Saturday, June 08, 2013

Perfect ending to yesterdays long day

Hello from my bed in the Hotel de Paris in St. JEAN-DE-LUZ dans le Pays Basque. This hotel is literally across the street from the train station, a 2 star hotel. I figured I'd need to start downsizing my lifestyle little by little, since I will soon be a pilgrim.

Last night, I was tired after the train travel. I went to Chez Pablo for traditional Basque food. I started with a fish soup. Yummy and filling, but not a good photo. My main course, pictured here is a salted cod fish with potatoes stuffed into sweet red peppers. The sauce maybe tomato and peppers.

Outstanding meal, and a friendly, animated atmosphere is what you'll find here. You can just see Pablo on the right of the photo. He works the rooms, and keeps everyone happy or on the spot for the customers amusement, when the customers aren't amusing themselves.

Two Americans were sitting at the other side of my community table. He walked by and said, "Speak French. Only French spoken here." He was joking, he knew they didn't have any French. At the end of my meal, he walked by, handed me a piece of bread and said it was to mop up the rest of the sauce, and he was serious

He sat Michel, a regular, next to me, and I had at least an hour of French conversation with him. What a marvelous place. Michel had a Basque omelet, squid in it's own ink (so much better than what I had), and a light white wine. He had me try his wine. Very nice, and the squid sauce, yum. My last day here, I am going back for that meal.

Then I went off to the church where Louis XIV had his wedding in 1660. I went for a choir concert. An all male choir, and by far the best concert I've heard so far on this trip. After the male choir was finished out came a Basque or Spanish trio: classical style guitar, piano or accordian, and a woman playing the violin. The guitarist sang, I believe, his own compositions. The audience was mesmerized, and demanded an encore. One of the choir requested a song with "la, la, la's" in it, the audience knew, and our joined voices echoed around in the perfumed air of this historic eglise as we joined in the la, la, la's of each chorus.
I remember feeling myself completely given over to the moment with a huge smile spread across my face.

What good fortune I had to arrive here on this very evening, and to have quickly met so many wonderful people. I strongly feel myself, small as I am, part of the continuous flow of the history of mankind.

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