Monday, June 19, 2023


Next stop on my tour of the Basque Country was Bayonne on the coast of France. No particular reason for staying here other than it seemed like a nice place to stop. Sadly, I was on my own on this leg of the trip as Roma was back in Ireland at her Uncle Aodhan’s funeral. I stayed on a river boat called the Peniche Djebelle. This was a really unusual place to stay, but very comfortable and in a good location right in the city centre. It was a bit claustrophobic in that the hosts also lived on the boat - I had to cross between their couch and TV as I went to my room. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant stay - I really liked the gentle waves from other boats rocking the Djebelle as they passed by.

On the Pont Saint-Esprit, Bayonne

Looking for something to do I decided to take a trip on the bike to see the Sare Grotto and Caves which is close to the  border with Spain. This was a fantastic experience. First there was a great ride though the French countryside and mountains. The caves are definitely worth a visit for anyone who is nearby. Our pre-historic ancestors set up home here thousands of years ago. It was also a home for bears, which must have made for tough neighbourhood relations! Our tour guide warned me at the beginning that the commentary would be in French, he gave me a short leaflet that helped in explaining the features of the caves. Despite this, I was happy to be able to understand much of what the tour guide said - he often checked with me in English if I had any questions.

At the entrance to the Sare Grotto.

Both evenings that I stayed in Bayonne were subject to the most fantastic thunder and lightening that I have seen. The rain was monsoon heavy, though I watched it from the comfort of Bodega Gilles with some grilled sardines and grilled mackerel for dinner. I have a new wine to watch out for when I get back to Ireland - Irouleguy is very tasty and worth checking out. Pity I’m travelling by motorbike, otherwise I’d stock up on this stuff!

On to San Sebasti├ín for our last stop! 

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