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painting of basquedancers
Spain, Portugal and Basque France Adventure 2014

From topless bathing to Basque culture

Flag of France  Bayonne, Aquitaine, France
Thursday, June 19, 2014

This morning we dropped off our luggage at the gorgeous Le Bayonne Hotel and headed for Biàrritz, the luxurious seaside town only 8 miles from Bayonne. We emerged from the parking garage directly onto the huge halfmoon white sandy beach of Biarritz where quite a few topless sunbathers were already enjoying the beautiful weather.

Maryln and I sat on the terrace café for our petit jeneure. We kept on arguing that we ordered fromage (cheese) and wanted to send back the liquidy, fruity yoghurt in a glass until a kind waitress gave us a French menu lesson: ‘fromage’ = cheese and ‘fromage blanc’ = yoghurt!

We took a stroll along the beach road and peeked in through the gates of the unbelievably elegant Hotel Palace, originally built by Princess Eugenie (wife of Napoleon III) as a seaside palace

We could also admire a display of photographs of some of the rooms and copies of the menu (toasted sandwich = 29 euros, roughly $35)! An apartment costs more than a million dollars.

We headed back to Bayonne and found one of the chocolate shops that Bayonne is famous for. The rest of the afternoon was spent in the three-story high Basque museum where we became thoroughly acquainted with this unique population. We were amazed to learn that the Basque people’s genetic make-up dates back to more than a thousand years before Christ and that their language bears no resemblance to any other European language. I loved the old 1930’s movie showing their local way of living, customs and dancing.

We decided to have dinner at our beautiful hotel on the river Nive. My computer had a place of honor on its own chair since we had to google-translate and google search our various options! We nearly ordered eggs instead of water. Herb was the only one who found his ‘French’ niche and sounded convincing! I was getting mixed up with German, Spanish and French and I’m sure I might even have spoken Afrikaans at one point, perhaps with a Dutch accent! To think that we will have to brave Portuguese within the next few days. Lots of fun!

.Bayonne cathedral
painting of basque dancers
grand hotel Biarritz beach
breakfast at biarritz beach
Biarritz beach
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