Monday, June 19, 2023

Bayonne

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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