My interest into the Basque culture began when I met my Basque friend. Through her, I discovered the richness and uniqueness of the Basque culture and how much the Basques try to keep their heritage without being affected by the sweeping modernization and normalization of global cultural aspects. IN addition to that, every time I meet someone who has already visited San Sebastian, they always return with words full of love and bewilderment to that place. They tell endless stories about their visit, especially with regards to food and people.
The architecture in Basque country like in the rest of Spain is always exceptional to see. The combination of different elements from different cultures that have influenced the region give a unique vibe and image to the Spanish cities. This ranges from typical Mediterranean style buildings to Andalusian style oriental buildings. But what makes the Basque cities stand out, is the fact that all these unique styles spread around of Spain, are side by side in harmony in one single street in a Basque city.
Speaking of architecture, one of the pearls of modern architecture stands proud in Bilbao, the Guggenheim museum.
If you have already read about me, you would know that I love food. I love good, tasty food. A mere fresh pastry can fill me with joy and make my eyes wide open like a happy kid. However, I am not easy to impress when it comes to local food and varieties. Basque cuisine was one of those few cuisines that truly overwhelmed me and touched my senses. With such a large variety of options, it is impossible to manage to try all the dishes and local delicacies in just a few short days. From the fresh sea food to the sweet desserts and fresh pastries. These are some of the mouthwatering experiences that stand out when you talk about Basque country.
Bakeries – Sipping on freshly brewed morning coffee with warm, right out of the oven, baked pastry and freshly squeezed orange juice, while watching the old ladies talking, people walking back and forth, and kids playing in the street, is an irreplaceable pleasure that I enjoy and soak myself into whenever I am visiting any Mediterranean country. And Basque country has an abundance of such places to enjoy.
Pintxos (Basque Tapas) – were the first thing I noticed in Basque country. Pintxos are small slices of bread, with different food spread on them. They range from tortilla (Spanish omelet) to all the types of sea food or vegetarian dishes. The streets of Basque cities are filled with bars that offer this local snack, and the counters of these bars are covered with a large variety of these tasty bites. These small snacks come especially in handy during the late afternoon and early evening, as kitchens in Basque city restaurants close from 16:00 to 20:30, making the Pintxos a true life savior during that time. If you wish to follow the local customers, you must eat no more than 2 or 3 Pintxos, and if you eat by the bar, once done, throw your tissue on the bar floor. No, it is not impolite. It is the Basque way 🙂