Monday, 1 February 2010

Sunday lunch in St Jean de Luz

A friend from St Jean de Luz invited me for Sunday lunch yesterday. When I accepted I hadn't appreciated lunch would last almost ten hours. They never seem to do things as you'd expect in these parts.

We gathered for an aperitif or two in a wee bar in Ciboure, across the port from St Jean de Luz. We were twelve strong and readily became friends, once again the Basque stereotype for frostiness was shattered. Heading towards lunch I had no idea what to expect. More and more people began walking in the same direction. By the time we arrived at the town square there were several hundred people, four bands (ranging from traditional Basque pipes to funky-brass), a twenty strong male choir and most importantly a huge bar. Sunday lunch was clearly going to be a lot more than the roast beef I had imagined.

To celebrate the end of its week-long annual festival Ciboure held a lunch for the town. A huge tent was erected in the square with everyone seated at four immensely long trestle tables. At one end the bar area, at the other a dance-floor and stage for music. No sign of any Yorkshire pudding. Our group sat in the middle of the throng, who had clearly been enjoying a glass or two more than was customary for this hour but being Scottish I felt the least I could do was throw myself into things wholeheartedly, I succeeded.

By the time the first course arrived we had sung loudly whilst swaying rhythmically. There was a Bavarian beer-cellar feel to the place and I wasn't complaining. I also prefer sangria and red wine over warm, flat beer. We ate for several hours breaking only to pour another glass of wine or break into song. I was grateful for having joined a Basque choir and proudly demonstrated to my new friends that I knew the words to their songs. At the time I felt I sang well but this morning I fear not.

Before long it was seven in the evening and the Patxaran was pouring plentifully. We had been dancing and drinking, singing and eating for over six hours and there was little sign of it stopping. There was also no sign of sticky toffee pudding and custard, this was no normal Sunday lunch. I'm not quite sure when I got home but I'm finding today more of a struggle than normal for Monday. The next time a friend asks me for lunch, rather than asking what time we're to meet, I should really ask what time it's likely to end.

Basque of the day:- time :: denbora