I am by no means Japanese, but if I would be, or indeed even speak the language, these two kanji is how I would write my name; Ran, meaning approximately "chaos" and Zen meaning, well, "zen". It is my ambition to use this blog as a forum for highly irregular anecdotal rambling on topics on everything from travel, music and philosophy to bioinformatics.
Donibane Lohitzune (St. Jean de la Luz in French), is a small seaside town in Lapurdi, in Iparralde (the French part of the Basque Country). Once famous for its corsairs and pirates, it is nowadays more renowned for its nice light, its beach and historical buildings. We dropped by on Easter Thursday, had a fantastic meal at Kaiku and a walk around town, and ended up buying too much sheep cheese from Iraty (one of my absolute favourites).
Beachfront houses with walkways to the protective barrier.
Ibai-Eder (means "beautiful river" in English) is a water reservoir outside Azpeitia. You can park on the road crossing the dam and walk around the reservoir, like we did. According to the internet, this is 6 km, but in reality it is 8.5. It is a flat and easy walk through some nice forest and we met almost nobody, except many birds, like marsh-tits (Parus palustris / Entita / Caraboñero palustre / Kaskabeltz txiki), bullfinches (Pyrrhula pyrrhula / Domherre / Camachuelo / Gailupa) and Long-tailed tits (Aegithalos caudatus / Stjärtmes / Mito / Buztanluze).
Outside Hernani in Gipuzkoa lies the typical Basque cider house (sagardotegi / cidería) where lots of the awesome cider typical of the region is being produced and drunk every year. We visited and ate a typical sagardotegi menu with cod omelet, cod with peppers and tomato and a huge beef chop, finished off with sheep cheese, membrillo (quince cheese) and walnuts, and washed down with generous amounts, of course, of cider.
Txotx is the most important tradition and means simply to go and drink the cider straight out of the barrel
Some of the food
Another good thing with this place was that it has lots of nice walks nearby, so this we tried out afterwards, to start digesting the pretty heavy meal and the litres of cider..