Weekend Getaway in the Basque Country

26Oct09

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By Lauren Dickinson

Either a weekend getaway by plane from Barcelona, or a road trip if you want to see the country and watch the landscape change, the Basque region of Spain and France has it’s own unique charm, from the greenness of the pines, rainy climate, and language switch to Euskara.

Bilbao is unmissable due to the Guggenheim, which lives up to its reputation from the moment you catch sight of the remarkable titanium exterior. Filled with the wide rage of video installments and as well as the Guggenheim private collection, it is easy to lose yourself there for hours. Among the standouts was Jenny Holzer’s Installation for Bilbao, which greets you just inside with texts in LED in English and Spanish on the front and Eskara, which was a forbidden language for many years, on the back. If you spend the night in town try pinxtos (the Basque version of tapas) at Bar Globo, where the style is a fun mixture of the traditional and new. Due to their small size it’s easy to try nearly all, from the inventive philo turnovers filled with curry or more usual bacalao or pimientos de pais. All go very well with the typical Basque white wine, Txacoli.

San Sebastian is the most famous food town in the area where legends of the country’s best pintxos abound, though we found that France was too close to pass up and found ourselves very happily ensconced just across the border in Hotel Les Jardins De Bakea, an appealing inn in Biratou that includes the one Michelin starred restaurant Bakea.  On sunny days petanque is available, and the tasting menu, particularly the scallops St. Jacques, did not disappoint.  All in all not a bad way to spend a fall weekend!

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One Response to “Weekend Getaway in the Basque Country”

  1. 1 Cathrina

    Sounds like you had a great weekend!!! We do need to take that trip. When are you coming to Provence!!! we have some great wines, too.

    Hugs,
    Cathrina and Jean-Pierre


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