9. From San Sebastian: Guggenheim and Basque Coast Day Trip
A day trip in a van through back roads of the Basque coast, visiting historic town and unique natural landscapes, ending up in the most cosmopolitan city in the Basque Country. The road has curves (a few) but there will be plenty of stops to breathe the sea air and contemplate the horizon. The French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote: “Gernika is the happiest town in the world. Their affairs are governed by a board of peasants that meets under an oak tree and always makes the fairest decisions ”. And here we go, to the city bombed by Nazi planes in 1937 that inspired one of the most well-known paintings in the world, Picasso’s mural-sized “Guernica”. We will visit the city and, of course, the tree under which the (we hope) “fairer decisions” are made. Memorize this name: ‘Urdaibai’ and try to pronounce it well (it’s not easy, we know) because you won’t forget it. Declared a Biosphere Reserve by Unesco, Urdaibai is a large estuary at which mountains, rivers, the sea and large stretches of sand come together. Depending on the tide and time of day, the landscape (and the dozens of birds that inhabit it) may be radically different. We’ll also stop at Mundaka, a hot spot on the world's ‘surfaris’ routes: its beach has one of the most (possibly the most) perfect waves on the planet, with a left-hand break. Some call it “Dragonstone,” but its name is San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, an islet connected to the ground by a line of 241 stairs and crowned by a hermitage. Gaztelugatxe became ultra-famous after appearing in the Games Of Thrones series disguised as Dragonstone: Though the 'castle' is a cgi effect, everything else (dizzying cliffs, sharp rocks, flocks of birds, the noise of the sea ...) is rabidly real . The people of Bilbao have always claimed that their city was the capital of the world. When the Guggenheim museum opened in 1997, that prophecy came true and the building became an architectural phenomenon whose influence has spilled over into the rest of the city. The people of Bilbao say that the museum is actually the “doghouse” of Puppy, the iconic statue that welcomes you at the entrance (Basque ironic mode on). We’ll get to know the building and its main works of contemporary art.