Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Last week reminded us of the rainy conditions of the Basque Country. It must have rained here at least 80% of the time. I thought it very appropriate for the planned blog post about our next stop in our tour of the Gernika estuary. So I had a story with many photos written and ready. Then all was lost! Where, I do not know. It is the first time that has happened. I will try again today, though the weather this week is very different, sunny and warm, even hot and muggy. We are now enclosed by a wonderfully green canopy of woodland foliage.
Continuing our story,... 
That same day last June, our guide and friend was eager to show us all the beauiful sights of the Biscayan coastline, but it became apparent that the rain would hamper his plans. Of course, in customary Basque fashion, he was prepared for the eventuality of rain and soon took out three umbrellas.

As we wound our way through narrow streets...

...headed toward the quaint fishing village of Mundaka,...

...we noticed other uses for umbrellas.

This small fishing village has retained its traditional charm while, at the same time, gaining worldwide fame among surfers for its "left-hand point break at the mouth of the River Urdabai." I copied that from a tourist publication about Bizkaia, and have no idea what that means. I have heard and read that Mundaka has the best left wave in Europe, is one of the top ten choice surfing spots in the world, and because of that hosts the Billabong Pro world championships every year.

Rain and hunger forced led us into Bar Txopos, with all its surfing memorabilia, for a late lunch.

The restaurant is used to catering to international visitors. Famous surfers from Australia, Brazil, and the USA have left their imprint.

Despite the wonderful array of pintxos,...

...some in our party opted for hamburgers and fries, and even Alberto decided to try the American fare.

As we ate we watched videos of surfing events.

In the YouTube videos I've watched, I often see this charming chapel that stands above the breaking point of the huge waves. 

I read of other wonderful sites further along the coast and understand why Alberto was so disappointed. Alas, due to the weather and time constraints we never got there.

Perhaps another time?
A bit of historic trivia from the tourist brochure:
Did you know that Juan Zuría, the first Lord of Biscay and son of a Scottish princess, was born in Mundaka? 
My answer is: No, of course not. Are you kidding? Just like I know nothing about surfing.
Interestingly, however, I recently talked with the grandmother of a young woman who now lives and works in Basque Country because her husband teaches surfing in the area we visited. As the saying goes "It's a small world." (El mundo es un pañuelo.)


Oldfangled said...

I love the laundry hanging under the umbrella. It doesn't seem like it would dry very well, though.

jordy wong loi sing said...

haha, it doesn't, but at least it doesn't get wetter! my husband and i live in basque country (rita mentioned us) so i know how long it takes to dry things around here!