Salut du Sud de la Belle France!
Surfing and rafting on Tuesday (July 19) went exceptionally well. Due to rapidly changing tides, we only know the day before surfing what time we can go. Our group got to enjoy an evening surf class and watch the sun setting over the waves — everyone gave valiant and terrific efforts standing up on their boards and riding the waves. Rafting was as exciting as ever, and everyone managed to stay in the boat this time!
Wednesday (July 20), our Month students took a trip to Bidart, which is a very small, traditional Basque village neighboring our beautiful city, Biarrtiz. Our favorite tour guide, Roberto, educated the group on classic Basque architecture, the reasons for constructing wooden cathedrals, and an in-depth history of the whaling industry that allowed the Basque population to prosper and thrive for centuries in this area. The St. Jacques de Compostelle pilgrimage also passes through this town, so students were able to view the spring waters and a traditional “pit stop” constructed hundreds of years ago for weary pilgrims making their way to Spain.
Summer 3 also got a lesson on Basque history by means of the Basque museum in Bayonne that displays many works of art, traditional clothes, tools, games, and dances throughout. This small culture is incredibly rich and moving, not to mention full of mystification and appeal given that its origins remain a mystery to this day!
Thursday (July 21) brought some repose to our students, as many spent the afternoon exploring the center of town and passing the afternoon on the beach.
Friday (July 22), our Month group spent time at the Cité de l’Océan, which allowed for many interactive pedagogical experiences focused on the aquatic life surrounding us here in Biarrtiz. The afternoon finished off with a fascinating French educational documentary screening. Summer 3 spent the afternoon at the Villa Arnaga, which was the home that famed French author Edmond Rostand built for his family after his enormous success with Cyrano de Bérgerac. It is an amazing example of Néo-Basque architecture, as it blends traditional Basque style and decor with modern novelties such as electricity and central heating. The gardens are exquisite, and there was even a new addition to the fowl family housed at the villa: we got a chance to see their new peacock! C’est la classe!
Saturday (July 23), we spent the day in San Sebastian, Spain where we braved the rain and managed to fill our bellies with an assortment of pintxos and ice cream. Due to the rain, we spent time in the Cultural Center in lieu of ascending the hilltops that ring the famous Playa de la Concha, but had a great time improvising our afternoon activities nonetheless!
Sunday (July 24) was a well-deserved day off that has been a terrific break from the heat and rain. It’s hard to believe we only have one week remaining and we intend to make the absolute most of it! We have some pretty exciting days ahead of us that are sure to pass quickly…time flies when you’re having fun/le temps file quand on s’amuse!