Yesterday I landed in Madrid Airport. The scorching heat of Spain’s interior only relented after five hot hours in the car, finally crossing the threshold into the vivid green Basque Country then as if in a dream drifting around an ocean road bend to see the beauty of our Gipuzkoan coastal fishing town. The south wind off the Cantabrian and the scent of the Txakoli grapes blended beautifully, welcoming me, it seemed, back home. Unlike the sizzling blue skies of the Iberian plains, today is cloudy in Euskadi, and it is so good to feel the lush grass damp from the morning dew, to breathe the briny air, and to hear the sound the the trikitixa and the music of people in the plaza. Holding my camera in one hand and my daughter’s hand in the other, we look towards the sea and set out walking along the northern route of St James’s Way. To share a glimpse, here are four photos from today and some favourites from when I first landed here, moving into and embracing this culture that has been so good for and to my family and me.
My friend Joseba Attard moved back to the Basque Country, to a ancient land where his mother, grandparents and ancestors dwelt for millennia. He learned the language, carved out a career as a freelance designer, and opted for life in the mountains near the sea where he shears sheep and seeks out the surf in his vintage van, his young family enjoying the peaceful pace of life. Joseba & his wife Joanna’s hard work and refreshing approach to life inspire me. The Basque media has frequently reported about his commitment to understanding and preserving the Basque language and culture, featuring him on Basque radio, newspaper and television.