Basque beer, Paddle Surfing and Camino Town
June 19th, Tuesday
The rains came down today for a couple of hours around lunchtime but, by then, I was safely in the dry though not on the dry!
My refuge was the craft brewery Akerbeltz. They were so busy brewing the stuff in their Ascain facility that they didn’t even notice us come in. Soon though we got a warm welcome, then enjoyed a couple of tastings and left with packs of their main three beers. All good.
By the time, we got back to Hendaye, the rain was pretty heavy and the Corniche Basque didn’t look at all pretty, though the surfers seemed to be enjoying it. But, within an hour, the sun was shining strongly, and we were on the beach and so too were the surfers, including several groups of learners.
The day had started with a trip to the inland Basque town of Ainhoa, not entirely dissimilar from yesterday’s town of La Bastide-Clairence. Ainhoa, classified as one of France’s prettiest villages, was built in the Middle Ages to provide a stopover for pilgrims on the way to Santiago de Compostella.
There has been much re-building since but still the three basic elements of any Basque town – the town-hall, the pictured church and the fronton (where they play pelota) - remain.
An inscription on a house built in 1662 (the Spanish more or less destroyed the place in 1629) commemoratives the fact the money from relatives in America funded the restoration, not an unusual story apparently. The oldest parts of the church date from the 14th century and it too has the tiers of wooden galleries typical of Basque churches.
More pics here