The main reason that we came on this trip, the founding principle if you like, was to visit the Basque Country. We’ve been in and around it for a few days now, but today we headed into the heart.
Before I show you what we found there, let’s take a look at a few more photos from around the area. Here are some from our day of walking around Saint-Jean-de-Luz.
A grand hotel appropriately named Hotel Grand.
I took this photo because I liked the colored dots and squares near the top of the tower.
The area across the harbor is officially a separate town called Socor.
A private home or condos? Hard to tell.
An unusual hull shape. At least in my limited experience.
We attended a concert in the local church by a choir that sang traditional Basque songs.
We devoted a day to exploring Biarritz and Bayonne, but got rained out. We walked through a thunderstorm in Bayonne to visit the Basque Museum at 10:00AM only to discover that it opens at 1:00PM on Thursdays! Cold and wet and faced will killing three hours, we made a quick visit to the cathedral and headed back to St. Jean.
Fun fact: Bayonne is where the bayonet was invented!
Today we drove from St. Jean to Pau. If you take the direct route, it’s about a one hour drive, maybe ninety minutes. It took us most of the day because we used the smallest roads through the furthest parts of Basque Country.
Our first destination was Aldudes, nestled in a beautiful Pyrenees valley near the Spanish border. We came to see the almost-extinct breed of pigs that yield the highest grade of Basque jambon (ham). Unlike American factory pigs, these lead a happy, pampered life. Up to a point.
How do they see with those ears flopping in their eyes?
Notice the one little guy running around like a puppy. They were all playing like this earlier. They would run up to the fence to have a look at us, then dash away if we moved Then they were fed by Mom and got sleepy.
This guy liked playing with his little stick.
We also visited a nearby fish hatchery that raises top quality trout for the French restaurant industry.
We left Aldudes and headed for Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. This small town is a popular gathering point for pilgrims heading over the mountains to Santiago de Compostela. Our goal was lunch.
White buildings with red or green shutters are typically Basque. I miss them now that we’re out of the area.