13. The rain in Spain stays mainly on the Plain… nearly! Itxaspe Spain, to Labenne France!

Sunday 13th September

After a weird nights sleep (when I was sure I was rolling out of bed…but the slight slope was in the opposite direction) we reviewed the weather. Rain had been forecast, but was downgraded to showers so we decided to do a 3 mile circular walk from the campsite along the strikingly beautiful Basque coast. This area is notable for its cliffs and coves. 20150913_120235


We were at the junction of horizontal black Flysch rock, which resulted in huge wave cut platforms,20150913_112926 and vertically folded white limestone. 20150913_114523It was a super, if very hilly, walk, only slightly marred by the arrival of a shower towards the end. Waterproofs were donned for the first time this holiday and we finished the walk nice and dry inside them. By the time we reached Boris the rain had stopped, and within 30 minutes the waterproofs were dry!

Then we suddenly decided to say goodbye to Spain and drive into France.

One hour later we were pulling into a carpark in St Jean de Luz, just south of Biarritz.20150913_171717

St Jean de Luz is a beautiful town that has had good fortune throughout the years. Firstly it became a wealthy port due to lucrative fishing in Newfoundland. Naval wars in the 16th and 17th centuries put an end to this, but the armed ships were put to use by the naval Corsairs .. legalised pirates one might say. They brought great riches back to the town, and many grand buildings were built, including the unbelievable church, with its 3 tiers of galleries!20150913_17460020150913_175125

This was also the church where King Louis 14th married Maria-Therese the daughter of the Spanish king, in 1660. This was to seal a pact between the 2 countries and end years of war, which also meant St Jean de Luz was no longer attacked and pillaged from both sides!!

The town’s last wave of glory was between the World Wars, when it attracted the rich and famous from around the world.  A cubist casino was built and some super grand villas. It is a beautiful town and we really enjoyed walking out onto the cliffs, and then back along the mile long promenade to the port. Ice creams were obligatory!

The old town centre is very pretty, 20150913_172220and the shops reflect it’s continuing status as a chic place to be seen. Paris boutiques and gourmet food shops abound including those selling the renowned Espelette poivrons, often with very impressive displays of them outside!

Espelette poivrons (peppers)
Espelette poivrons (peppers)

We would definitely like to return here. There is an aire but it was crowded and noisy. Another time we would consider Camping Cote de mer in the next bay, but today we drove north another 40kms to Labonne Ocean where there is a large aire. We chose this because it is just a few miles from the Marais d’Orx bird reserve that we want to visit early tomorrow morning.

Despite the shower, I am pleased to say that it is still warm enough for shorts, and today is the  20th day in succession I have worn shorts! I want to live in a warmer climate!!!

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