Which name do you prefer?
Fuenterrabía is the Castillian name, Hondarribia is the proper Basque version, and Onyarbi is local jargon for the lovely town where our host family lives in the province of Guipúzcoa/Gipuzkoa.
I will go with the local name, it is shorter, more friendly... and makes me feel like an insider!
As we traveled throughout the Basque region we saw that most cities and towns had signs in both languages. Sometimes Spanish name first, others Basque first. However, Hondarribia uses only one, the Euskera. I asked about this and was told that each township decides. Obviously the Basque sentiment is strong in Onyarbi!
This town, on the Bidasoa river across from France, draws many many tourists.
The first morning we were there, after the guys left for their 50-60 mile training ride through the foothills of the Pyrenees, Laurie and I took off walking toward the downtown and the old town.
We stopped and talked to people and took many pictures.
The first person was Eugenia, an older woman sitting on a bench, soaking up the sun. She told us that her late husband of 50+ years had sat there every morning waiting for the bread man. He talked to everyone that came by. He told tourists exactly where to stand to get the best photo of the picturesque houses that used to belong to the fishermen.
One day, a while back, a visitor approached and begged to be allowed to ask a question.
"Go ahead," she said, "I'll answer if I can"
"Well, there used a be a gentleman sitting right there every day. Do you know about him?"
"Yes, that was my husband. He died a few years ago."
Tourists have asked permission to take photos, and then requested her address, promising to send a copy. So we did the same.
More quaint houses, flower boxes, a store or business on the lower level...
People milling about. It was a beautiful day.