of the day:- guilt :: erru

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

a strong southerly

The recent storms came at us from the north. Following several days of sunshine (we even made it to the beach on Friday) St Jean de Luz was hit by a strong, warm southerly wind today. I figured this was pleasant news given the temperature. Alas, no. My friend Bruno reliably informs me that a warm southerly in these parts inevitably leads to rain the next day. We shall wait and see.

Maria and I have befriended two ladies from our Flamenco class and snuck in a secret extra practice this afternoon. Myself and three ladies 'sevillanned' across our oak parque flooring and 'passaged' by the bay windows before realising we had quite a few spectators so beat a hasty retreat out for supper.

I read today that the Germans have had yet another grand idea. In a bid to clean up their streets dogs are being asked to provide DNA samples to the police. The samples will then be cross-referenced against any criminal dog doo-dahs caught unawares and owners will be castigated accordingly. The pedestrianised Rue Gambetta in St Jean de Luz could benefit greatly from this wizard scheme. Love dogs, hate pooh.

A hefty weather front has started bullying its way through the winds, chewing up the blue skies as it pillages on. It looks like Bruno was right.

Basque of the day:- practice :: praktikan

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

the day the music died

Some days I wake up grumpy. On other days I leave him sleeping. Today I left him sleeping and went shopping.

As we have discussed before St Jean de Luz is almost up there with Bond Street and Fifth Avenue when it comes to shopping (above Paris but not quite Rome). We have pretty much taken up shopping as a full time vocation as it is a little more fun than the City, particularly at the moment. However, there is one big plus with all this credit crunchy-ness, fabulous sales ensue. One buys three times more than one needs but only spends double what one expected to spend so despite spending too much one returns home and still feels like one got a bargain... or something like that.

The main problem with shopping in St Jean de Luz, in fact in France as a whole, is the opening hours. I now realise and appreciate the sanctity of luncheon but closing for two and a half hours when people are on a break seems ludicrous, particularly as times become tougher. On more than one occassion I have found myself arms weighed down with potential purchases being asked to come back after lunch if I want to try anything for size. Of course I never return and that retail outlet misses out. Imagine my astonishment when I found not one but two shops that had changed to open all day. I do hate being happy at this, lunch is lunch after all, but other than enabling hassle-free shopping it also demonstrated a newly found commercial flexibility.

By the time I got home grumpy was awake and happy. That made two of us.

Basque of the day:- shopping :: eroste

Monday, 2 February 2009

swap shop

In France if a commercial tenant is in situ for three years, it is almost impossible for a landlord to remove the tenant until nine years has passed. In St Jean de Luz this results in shops playing a version of kiss-chase. After a shop has been in place for two and a half years they tend to get their marching orders and move location. Given that many of the commercial buildings in town are owned by the same person or by colleagues of the landlord the list of shops in Rue Gambetta rarely changes even though the addresses at which each shop can be found changes every so often.

As one walks down Rue Gambetta one can be forgiven feeling bemused: a shoe shop that was in place last week is now replaced by a chocolate shop that used to be around the corner where the dress shop moved to from the site that the shoe shop now occupies. Confused? It adds a whole level of complexity t0 the shopping experience. Unsurprisingly, while shops offer the finest wares of designer luxury very few display elaborate interiors, plumping instead for standard static white.

On a more grown up note I had a chat with some five year olds (welcome respite after pretending to be smart last week) about children's literature. We chanced upon one of my favourites, Noddy. It transpires that the French have a far more mature and salient name for the rosy-cheeked cheery chap, Monsieur Oui-Oui. I almost did, trying not to laugh.

Basque of the day:- silly :: inozo

Sunday, 1 February 2009

kids and costumes

In order to celebrate tax returns having been submitted on time, a group of local children roused St Jean de Luz with a celebration of traditional Basque dancing and song beneath our balcony today. We tried unsuccessfully to figure out the reason for today's cultural endeavours. There appeared to be some similarities with Olde Englishe celebration: costumes were similar to those I've seen dance the Maypole, masks reminded me of Morris Dancing and the music itself was definitely folksy. However, given it's the Basque country all was presented with a particular panache that wouldn't be found in Kent or Sussex!
Ater a delicious meal at Petit Grill Basque we thoroughly enjoyed Valkyrie at the ever wonderful Le Rex cinema. An interesting film that clearly promotes the EC (not all Germans are bad) though was challenging in French. We left unsure whether the cast had been speaking in straight French or French with a German accent.
Basque of the day:- tradition :: tradizio