Bonjour tout le monde! SPI Biarritz enjoyed a fabulous weekend and start to the week:
On Friday, the group visited la Villa Arnaga, where Edmond Rostand lived after writing Cyrano de Bergerac. It was really beautiful and the gardens were lovely! Villa Arnaga was one of the first manifestations of a new architectural style called “Néo Basque” — so, the villa looks like a traditional Basque house in appearance, but modern novelties and comforts (such as electricity and radiators) were included discreetly throughout. This home only took three years to build (1903-1906) for Edmonde & his wife and their children, and they spared no expense after his enormous success with Cyrano. The gardens are half-English, half-French style — expressing his love for solitary musings in nature à l’anglaise. and also his penchant for rich and over-the-top additions à la française. There were chickens, gorgeous flowers, trees, and succulents everywhere.
After returning to Biarritz most of the students went out to dinner in groups and raved about the resto “La Table Basque” which serves very traditional Basque cuisine.
Saturday, the group went to San Sebastián, Spain! On the way, Philippe pulled over at Gaizkibul (an amazing overlook) where we stopped to look around, take pictures, and hang with the sheep and horses. Once in San Sebastian, we enjoyed a really nice tour put on by SPI San Sebastian Director, Mark Hochberg — he showed us the river, the cathedrale, the old town, and the Plaza de la Constitucion (where the running of the bulls took place). We gave the students time to eat and look around; after lunch, some of us climbed Mt. Urgull, while others continued discovering the old city (and the many shops and ice cream boutiques). San Sebastian was amazing, and everyone was very content and excited on the bus ride home. Tomorrow, during our free day, we are taking a group to Les Halles here in Biarritz to visit le marché (a traditional vegetable & seafood open-air market).
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On Monday, we went to LA RHUNE. It was amazing! The weather was perfect, the pottoks (Basque horses) were grazing, and everybody was in very good form. Three students decided not to hike with us, so they took the train back down with Sophie — but, the rest of us spent two hours walking, running, and sometimes stumbling down the side of the Pyrenees. The views were breathtaking and the exercise was really challenging but exciting. After the hike, most of us enjoyed some well-deserved ice cream, crepes, and gauffres.