Up with the eagles on the Basque Mountain
More pics here
La Rhune http://www.rhune.com is regarded as the Basque Mountain. The 903 metre peak is the last of high Pyrenees on the west and is easy to reach as it is served by a long standing cogwheel railway that takes you right to the summit that is shared by France and Spain and complete with shops and restaurants.
We headed for it today and were surprised to find the substantial car park full of cars and buses. No luck either in the overflow. But we spotted a second overflow and drove back to that. By then though, our 11.30 train, the last of the morning, was full. Luckily, they had added another and soon we were on our way.
Within minutes, we are rising up and the views of the surrounding land are opening up. On the slopes, semi-wild ponies known as Pittocks graze and up above eagles soar. It takes about 35 minutes to reach the top. There is a 360 degree view of the coast from San Sebastian to Biarritz and the mountains. We had clear views of Hendaye and St Jean du Lutz. And, of course, there are magnificent views across the Pyrenees and into Spain.
Phew. It was hot up there, possibly in the low 30s. After a quick view from the top, we went into a restaurant and enjoyed a terrific mixed salad and a smashing Spanish Omelette plus two glasses of wines for a total of 1.8 euro each. Not bad.
Refreshed, we went for a bit of a walk on one of many paths by the summit and got even better views of the mountain range, of the ponies and the eagles. There was a bit of a log-jam after the lunch break and instead of departing at 2.30 we had to wait until 3.05. Then back to the apartment and a dip in the pool.
Couldn’t quite get away from La Rhune even at dinner time as it overlooked La Cabane du Pecheur www.lacabanedupecheur-hendaye.fr on the bay. The view also included a few biggish planes coming and going on a water bounded airport that serves Hondarribia and San Sebastian.
The restaurant was excellent, terrific food and friendly service. The seven euro starter was Moules Mariniere (7.00), top quality mussels, much better than the previous effort at Santa Maria, top quality and the classic sauce left nothing to be desired.
And neither did the wine, Andere D’Ansa, a blend of Gros Manseng (mostly) and Petit Manseng from the local Irouleguy vineyards.
My mains was line caught hake with asparagus from the Landes and a cream of petit pois (18.00). Loved it: hake was perfect, the thick asparagus was to die for (best I’ve ever eaten) and the pea cream delicious.
CL picked the sorbet (5.50) for her dessert – it had been a long hot day! Three balls of sorbet – raspberry, lemon and peach – and crumbed biscuits went down a treat. I was also very happy with mine: Coffee Gourmand (4.80) which included an espresso, a mini (generous) Gateau Basque (Cherry, rather than custard) and a macaron. Good end to another good day in Hendaye.