Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Bayonne and the Basque Country

Bayonne has long been as much Basque as French, sharing a culture with northern Spain.  The Basque people enjoyed a great degree of autonomy before the French revolution.  They have their own language, crafts, and colors. Later arrivals included Jewish chocolate-makers (They were expelled by the Spanish inquisition)

Basque language and flag:

Basque colors (red and green):


Street markets:

Street scenes, old mingled with new:

We tasted a local specialty:  cider beer in a nice restaurant:

Basque has a unique craft called makhila - elegant sticks take years to make.  We went to visit the workshop.  I guess I am not interested in stick with a hidden weapon.  Continuing on, we visited Espellete, a town that makes the red pepper that flavors Bayonne ham.  A sailor who traveled with Christopher Columbus brought the peppers home to Espelette in 1650.  This is certainly my kind of town, as I am a lot more interested in wining and dining!

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