Sunday, 28 June 2009

Pays Basque

Our last week at school kicked off with a school jolly for a few days in the Pays Basque (Basque country) with the class. We set off for your journey down south on Sunday evening (a bit of a bummer as we missed most of the Fête de la Musique) and experienced the "joy" of sleeper trains to Biarritz. Its not something that I will be rushing to do again as I don't think I got a wink's sleep on Sunday night?! We arrived at our destination at the crack of dawn and all bundled into our rental mini-van for a spot of brekkie in town, weirdly enough, a fry-up in the South of France?

Then it was off to the gîte (holiday home) where we were staying which was situated in Cambo les Bains up a hill and only accessible by a fairly treacherous windy road that brought back memories of our holliers in Corsica last year, not for the fainthearted, especially with chef driving like a maniac :) We dropped off our luggage and freshened up and then it was off to visit a coastal town called St Jean de Luz - the initial plan had been to go for a dip in the sea there but in the end, we had a goo around the town and stopped off for some lunch - nice enough but as we were dining al fresco, a few of our party managed to get fried royally in the sun (including chef!). The afternoon was then taken up with a quick boat trip to Spain (or Southern Basque Country in PC terms) to Hondarribia - a very picturesque little town and ended up with a trip to the beach at Hendaye.

Day 2 included a trip to the village of Espelette (home of the famed piment d'espelette), wine tasting (sorry to say it but Basque wines aren't really up to much), visit to a trout farm (very interesting and inspiring) and a quick trek up the hills where pigs graze (very beautiful but lots of pig poo).

Most of the highlights of the trip for me came on the final day and included going blueberry picking at the farm we were staying, as well as our visit to Arnaga on the final day - a lovely house with fabulous gardens which was once owned by Edmond Rostand, best known as the author of Cyrano de Bergerac.

The trip was a lovely break from school - a big thank you to both our chefs for organising it and taking us around all the places we visited. I think we will all be missing our "jumping" pics! :) 

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