The first time I came to the Basque Country, it was pretty late during my stay in Spain. I had traveled to Valencia and Andalucía, to Catalonia and even remote Galicia before I ever got the chance to visit the first marvelous Basque city. One of the great things about my job back then was that I didn’t have to be a common tourist. I didn’t have to take pictures, make sure I was in those pictures, take long walks with an itinerary at hand and come back to the hotel, exhausted, but with wonderful memories to tell my friends once I went back to the normal routine of life. Nope, I got to visit each of those parts of Spain with a purpose – a professional purpose.
First I was in Bilbao to cover a huge anniversary exhibition honoring a Romanian sculptor at the Guggenheim’s and I discovered a gorgeously clean town, wishing I could go back and live there when I retired; then I came back at an international congress on political communication and mysteriously enough, an enchanted book called “The Basque History of the World” came my way; I was sent to cover the famous film festival in San Sebastian during some wonderfully sunny fall days; more recently, I think I got to understand what it was all (or almost all) about the Basque gastronomy and especially one part of it where it isn’t just that, the food, because Vitoria-Gasteiz also means jazz, history, monuments, marvels and even inspiration for contemporary fiction.
I thought I knew all about the history, the unique ancient language these people talk, their unknown origins and even the radicalism of some political views. Continue reading