Biarritz – The place of much ‘sein’
We travelled by train down to Biarritz from Hossegor, which was probably our shortest travel day ever. We are staying in an airbnb room in a family’s house in Anglet/Biarritz and since they’re super nice we were met at the station by Patricia’s mum. She didn’t speak a single word of English but we managed and she was really sweet.
The family, Alain, Patricia and the 2 sons Louis (14) and Charls (20), are awesome! We have felt so comfortable in their house all week. Alain is the funniest guy. The first day we were there we came out of our room and he was lying on a sun lounge, inside, wearing hot pink boyleg short shorts. He didn’t bat an eyelid and continued to strike up a conversation. It wasn’t till later that afternoon that Jono turns to me and says ‘um…have you noticed Alain doesn’t wear pants?’. He didn’t speak English and so over the whole week we have had some interesting conversations and many misunderstandings. He seemed to especially like that Jono made the effort to talk to him only in French. Fair enough really when it’s like your daily dose of comedy to hear whatever Jono comes out with. He often laughed for a good minute before correcting him. One time we’d got back from somewhere and Alain asked Jono a question. Neither of us had any idea what it was he’d said so Patrica tried to translate. ‘Have you been naughty?’ was the question. I lost it while Jono tried to decide how best to respond. Then Patircia clarified and said it was a French expression meaning ‘have you been good?’ Quality.
Another time Jono turned to Loui and asked him how his day was in French. Alain calls from across the room (from on his day bed – still not wearing pants) ‘Jono tu parles de plus en plus français quotidienne’ (Jono your speaking more and more French everyday). I thought that was pretty nice but Jono didn’t understand. The following 5 minute conversation to decipher what was said really defeated the point anyway.
When we were around the house every visitor who arrived, even the boys mates shook Jono’s hand and gave me the double cheek kiss. Everyone is so polite. Pretty sure you’d be lucky to get a ‘hey’ back home. We’ve noticed there are heaps and heaps of young looking kids riding around everywhere on mopeds. Even Loui drove one everywhere. I asked him about it and he said in France you can ride a moped by your self from 14 years old. No way.
First day was awesome beach weather finally and we made the most of it. We spent the day at Anglet beach and I even got my first swim of the season in. It was so cold and amazing. I have missed the sea. Pretty funny, over here everyone is super cool with the boobs out business. It’s much less cool when it’s wrinkly brown granny boobs though and unfortunately my retinas saw way to many of those. One arvo Jono and I went for a really long walk down the promenade along all the beaches. There were plenty of people out and about and as we looked down to the beach Jono goes ‘is that guy nude?’ I had a geeze and responded that yes indeed he was, funniest part was that as I looked he got out his iPhone and proceeded to take a photo of his wang, framed nicely with sun, sand and sea. Lucky recipient.
The second night we were there Alain told us during the day he was going to cook up dinner and we were welcome to join them. We felt like we should bring a contribution so Jono chose a delicious tart from the patisserie. We sat out on the deck late into the evening and shared an amazing meal. He had roasted a whole chicken and everything was very French and very delicious.
Biarritz is real close to the border of north west Spain and therefore the awesome town of San Sebastian. At Hossegor a French guy had told us about this car sharing website called http://www.covoiturage.fr/. It’s a bit complex for non French people to use but we roped Alain into calling the people for us and by the end of the day we had arranged to pay a guy 5 euro for a seat in his car. Jerome, the driver was cool. He lives in France and works in Spain, not bad really. We chose a pretty average day to go, it started to rain at 10 am and rained the entire day. Even with the rain it was a beautiful and fun place to spend the day. The old area of town has lots of little alleys and beautiful buildings and there are tapas bars a plenty. In the north western coast of Spain (the Basque Coast) they call tapas ‘pinchos’. It means ‘thorn or spike’ and the pinchos are all served with a toothpick in them to eat it with. We wandered round for awhile trying to find a bar that was less crowded but ended up nabbing a seat in this hectic restaurant. There were people, tapas and sangria everywhere and it was absolutely delicious food! Here we realized we actually can speak quite a bit of French now and absolutely no Spanish.
On the way back we had a small dilemma. It was still pouring, our shoes and socks were soaked and the car guy, Jerome, could only drop us off at the highway…a good 6kms from the house. So I embraced the idea of hitchhiking. I have never hitched anywhere and so it was a little thrilling haha. We only waited less than 1 minute when this friendly couple in an Audi pulled up and let us in. Sweet. Couldn’t have gone any better.
One evening we found a sheltered spot up on the hill of Biarritz to eat a picnic dinner and watch the sun set over the ocean. It was a beauty! Especially cool because even though it’s not yet summer the sun doesn’t set till 9:30pm.
On our second last day we walked to the next city – Bayonne. Bayonne or Baiona is a really old town that used to thrive off whaling. Since that’s all stopped it’s now famous for its amazing chocolate. Quite the improvement in industry choices I think. We wandered around the old town where there is even all the old ramparts and castles left standing and had a picnic of market food for lunch.
We were hoping for more beach weather but since that didn’t really happen we spent a good few arvos sipping café crèmes in wifi cafes organising the next part of our trip. Starting to feel like it’s all coming together which is reassuring and exciting. So we say au-revoir to France and bring on the summer. As I type this we are flying somewhere above Eastern Europe bound for Istanbul, Turkey – yes!