jeudi 27 juin 2013

Extra week(s) of holidays

Labenne beach at the sunset

 After a 20 hrs trip back to France and a call to my boss in Hourtin-Plage, 
I realized I had at least one more week off before starting to work, 
thanks to the amazing weather we'd had for way too long in France!

It hasn't rained as much for 100 years, 
and you really can see the difference!

 So me and my chéri decided to take a trip to the beach, 
to the Pyrenees and  to the Basque country!


The weather on Friday announced great with a warm southern sun,
just the way it should be.

Our journey started with a drive all the way to Capbreton Beach on the Bay of Biscay;
we longed for a refreshing plop in the Atlantic ocean..
It's was a beautiful evening: playing with the waves at a sunset..
Later we enjoyed a very nice meal for 13 euros, with a Tiramisu for dessert 
- mmm it was yummy!

Off we were on the road again, only to find a place to camp.
Finally we found the spot on the Labenne beach, slept well listening the wind blowing with the waves..

Chilling on the terrace in Saint-Étienne-de-Baïgorry, Basque country

Next morning the weather had cooled down a bit, 
but we still wanted to enjoy the beach once more before changing its waves to the majestic mountains. 
After a quick stop to a supermarket, we had a picnic on the Ondres beach, where we stayed for couple of hours, just enough for me to sunbathe and for chéri to swim.

Next stop: Saint-Étienne-de-Baïgorry

And so we drove through Bayonne all the way to the heart of  the French Basque Country 
& the Pyrenees: to a town called Saint-Étienne-de-Baïgorry!
There we met up with my lovely friend Elvira, 
who works in a tiny ***** hotel in a *** Michelin restaurant (see the photo above).

A roman bridge in Saint-Étienne-de-Baïgorry

We absolutely fell in love with the place with its green mountains, 
white & red Basque houses, tiny river and an amazing calmness..


Some people say, 
that Finnish and Basque languages might have something in common
 and sometimes I'm really thinking about it.. 
Like Sakari means probably something in Basque, but it's also a Finnish first name for guys!

View from the roman bridge

We catched up with Elvira shortly before she needed to go back to work
while we decided to drive to the top of one of the gorgeous mountains!

Me and a pottock poney

On our way, we met various little animals, living basically in freedom on those mountains
as the willful Basque poneys called 'pottock',
dozens of upstanding vultures and
a herd of jolly goats !

The antisocial pottocks

On the top of the mountain we crossed the Spanish boarder.
Suprisingly the view didn't differ much to France,
but when you drive through a tunnel in the Haute-Pyrenees
 in the highest spot of the mountains, 
you can see how the French side is all nice and green
 while the Spanish one looks more like a desert.

A spectacular view of vultures

More vultures

Spain and red soil

Angelo the shepherd

We got a little hungry on the mountains and decided to drive down for a dinner.
Many places were closed on a Saturday evening, which was a real suprise for us,
so we headed to a bit bigger town next to Baïgorry,
to the capital of the department called Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.

Saint-Jean-Pieds-de-Port by night

The dinner wasn't the greatest we had, 
especially cause we were still hungry after a mini pizza and a mini pasta plate..
At least we had a view of the gorgeous Basque town.

Later we returned to Baïgorry to spend the night with Elvira and her collegues
in the house they are staying in.
We had a great time talking, playing guitar and singing until 2 am.

Sunny day on the Pyrenees

Next day we left the French Pyrenees
 and decided to drive towards Spain and it's adventures.
We took the same road than the day before and met yet again the little pottocks..

On the road

Beware pottocks!

View from the top

And I'm loving it!

Angelo making a funny face

My love

On our way we found a peaceful place to stop and have a nap
- after the night both of us were pretty tired.
We also had the first tapas of our trip in a little town right after the boarder.

Angelo in Pamplona

And finally we arrived to Pamplona.
The day was extremely hot : at least 35 degrees!
We bought right away huge ice creams,
it was way cheaper than in France, not to even talk about Finland!

The day passed by wondering around the city.
It was kinda exhausting to do in a such a warm day.

We left Pamplona before night,
bought a Spanish map in a gas station
and started to look a place where to put our tent.

Our goal was a lake called Uzos,
but before going there to sleep we wanted to eat something,
so we stopped at the village called Aioz.
The food was ok, but kinda greasy with ham and eggs,
a bit like an English Breakfast,
and I slightly started to miss good and fresh veggies..

The next day the weather changed completely: 
The sky was very cloudy and looked like it was going to rain.
We figured it was better to go back home than sleep in a thin tent in a rain..
So up we went, back to France.

We ate the last greasy tapas in Valcarlos
and got very suprised by seeing a shopping mall there, in the middle of the mountains!
The shopping mall called Venta Peio was in a tiny little French town called Arneguy, 
a town by the mountains, really in the middle of nowhere!

We did a quick visit cause chéri wanted to buy a T-shirt.
Well, he found one yes, to his day with cyclists on it,
and for himself the hoddie you can see on the photo below:

Before leaving the Pyrenees and the Basques for good, 
we obviously needed to get some amazing cheese, made of sheep milk. 
The doggy above is a shepherd dog from the farm
 where we bought more than a kilo of cheese!

On our way back the rain started for good so we were happy to go back.
The trip was great in every way
and I was happy to have a week off and enjoy the company of my chéri.

Too bad the holidays lasted for two weeks, but on Saturday I'll finally go there,
work and enjoy the beach!

I try to tell you more stories about Juhannus or Midsummer feast 
and the Music Feast (Fête de la Musique),
but now I'll go out, paint and enjoy the sun :)

Love, Iida

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