The Basque Country – The Basque Coast

We’ve spent another fantastic 10 days in the Basque Country, focussed on  improving our surfing skills in Zarautz, taking advantage of the beginner friendly summer waves.  Zarautz has the longest beach on the Basque Coast, filled with families, surf schools and gorgeous fabric beach huts.  We attended another Surf Film Festival – this one featuring several films on surfing in the Basque Country, with Zarautz heavily featured;  we had fun spotting local surfers on screen (and cheers of course went up in the cinema as people spotted themselves!).

We also spent days getting to know the rest of the wildly beautiful Basque coast.  We visited the most northerly point in the region and the beautiful San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, a lovely island connected to the mainland by a bridge and many steps, housing a beautiful 10th century church.  We enjoyed beautiful beaches at Lekeitio, Mundaka and Mutriku and were well looked after by locals at a great bar in Ibarranguelua.

We explored inland, visiting Gernika-Lumo and getting lost in the misty green hills just inland from the coast.  The Basque Country is a mix of rolling green hills, beautiful beaches, colourful fishing villages set on steep slopes, houses which would look more at home in Switzerland than Spain.  We also spent a morning SUPing up one of the rivers and spent some wonderful evenings surfing as the sun set.

We journeyed in to France, to St-Jean-de-Luz and to ultra cool Biarritz but were certainly relieved that we had decided to stay in Spain as France was unbelievably busy.  We weren’t actually able to stop in Biarritz as couldn’t find any parking: there were huge queues for every parking place, queues at petrol stations and general holiday chaos.  We can’t even begin to imagine how crazy the south of France must be!

On that note, we decided to leave France until September and that a holiday from our sabbatical was in order.  We booked tickets to fly out to South Africa, leaving Bambi in the care of the wonderful staff at Camping Gran Zarautz.