Monday, June 9, 2014

Circle Tour 2014--Day 2

Day 2, June 10—to Vitoria

This is a new route though not a new destination. Vitoria-Gasteiz is the capital of the Basque Country. We came at it from a different direction last year: Circle Tour 2013 On to Vitoria.

Here is what Jeff Shadowen, our mentor-guide writes, “We will be spending the night in a very nice hotel in the capital city of the Basque Country autonomous region. The town is called Vitoria- Gasteiz. The first name is the Spanish and the second one is Basque or euskera. Of all the other six capitals of the historical "Basque Country", this place is my favorite of all.”

"As the overwhelming population center of the province (between 226,000-228,000), Vitoria will only continue to attract people and continue growing in the future, and much of that growth will come at the expense of the surrounding town and villages of the province."

"Vitoria, along with Pamplona [going there next week], if not established by the Romans, before the time of Christ, were certainly built up by the Romans as they enlarged their holdings to include present-day Spain."

"Vitoria still maintains its impressive medieval shell (casco antiguo) and a number of older buildings. The newly completed renovation of the Santa María Cathedral, with its lighter colored stone make it among the most beautiful of all Catholic cathedrals in Spain, even though it is not among the larger ones. [And, it is ginormous!] A major part of the charm of this city is the blending of the old with the new along with careful attention to a large number of city parks, green spaces. many have told me that the parks of Vitoria Gasteiz are its most special features. One of the ways to Santiago de Compostela also passes through Vitoria Gasteiz."

"Vitoria Gasteiz is also of key importance because it is the capital of the Basque Country autonomous region. It was chosen as such, partly because it is such an old city (much older than Donosti or Bilbao), but also becaus of the three provinces, it was interior (away from the ocean) and weaker in terms of a vital Basque presence. The hope was that Basque could re-take this province. 
When you think of government in the Basque Country  (and in all of Spain), you think of that on FIVE different levels--local, provincial, autonomous region, Spain, and European Community. Vitoria Gasteiz is the political head for the Basque Country."

These are quotes from Jeff's series of communications as he prepares us for what is ahead.

I see that we will be going by a Traditional Basque Pottery Museum that we visited in 2010. Read about it here: Ollerías.

P.S.: I wrote to Blanka and she e-mailed a very warm welcome to us all, if we can possibly stop by!

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