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Saturday, 21 September 2013

Tres bien, ma cherie...

Bonjour again!

This is probably going to be the last time I say hello to you using the beautiful French way because here we are with the very last update from my french trip!

I left you on my way to Pays Basque after an unbelievable morning at the Dune du Pilat, a coffee in the very beautiful house of Nico's grand parents and a lovely walk in Arcachon.
Today, I'm going to show you something completely different.

When we were living together in Dublin, Pauline used to tell me stories about Pays Basque and how it's  a complete different country not only from a cultural point of view, but also because of the feeling you have when you are there and what you see around you.

It's very close to the South West of France, pretty close to Bordeaux, but when you cross the border with it, suddenly everything seems different.

Green trees start growing, big heavy clouds glance at you from above, which reminded me of my beloved Ireland, the wind blows with no stops and the sea it's such a strong presence you cannot avoid but feel it, smell it, hear it whenever you are.

This said, if going to Pays Basque you'd probably be staying in one of the three main towns there: they are three, Bayonne, Biarritz and Aglet.
The third one being in the middle, they are almost attached one to the other, so close that sometimes you can go from one to another walking.

They are very close, almost too close for comfort,
but at the same time extremely different.

Aglet, with its amazing beach, it's a place that transmitted me a sense of piece and quiet that I've experienced before only being at the beach.
But here it's even more peaceful, despite the strength of the sea and its waves and despite the excitement that comes from all the ones who come here to surf and cannot wait to get into the water and fight some of these very high, very powerful waves...

Apart the absolutely beautiful beach and the wonderful house of Erika where we spent a relaxing afternoon, the highlight of Anglet was the bbq we had with Pauline's friends on the beach one night.
I've never seen such a fire and so many stars in my entire life...

Also, it was one of the most beautiful sunsets ever...

The one among the tree towns which I probably fell in love the most was Bayonne.
Somewhere you can really breathe the proud of the Basque culture, which is simply everywhere: in the houses and architectures, the colours all around, the writings in the local language which is completely different from the Spanish Basque as well.
This is definitely something that made me reflect as I was in the Spanish side of Basque Country just one year ago: there's almost nothing in common between the two.

The only thing they really share is that feeling of proud and identification that makes Basque Country so special.
As I told you already speaking of the Turkish protest I attended earlier this summer in Izmir, I am always surprise when people express their feeling of belonging to a particular culture and spirit and that's probably one of the reasons why I love both sides of Pays Basque.

And then there's Biarritz, 
so famous for its casino and the elegance of the visitors who looks for a bit of private quiet and beauty all around them when they come here.
It is posh, of course, but being Pays Basque it adds something more and different to the usual luxurious locations that made it more appreciable at my eyes...

I really liked it, of course, and it was probably the prettiest one among the three town, even if gorgeous buildings such ad Napoleon Mother's Palace are right beside horrible buildings which are the heritage of the lack of restrictions in the past.
It was not my favourite, but it's somewhere I enjoyed being a lot, maybe because I was there during the day shopping and wondering around in the sun with Pau 

and because int he night I was there to finally attend what was the biggest reason of my French trip: Paulin's graduation in civil engineering at the BTP of Anglet.

(Her sister Camille, Pauline and I before the graduation ceremony in Biarritz)

The ceremony took place in the old casino of Biarritz, where we also attended the champagne reception afterword, in the gorgeous Grand Salon. 

(The most beautiful person I had the chance to meet at the reception...)

Then we moved to the new one for a great dinner and the party that followed it...
The Salon where we had dinner soon became a dance floor where parents, graduates, relatives and friends all together were celebrating the efforts of these great people and student in the past five years...
The terrace was so amazingly beautiful and the view of the lighthouse of Anglet made it look like a dream.
The champagne was so delicious and refreshing that everyone lost the count of how many glasses they have had.
The band was playing a great mix of songs and basque music which made us all remember where we were: somewhere special.

I think that the fact that they attended University in Basque Country will accompany these guys for all their life, and not only the ones among them who are actually Basque.
Have been here, living and studying is something more to be proud of, more than the simple achievement that the graduation itself means.

I'm going to say it just one more time: this trip was an amazing experience.
It was the very perfect end to this summer which brought me so many incredible things and which I will never forget.
Sometimes you are so happy because of something that happens to you that you think it will never be better.
Then it gets better, new memories, new people, new feelings you didn't know you could feel and it's such a surprise at the beginning.
You almost cannot believe it but then you just live and go with the flow and that's the first step into building something so precious but which doesn't always come spontaneously: happiness.

See you soon everybody!

Enjoy the week end and... stay tuned!


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