March 2nd 2010

by Wendy Hall, Pays Basque Walker, September 2009 I am still smiling! This is my response whenever anyone asks about my Wayfarers’ trip to Pays Basque. The Basque region of France/Spain is a feast of wonder from the foothills of the Pyrenees to the ocean shore of Biarritz. As hosts for the region, the Wayfarers’ staff was well-informed and enthusiastic. Our walk leader, Eric, was friendly and outgoing. Antonia, trip manager, was a master of unobtrusive pampering. The walks were exhilarating. All of our senses were engaged. We encountered free roaming cows, goats and wild horses, some of them wearing large bells which sounded in the mountain mists. Eric pointed out flavorful wild berries and figs for us to taste. We stopped along the trail to visit a red pepper farm where the women where drying their bright red wares on large racks. The food was wonderful. We experienced a variety of regional dishes – including fish, beef, veal and pork - all excellent. The paella in Spain was particularly outstanding. The desserts were flavorful works of art. Every hotel was elegant yet comfortable. The Pays Basque trip was perfect. I was traveling alone and wanted to be with a group of friendly folks, including other singles. I wanted to feel safe. Spending some time by the ocean was important to me. The challenge level of the walk had to be high enough that I would have to work hard. Good food and pleasant accommodations were important. And, I was ready to have an adventure. The trip met all of my criteria. I kept a journal during my trip to Pays Basque. The following are some of my comments from that journal: This is wonderful (about arrival in France). I love it! (about the Hotel Ithurria). It was heavenly (about the chocolate cake with melted chocolate inside). It has been superb (after the first 2 days of the walk). This experience is incredible (day 3). I look forward to another grand day tomorrow (day 4). Dinner was amazing. This has been a fairy tale (the last night). The trip to Pays Basque was a gift I gave myself. Yet, I received gifts every day from the countries we visited and from the people I met. I am still smiling. *********************** More about The Wayfarers Walking Vacation in Pays Basque in 2010

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