Subject: Re: The Basque area and Spain
Hi Nancy,

My wife and I spent a couple of days in the Basque Country last year. We drove through Navarra (including Pamplona or IruŅa as it is known in the Basque tongue, Euskera), north through the lovely Valle de Bidasoa of Guipuzkoa to the coast where we stayed in the town of Hondarribia, across the Rio Bidasoa from France and La Hendaye. We spent the night in the parador of Hondarribia, a sixteenth century fortification built to repel any incursion by the French.

The next day we drove along the Costa Vasca through Guernica and Mundaka (to see one of Europe's most celebrated surf breaks) before arriving in Bilbao. We spent a rainy day in Bilbao taking in a couple of museums, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Basque Ethnological Museum in the Casco Viejo (Old Town) which we thoroughly enjoyed. We also were met by a friend who guided us through a tour of several of Bilbao's more popular pintxos bars. And, of course, we marveled at Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum although didn't go through the exhibition, opting instead for an espresso in the museum's cafe. My wife was more impressed with the floral sculpture,affectionately dubbed Puppy by the BilbueŅos, which sits at the entrance to the Guggenheim.

I've always been fascinated by the Basque culture and look forward to a more in depth tour of Euskadi, the Basque homeland.

Fortunately, one of our resident Ziners lives in Bilbao. However,Covadonga is currently on a business trip. I'm sure when she returns she'll be more than glad to help you with any queries you may have.

In the meantime you might peruse the following website: http://www.euskadi.net/home/indice800_c.htm

Also, a search of the Travelzines archives will turn up previous posts on this subject. Try searches for basque or Bilbao.

If I can be of more specific help please ask,

John Rule San Diego, CA