Non sei fregato veramente finché hai da parte una buona storia e qualcuno a cui raccontarla (A.Baricco – Novecento)
From San Sebastian we move to the second step in Basque Country: Bermeo. In this little fishing village on the ocean, Giacomo and I will be hosted by Izaskùn, a 39 y.o. woman who works as turist guide in Guernica. We already thought about visiting it and, with this coincidence, it’s good to go there immediately. An icy train with the air conditioning stuck on 18°C and a ramshackle bus bring us to the little center, famous for the bombing during the Spanish Civil War, and the painting made by Picasso about it. During the years the life has regained the upper hand on the disaster and the town is nice and busy.
The museum of the peace is touching. As first populated place bombed in the war, the little city became the center of diffusion for a message of peace for the whole world. Showing the rebirth from the ashes that this village has been able to do, its citizens promote with expositions and events the peace as a global necessity. Yet another museum about Basque history cannot miss even here, but we are most impressed by the palace where, in the garden, we found the tree that’s symbol of the city. The ancient oak around which the wise old men met for taking the decisions about the city, is now only an hollow trunk preserved under the shadow of a little temple, while on its place rises its child, born by on of its acorns, like for mantaining alive this symbol of civilization. Izaskùn is a wonderful guide and she makes us falling in love for cesta punta, showing us the biggest stadium in the world for this sport. The balls beating on the granite wall at 300km/h make of it the fastest sport, and also one of the most dangerous. Waiting that our host finish to work, we walk till the circolar square of a market, where the cildren of a summer camp are making kind of a treasure hunt. One of the teams asks to me if I can help them for a proof, involving me in a embarassing dance.
The little pastel blue train of Euskotren company bring us along the river from Gernika (the Basque name) to Bermeo. The coloured houses on the sea shore and the moored boats in the little port make it a postcard of relax. After a welcome beer, the woman propose a dinner with pintxos: 3 different bars where each one offers to everybody a glass of the strong local wine Txacolì, plus an huge craft beer, knock us. The 3 pinxtos are far from sate. Fortunately, in my backpack I still have a pack of Netherlander biscuits, that we eat before to go bed.
Early in the morning a passing storm doesn’t discourage us and we go to Mundaka, the European beach most famous for surf. Here we have a date with Mike, a surf teacher who, in a Spanish with a strong English accent, tries to explain to us how to ride the waves. To wear the diving suit and to walk barefooted on the streets of the village is already cool itself. The very long beach, paved by the mouth of the river and the tides is a breathtaking. Suceed in a 2 hours lesson to stand up for some seconds on the board, is a satisfaction itself. A sandwitch, a little crumbling church on the cliff, a bus: we leave Mundaka to spend the afternoon to the hermitage of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. Around 300 steps in rock cross the sea to reach this place of the spirit, where an ancient church is perched on a big reef. You find the best places where you least expect it.
READ HERE THE STEP N°1: Munich (Germany)
READ HERE THE STEP N°2: Bayreuth (Germany)
READ HERE THE STEP N°3: Bruxelles (Belgium)
READ HERE THE STEP N°4: Bruges (Belgium)
READ HERE THE STEP N°5: Antwerp (Belgium)
READ HERE THE STEP N°6: Delft (Netherlands)
READ HERE THE STEP N°7: Rotterdam (Netherlands)
READ HERE THE STEP N°8: Amsterdam (Netherlands)
READ HERE THE STEP N°9: Luxembourg (Luxembourg)
READ HERE THE STEP N°10: Marseille (France)
READ HERE THE STEP N°11: San Sebastian (Spain)