Sunday, September 27, 2009

Many Years Ago In A Much Younger Time

I went to Saint Jean De Luz.

I read today the most wonderful travel story by Sarah Wildman in the New York Times about the Basque country between Spain and France. It brought back memories of my first visit to this wonderful part of the world when I was just fifteen years old.

It was the summer of 1972 maybe 73, and I was lucky enough to have been invited by my Aunt Mary and Uncle George to join them and their children on what turned out to be a grand tour. We started in Zurich and ended a months travel in London, but I loved our few days in the Basque country of Biarittz and St. Jean De Luz.

I could tell stories of that trip for hours and maybe one day will write it all down. Uncle George had served under Patton as his Charge D"Affair and oh the tales we heard. But that is for another day.

I can't recall the name of the hotel in St. Jean that we stayed at but it was above town and very chic. I remember the lovely woman who knocked on our door at nine in the morning bringing us hot chocolate in individual hotel silver pots and croissants to start our day. It was heaven. We took day trips to San Sebastian and to Biarittz. I been back since and can attest to Ms. Wildman's love of the area.

I will add a note of caution. The last time in the area, I came out of Bilbao,heading for Biarittz. I had to see the museum at Bilbao and thought it superb. But the Basque language is completely mind blowing. Considered by many to be one of the oldest peoples in that area, no one knows where they came from and where this language originates. I've heard stories that the nearest lingual relative is a form of Finnish.

I passed the train station outside of Bilbao ten times before I realized what the sign meant and I'm pretty good at that kind of thing.

None the less I loved this story. It is beautifully written and makes me want to return. Enjoy it, "Basque Without Borders".

1 comment:

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Mrs. E. and I have a Basque friend. We spent a New Year's with him in Bilbao... . Stood in line to get into a disco at 7:00 AM. Even I called "basta!"

We were taken to San Sebastian recuperate. Which we did. Eventually.