Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Tourist's View: Part I

For over 20 years the Basque Country of Spain has had a tremendous influence on my life. In fact it changed my career path. In that time I have had few opportunities to introduce this world to close family and friends. Other than my husband and children, no one we know from the states has seen or experienced life here the way that I have. That is until now...

A few weeks ago friend, Sarah, from Madison came on a work trip and I had one rainy day to give her a quick tour. That helped me think about what places and spaces have left the greatest imprint on my life. Then on Thursday, June 9 our good friends Kevin and Lynne arrived from California to spend several days with us. It's amazing what you start to pay attention to once you play tour guide in your own city. Of course paying attention to Kevin and where his professional camera pointed helped me to see things I hadn't noticed as well...

We began with a quick Thursday evening trip through Sopelana. That's the small town we usually stay in when we come to visit.

The girls went to art class and the rain held off long enough for us to take a walk to the wall for a nice view of the beach. We then took a quick snack and drink break at La Kala our favorite bar, while Morgan and Maia finished their class. My sister MaLuz stopped by to chat with us for a bit before we caught the metro home. Kevin and Lynne did quite well on jet lag and little sleep.

Friday the weather was a bit dreary and we were keeping things pretty low key. We took a tour of Algorta starting at the Hotel High Tech Tamarises. From there we walked along the beach and into the Puerto Viejo. It's a beautiful part of the city which has been well preserved.

After wandering the streets for some photo ops we headed on a path toward a cafe on the hillside where we sat for a cup of coffee. The views were fantastic. We kept running into a group of woman with a tour guide. I took that as a good sign. Clearly our tour must have hit the important points along the way.

From there we continued on the streets that followed the curve of the coastline, stopping at a bakery for a bit of typical San Juan pastry, which is available only at this time of year. On June 23 is the celebration which includes bonfires and festivities at the beach. I'm not sure of the details yet.

We headed to La Galea, which is a walk along the cliffs next to the ocean. We decided to check out the ruins of the old fort.

While we were enjoying the walk we eventually looped back for lunch at home and to pick up the girls from school. Friday night we headed up to the new Algorta station park where our friends Patricia, Eusebio and their girls joined us. The evening was full of conversation, pintxos, and relaxation in outdoor terraces. Very typical of a night on the town as they are celebrated here.

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