Thursday, 20 August 2009

the sounds of St Jean de Luz

St Jean de Luz is at it's peak this week. It is coming towards the end of the school holidays and every bed in the Basque country is filled with happy families holidaying in the eternal sun. Having been initially shocked by the tidal wave of 'etrangers' I have learned to embrace the feeling and go with the flow. The speed of change has been dramatic. Even as recently as the start of August it was easy to find a seat at the cafe or restaurant of your choice. At the moment I am booking a day in advance and only frequenting bars where I know the staff so that they look after me (a huge perk). The only drawback is the beach. Unless you are in place before lunchtime it is almost impossible to find a space for your towel.

It is an important time for the town. The majority of revenue is generated during this month. The shopkeepers are displaying their finest wares. Today, to increase the shopping frenzy there has been a 'braderie' (sale). Tables are laid out along the streets and vendors pedal their wares accordingly. Amongst the happy holidaymakers groups of musicians set up camp and delight their ever flowing audiences with a wide range of styles.

St Jean de Luz is alive with noise twenty four hours a day. The last of the late night revellers can be heard staggering home as the bakeries start-up their ovens at six. Local businesses carry out their trades during the morning. The afternoon and early evening is given to promenading. Late evening and early morning are the hours for the younger visitors as they drink, sing and fool around in the many bars and parks. There are also a myriad of splendid and often bizarre fetes that take place in the evenings. Once your ears (and sleep patterns) become accustomed it is delightful, no need to wear a watch, just listen to the sounds outside.

Basque of the day:- holiday :: oporraldi